Anaconda’s Hill, Mikalatos earn All-State recognition

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Trent Mikalatos

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Braxton Hill

Anaconda’s junior tandem of Braxton Hill and Trent Mikalatos led the contingent of All State award winners following the 2016-17 basketball seasons announced Friday, March 17.

All told, three Copperhead boys and two girls were recognized with post season awards in the 6B district.

Hill averaged 22.7 points/game to lead the team along with Mikalatos’ 13 ppg, guiding Anaconda High to a 17-10 overall record and ultimately a second place finish at the Class B state tournament.

Senior guard Kadin Stetzner earned honorable mention status with his 8.3 ppg.

Hill and Mikalatos were joined by Loyola’s Parker Davis, and Deer Lodge forward Brandon Porter on the All State team from the 6B.

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Lil’ Copperheads win Smelter City Smackdown

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Nathan Blodnick pins his opponent to secure first place in his weight group during last weekend’s Smelter City Smackdown held at Memorial Gymnasium.

Anaconda’s Lil’ Copperheads wrestling team crowned six individual champions and also took home the large team tournament championship during Saturday’s Smelter City Smackdown held at Memorial Gymnasium.

Overall, 239 wrestlers competed in the tournament.

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Southwest Montana All Star Basketball Classic features five AHS standouts

The 2017 Southwest Montana All-Star Classic will tip off at the Montana Tech HPER Complex Tuesday with a girls game at 6 p.m., followed by a boys game at 7:30 p.m.  The event, which is sponsored by the Butte Chamber of Commerce Hospitality Committee, will feature the top girls and boys high school players in Southwest Montana.

The games will also feature the bands and cheerleading squads from Butte High and Butte Central and performances by the Dynamic Dance and Tumbling Company.  Three-point contests featuring the top shooters will be held at halftime of both games.

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Numbers from weekend broadcast are in, and they’re remarkable

By BLAKE HEMPSTEAD

This past weekend, our Anaconda Copperheads made a nearly historic run through the Class B state tournament ending in a heartbreaking 54-51 loss to Malta in the championship game Saturday night at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark in Billings.

The numbers are in and they are remarkable.

Overall, the traffic on the kana580.com Web site recorded 2,182 sessions including 1,524 unique users logging in from individual IP addresses associated with their device – mobile, tablet or desktop.

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Anaconda nips Shelby in OT, to play for first state title since 1989

By BLAKE HEMPSTEAD

In what could only be described as a battle of attrition, the Copperheads would not be denied.

Anaconda was too much from the free throw line down the stretch, holding off Shelby 68-64 in overtime. The win assured Anaconda of their first state championship appearance since 1989 — and with one more magical win their first state championship since 1948.

A pro-Copperhead crowd watched an aerial barrage of 3s by Shelby continue to hit the mark — nine to be exact — but when it came down to crunch time Anaconda was the team making the most of their opportunities.

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Copperheads ride solid first half to dump Whitehall in Class B first round

BILLINGS — Anaconda’s first state tournament in over 10 years couldn’t have tasted any sweeter.

Riding a solid first half both offensively and defensively, the Copperheads avenged an 18-point loss to Whitehall earlier this year to roll into the semifinals with a 68-55 first round win.

Anaconda’s half court sets set the tone and the defense did the rest as they bolted out to a 29-15 lead at the half. With 2:14 left in the second quarter, Anaconda led by 17 and looked to be having no problems against the Trojans.

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Copperheads with a chance to rewrite history; start Class B state tournament Thursday

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Anaconda’s Trent Mikalatos, left, Bobby Swainston, Kadin Stetzner, Devon Kopp, Kayne Cobban and Braxton Hill lead the Copperheads into Thursday’s State B tournament at the MetraPark in Billings.

By BLAKE HEMPSTEAD

On Thursday, Anaconda will embark on a journey that doesn’t happen in the Smelter City every year. Following their first divisional championship since 2005 last week at the Western B played in Ronan, whispers have begun to gain steam and grow to a dull roar. When is the last time we went to a state tournament? When was the last time we won a state championship or even played in a trophy game in the final tournament of the year?

Well thanks to the fantastic statistical data collected and archived by the late Tom White along with the information I’ve added, I have that information for you.

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Copperheads set for rematch against Libby in Western B First Round

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Anaconda’s Trent Mikalatos, left, Bobby Swainston, Kadin Stetzner, Devon Kopp, Kayne Cobban and Braxton Hill lead the Copperheads into Thursday’s Western B Divisional first round in Ronan. PHOTO BY CS PHOTO/Blake Hempstead

Tomorrow at 9 p.m., it will almost be a year to the day when Anaconda lost their first round game at the Western B Divisional – a 69-64 upset in a game many Anaconda should have breezed through. When they take the court this time around, they will be staring at the same jersey wanting to prove the first time wasn’t a fluke.

It’s eerily the same situation as well, pitting the 6B No. 2-seed Copperheads (12-9, 6-4) against the 7B No. 3-seed Loggers (no official record reported) with a chance to take on the winner of Bigfork/Florence in the semifinals.

