The Whitehall Ledger - Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

By Jack H. Smith
Whitehall Ledger 

Lady Trojans open postseason play Friday


February 13, 2019

Melissa Jenkins

Meagan Johnson had a great week for the Lady Trojans including scoring 16 points against Manhattan Christian.

After one of the most successful regular seasons in school history, the Whitehall High School girls basketball team will now move onto postseason.

The second seeded Lady Trojans (15-3, 7-3 5B District) will open the 5B District Tournament Friday at 4:30 p.m. against the winner of third seeded Big Timber and sixth seeded Jefferson High School. Whitehall split a pair of games against the Lady Herders and swept the Lady Panthers during the regular season. The game will take place at the Belgrade Events Center.

The Lady Trojans wrapped up their regular season Saturday with a 68-55 road victory at Manhattan Christian. Playing for the first time since junior Asha Noyes was lost for the season due to injury, Whitehall came out of the gates strong outscoring Christian 18-8 in the first quarter and took a 41-23 lead into halftime.

It was a balanced scoring attack for Whitehall with three players in double figures. Brynna Wolfe led the team with 17, Meagan Johnson added 16, Maxine Hoagland finished with 11, Jada Clarkson added nine, Kendra Klapan had seven, Macee Patritti and Ashlynn Ellison each had three and Britney Welker finished with two points.

Head Coach Kelly Nieskens said along with their leading scorers the team had a couple girls step up with their scoring recently and that is great because that is what you want come tournament time.

Nieskens added the goal is to get better every game and he likes where his team is at.


While the outcome did not end up in their favor Tuesday night at home against undefeated and top ranked Townsend, the Whitehall battled through adversity to show the heart of a champion and cemented the fact they are one of the best teams in the state.

Playing most of the second half without Noyes and battling foul trouble late in the game, the Lady Trojans fought until the end falling short 59-57 in double overtime to the Lady Bulldogs.

After losing the first matchup of the season 52-34 on the road to Townsend, Whitehall would start strong Tuesday and after going up 4-3 in the first quarter would hold onto the lead until the final minute of regulation when Townsend went in front 49-48. Wolfe would tie the game at 49 on a free throw and Lady Trojans were able to regain possession for a final shot, but a Wolfe three pointer rimmed out and the top two teams in the 5B District would go into overtime.

Whitehall would go up 55-52 late in overtime, but Townsend answered with a three on their final possession. The Lady Trojans once again had a chance to win it at the end of regulation but a Johnson shot fell short and the two teams would battle for another four minutes. With the game tied at 57 in the closing seconds, Lady Bulldog Tavia Rooney hit two free throws to put her team in front 59-57. Whitehall was unable to get off a shot in the final four seconds.

Nieskens said his team was ready from the tip.

"They played hard. I'm proud of them," he said. "We were down two starters and the bench players came in and stepped it up."

Wolfe led the team in scoring with 15 points. In a little over two quarters Noyes was also in double figures with 12. Klapan added 10, and Clarkson, Johnson, and Hoagland each finished with six points. Welker finished with two points for Whitehall.

Nieskens said it was unfortunate for Noyes to miss the game due to injury and his team could not hit free throws to close out a game they led by as many as 11 in the final quarter.

"We will be ready for them next time," he said.


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