Frontier Conference Basketball: Top Performers, Storylines To Follow, Player Of The Week | SWX now

HELENA – Just three full weeks left in the Frontier Conference regular season schedule.

It’s been a big week for the Frontier as the roster of games produced a triple overtime result (MSU-Northern and Rocky Men), fans were treated to some big rivalry games and a Carroll athlete was named the NAIA National Player of the week.

This weekend will go a long way towards shaping the league standings as the top teams (men and women) compete against each other.

Seven regular season games remain for each team.

Andrew Koch

For the first time since February 27, 2018, a Carroll basketball player has been recognized as NAIA National Player of the Week. Cook joins former Carroll All-American and NAIA Player of the Year Ryan Imhoff as national honorees for the past five years.

Cook is also the third Frontier Conference men’s basketball to achieve national recognition in the past four seasons, joining Providence’s Zaccheus Darko-Kelly (February 9, 2021; February 11, 2020; February 18, 2020; February 26, 2020 ). and Taylor England of Montana Tech (January 7, 2020).

Andrew Cook vs. Montana Tech

Carroll sophomore Andrew Cook scored a team-high 24 points in the Saints’ 84-77 win over 12th-ranked Montana Tech on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023. Cook scored 16 points in the second half.

Cook notched a career-high 31 points and added five assists and four rebounds in Carroll’s away win against Montana Western on Thursday. The sophomore added 24 points, including 16 in the second half of the Saints’ win over 12th-ranked Tech on Saturday.

In his last six games, Cook averaged 20.2 points, four rebounds and 2.7 assists per game.

Cook is currently second in the league (18.2 PPG). He shoots 54.1 percent (131 to 242) from the field for the season while averaging 4.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.

Cook has shot at least 50 percent from the field in each of his last three games, totaling 28 field goals in 47 attempts (59.6 percent).

Fight for sole ownership

By Thursday evening, two teams (a men’s team, a women’s team) will hold the sole first place in the conference standings with six games to go.

Carroll and Rocky on the women’s side meet in Helena in a likely top 25 match, while Tech and Providence on the men’s side meet in Butte.

The Battlin’ Bears women are 1-0 with Carroll this season and beat the Saints 58-51 on Jan. 7 in Billings.

Rocky Mountain College vs. Carroll College

Rocky’s Dominique Stephens takes on Carroll’s Genesis Wilkinson during the 2021-22 Frontier Conference Tournament Championship game at the Fortin Center.

A win Thursday would not only knock Carroll out of first place, it would also give the Battlin’ Bears a direct tiebreak against the Saints should the two teams tie after 15 games overall.

The same goes for Tech on the men’s side. The Orediggers defeated Providence 95-82 on Jan. 7 in Butte and a win would essentially open up a two-game advantage over the Argos (Tech’s current closest competitor).

Tiebreakers are only used for tournament seeding.

rock women

The Battlin’ Bears tied with Carroll for a 13-3 best conference record in the Frontier in the last calendar year (as of January 22, 2022).

There wasn’t much demolition from Rocky’s program-record 2021-22 season.

All-American N’Dea Flye is gone, but Kloie Thatcher remains the heart and soul of the Battlin’ Bears, averaging 11.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3 assists and 1.8 steals per game.

A mix of transfers (Morgan Baird – 11.8 PPG, Ky Buell – 7 PPG, Tynesha Parnell – 6.5 PPG), returnees (Mackenzie Dethman – 7.5 PPG, 6 RPG) and young players in bigger roles (Dominique Stephens – 9.6 PPG, 5.9 RPG , Gracee Lekvold – 5.7 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 2.1 APG) has made Rocky competitive in the Frontier and once again earned a national rank.

Rocky Mountain College vs. MSU Northern

Rocky Mountain College’s Gracee Lekvold (#14) dribbles during the Rocky Mountain College Battlin’ Bears game against the MSU Northern Skylights at Rocky Mountain College in Billings on Saturday, January 21, 2023.

Defense was a big part of Rocky’s success last season, as the Battlin’ Bears finished in the top 15 in goal defense in the NAIA (55.6 PPG). That number has improved in the first 20 games of this season as Rocky will come out on Thursday at just 53.6 points per game, a top-10 mark nationally.

Only five times this season has Rocky conceded an opponent 65 or more points.

