Glacier replaces seniors with big front line

Daily Inter Lake | December 8, 2021 10:11 PM

It was a cache of seniors that graduated off last year’s Glacier boys basketball team, which upset Missoula Hellgate on the way to the State AA tournament.

But what remains can darken a doorway.

Starting with 6-foot-7 junior Noah Dowler, the Wolfpack has size to hang onto the upper division in the Western AA. John Pyron, 6-5 and an All-State keeper in soccer, lends help as does 6-5 senior Nolan Hyde.

“We have some more length than just Noah, for sure,” said Glacier coach Mark Harkins.

But Dowler, who averaged 3.7 points and 4.5 rebounds as a sophomore, could be the key.

“It’s nice to have Noah – he’s a nice anchor for us in the post,” Harkins said. “He worked really hard in the offseason, both in the weight room and on the court. I’m excited to get him out there and get him rolling.”

Glacier also returns some solid guards in Connor Sullivan (5.8 ppg), sniper Will Salonen (3.5 ppg) and Ty Olsen, who worked his way into the starting lineup late last season.

“Our philosophy is the same: We want to attack from the inside-out,” Harkins said. “We might change our alignments a little bit, but the philosophy is the same.”

A lot of the Western AA lost a ton of talent, though Helena Capital has a pair of excellent returnees in high-scoring Brayden Koch and post Hayden Opitz.

“I think it’s going to be really,k really competitive,” Harkins said. “There’s nobody that’s a gimme, by any means.”

The season begins with a road trip to Great Falls: The Pack plays C.M. Russell Friday night and Great Falls High Saturday afternoon. The home opener is Dec. 17 against Bozeman.

“I’m just excited,” Harkins said. “We’ve got a pretty good squad, and some pretty good depth. They compete hard in practice, and I’m just excited to play this weekend.”

Glacier’s trip to state in March was its sixth in the last 10 seasons, including its 2016-17 State AA title season.

Western AA Boys

2020-21 Standings

Conf Overall

Sentinel* 13-1 17-2

Hellgate 10-4 10-5

Capital* 8-6 11-8

Butte* 7-7 9-9

Glacier* 6-8 7-10

Flathead 6-8 6-9

Big Sky 6-8 6-9

Helena 0-14 0-15

*-Made 2021 State AA tournament.






Big Sky




Players to watch

Caden Bateman, Big Sky; Brogan Callaghan, Hellgate; Gavin Chouinard, Flathead; Joston Cripe, Flathead; Noah Dowler, Glacier; Joe Hansen, Flathead; Kaden Huot, Helena; Griffin Kinch, Hellgate; Brayden Koch, Capital; Cayvey LaRance, Hellgate; Kenley Leary, Butte; Eric Loos, Butte; Mikey O’Dell, Butte; Ty Olson, Glacier; Hayden Opitz, Capital; Trevyn Reed, Big Sky; Will Salonen, Glacier; Louis Sanders, Big Sky; Kade Schlepp, Helena; Kaden Sheridan, Sentinel; Connor Sullivan, Glacier; Joe Weida, Sentinel.