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Hill (32), Swainston, back left, and Kayne Cobban all get a piece of the shot against Frenchtown in a 57-52 road loss earlier this year. PHOTO COPYRIGHT CS PHOTO/Blake Hempstead

According to Slim Kimmel of MTN and montanasports.com, he’s predicting a possible run for Anaconda as the darkhorse in the tournament. But Anaconda isn’t taking anything for granted this time around.

It’s been a tale of two seasons for Anaconda this season. A solid showing at the Tip Off Tournament with a 10-point win over Big Timber and three-point loss to 1B Fairfield including their first win over Class A Butte Central in 10 years had the team feeling on top of the world.

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Kayne Cobban

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Kadin Stetzner

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Gabe Byrne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But, a season-ending broken arm to 6-5 sophomore reserve Zeke Buck and other depth issues were a big cause of concern in the middle of the campaign. Fast forward to the final week of the season: Anaconda was a full strength and showed the type of team they could be.

Anaconda finished the season on a four-game winning streak with wins over St. Ignatius, Ronan, then No. 1-ranked Missoula Loyola and Florence – the last two wins rebounding from earlier losses to the Rams and Falcons.

The Copperheads also survived a first-round district scare against St. Ignatius followed by ending a three-game losing streak against Deer Lodge in the semifinals before falling 53-50 to Loyola in the 6B title game.

No matter the detours, Anaconda has a clear path to their first state tournament trip since 2004-05. With a win over Libby, Anaconda will have a matchup in the Friday nightcap at Ronan Events Center with Florence – a team they split the season series with – and Bigfork – a 16-4 squad with losses to Florence and Loyola on the season.

First thing is first, take care of Libby.

“We know that we can’t overlook anyone around tournament time,” said 6-foot-6 junior forward Trent Mikalatos Wednesday. “We are motivated to go and play them, we are hungry and want to get them back for last year.”

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Trent Mikalatos

Mikalatos, averaging 13.2 points/game, had nine last year against Libby and classmate Braxton Hill, averaging a team-high 22.2 ppg this season, led the team with 18. Libby drained 10 treys last year – seven of which came from graduating seniors Anthony Johnson (16 points) and Johnny Cielak (26 points). Team-leading sophomore Ryggs Johnson, playing basketball to pass the time as he chases an eventual PGA Tour card, was held to 12 points but did manage to make the final three, 3-point shots for the Loggers.

Hill is the catalyst for the Copperheads, who come in averaging 59.4/game. He has been bolting up the Anaconda All-Time scoring list this year, most recently passing Zach Parks (1,098) and Tyler Hurley (1,109) last week in the 6B tournament. Now with 1,156 career points, Hill is two points away from John Cheek Jr. (1,158) and 13 from Cory Huot (1,169) in seventh- and sixth-place, respectively. Jim Cordial is No. 5 with 1,240 before there’s a 200-point jump to Wayne Estes at No. 4 with 1,440.

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Braxton Hill

Next to Mikalatos and Hill, 6-3 senior 2-guard Kadin Stetzner has been finding his stroke of late, picking his average up to 8.1 ppg along with 6-2 junior wing Bobby Swainston’s versatile 10.1 ppg. Six-foot-four senior post Kayne Cobban has reveled in his role of being the garbage man down low. More of a threat defensively and on the boards, Cobban contributes 5.5 ppg. From the bench, senior guard Devon Kopp, junior guard Gabe Byrne and sophomore forward Riley Cobban should see plenty of time this weekend.

Live coverage of the game can be heard locally on KANA 580 AM and streamed live at kana580.com or by downloading the live streaming app on Apple and Google Play stores by using keyword KANA 580. Legendary broadcaster Mick Holien, who enjoyed a 31-year career as Voice of the Griz for University of Montana football and men’s basketball games, will join the broadcast as a guest color commentator.

 

Hill becomes 13th AHS male to eclipse 1,000 points

IMG_3861With 2:37 left in the third quarter of Saturday’s 50-43 overtime loss at Deer Lodge, Braxton Hill accomplished what only 15 others have done at Anaconda High School. Hill stepped to the free throw line following a technical foul by Warden’s guard Brock Doiron and scored his 1,000th career point by knocking down both free throw attempts.

Hill scored a game-high 23 in the loss, bringing his current total to 1,006.

-List compiled by Tom White and Blake Hempstead

-List compiled by Tom White and Blake Hempstead

Still just a junior, Hill became the 13th male to score 1,000 points, now trailing current Copperhead assistant coach Rochi Estes by 12 as he begins his climb up the list.

Three Copperhead girls’ basketball players have also eclipsed 1,000 career points including Ali Hurley, Torry Hill, Braxton’s sister, and Courtney Moodry.

Hill currently is averaging 22.6 points/game for the Copperheads sitting in the middle of the pack in a talented 6B District. Anaconda will be back on the floor Tuesday at Memorial Gymnasium to host district rival Florence. Live radio coverage will be available on the Mighty 580 KANA or kana580.com.