According to conference records, Rocky has never won back-to-back conference championships (regular season or tournament), but a win Thursday at Helena would put the Battlin’ Bears in the best position to achieve just that.

game results

Thursday (men)

#12 Montana Tech 78, Rocky Mountain College 55

Providence 77, MSU-Northern 71

Carroll 85, Montana Western 81

Saturday (men)

Carroll 84, #12 Montana Tech 77

Providence 95, Montana Western 89

MSU-Northern 86, Rocky Mountain College 84

Rocky Mountain College vs. MSU Northern

MSU Northern’s Zackry Martinez (#4) shoots during the Rocky Mountain College Battlin’ Bears game against the MSU Northern Lights at Rocky Mountain College in Billings on Saturday, January 21, 2023.

Thursday (women)

#18 Carroll 72, #12 Montana Western 60

#20 Rocky Mountain College 60, Montana Tech 48

Providence 68, MSU-Northern 40

Saturday (women)

#12 Montana Western 84, Providence 74

No. 18 Carroll 72, Montana Tech 46

No. 20 Rocky Mountain College 76, MSU-Northern 41

Frontier Conference Rankings

Men –

Montana Tech – 6-2

Providence – 6-2

Caroll – 4-4

MSU North – 3-5

Montana Westerns—3-5

Rocky Mountain College—2-6

Women –

Carroll – 7-1

Rocky Mountain College – 7-1

Montana Westerns—6-2

Providence – 2-6

Montana Tech – 2-6

MSU North – 0-8

Frontier Conference Player of the Week

Men: Guard Andrew Cook, Carroll*

Women: Forward Maddie Geritz, Carroll

* – Also named NAIA International of the Week

Maddie Geritz vs. Montana Tech

Carroll senior Maddie Geritz scored 14 points and grabbed five rebounds in the Saints’ 72-46 win over Montana Tech on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023.

Frontier Conference Teams in the NAIA Coaches’ Poll (published Wednesday, January 11)**

Men –

Montana Tech – #12

Women –

Montana Western—#12

Caroll – No. 18

Rocky Mountain College – #20

** – New poll to be released on Wednesday

Last week’s top performers

Men –

Carroll Guard Andrew Koch: 31 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal (Thursday vs. Montana Western) – 24 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block (Saturday vs. Montana Tech)

Rocky Mountain College forward Maxim Stephens: 24 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks (Thursday vs. Tech) – 23 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists (Saturday vs. MSU-Northern)

Carroll College vs. Rocky Mountain College

Rocky Mountain College’s Maxim Stephens (#11) goes up to take a shot during the Rocky Mountain College Battlin’ Bears vs. Carroll College Saints game at Rocky Mountain College in Billings on Thursday, January 27, 2022.

Montana Tech forward Kaleb Bellach: 26 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal (Thursday vs. Rocky) – 27 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals (Saturday vs. Carroll)

providential guard Marcus Stephens: 30 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals (Saturday vs. Western)

Montana West Guard Jamal Stephenson: 26 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block (Thursday vs. Carroll)

Women –

Karroll forward Maddie Geritz: 14 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block (Thursday vs. Western) – 14 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist (Saturday vs. Tech)

providential guard danger of reeds: 26 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals (Saturday vs. Western)

Rocky Mountain College vs University of Providence

University of Providence’s Reed Hazard (#22) takes on Rocky Mountain College’s Dominique Stephens (#32) for a shot during the Rocky Mountain College Battlin’ Bears vs. University of Providence Argos game at Rocky Mountain College in Billings on Saturday , 1st 15th, 2022.

providence ahead Maddy Dixon: 22 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks (Thursday vs. MSU-Northern)

Montana western forward Brynley Fitzgerald: 20 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal (Saturday vs. Providence)

Rocky Mountain College guard Kloie Thatcher: 18 points, 4 rebounds, 4 steals, 1 block (Saturday vs. MSU-Northern)

Upcoming conference schedule

Men and women –

Thursday, January 26 –

Carroll vs. Rocky Mountain College

Montana Tech vs. Providence

MSU Northern vs. Montana Western

Saturday 28 January –

MSU-Northern vs. Montana Tech

Providence vs. Carroll

Rocky Mountain College vs. Montana Western