By Amber Kuehn via the Helena IR
Carroll College may have missed the men’s Frontier Conference Tournament for the second straight year, but one could argue this season was a success. The Saints showed marked improvement from a year ago, as evidenced by their record alone. Carroll finished with nine wins — seven more than they had last season — and won four league games to climb out of the Frontier basement. They didn’t just move up one spot in the conference standings, but got better in nearly every facet of the game.
The biggest improvement came on defense, where the Saints were awful a year ago. After giving up 78.8 points per game last season, opponents on average scored just 70 ppg on Carroll this season. While that may not seem like a tremendous jump, it catapulted the Saints from the worst scoring defense in the league to the fourth best.
By the Helena IR
Despite strong performances from seniors Chris McGrath and Dennis Mikelonis in their final games as Saints, Carroll couldn’t stop the Blue Hawks behind the 3-point line.
Dickinson State made 14 of 30 treys and held off hot-shooting Carroll, which made 50 percent from the floor and outscored the visitors 46-38 in the second half. The Saints got behind 48-35 in the first half, however, and the deficit was just too much to overcome.
“I think that one’s on me,” first-year coach Carson Cunningham said. “I gotta help the guys manage the emotions of Senior Night and playing back to back better. We didn’t have the same focus the first half as we did in the second.”
By Curt Syness, Helena IR
Spearheaded by the outstanding all-around play of Zach Taylor, the Carroll men bested Great Falls 65-61. Taylor, a 5-11 freshman guard from Duvall, Wash., fired in a team-high 19 points, while sharing the club’s rebound lead (seven) with Dennis Mikelonis, and assists lead (five) with Zayn Kirkendoll.
“Zach really made the difference, he was focused and did so many things out there,” Carroll coach Carson Cunningham said. “But I’m really proud of everybody, because we had a lot of guys doing a lot of neat things for us tonight.”
The win pushes the Saints to 9-18 overall and 4-11 in the conference.
By Amber Kuehn, Helena IR
Very seldom is a student manager remembered with a plaque and a scholarship in his name. But Josh Tracy was more than a manager for the Carroll College men’s basketball team. He was just as much a part of the Saints program as the players and coaches.
“He was like an assistant coach; he took care of a million things,” said Gary Turcott, who was the men’s head coach when Tracy was manager, from 1993-98. “His whole life was Carroll basketball.”
Tragically, Tracy was killed in an automobile accident this past summer in Denver. He was just 38 years old. Carroll will honor his memory Thursday night between the women’s and men’s basketball games, and a reception will also be held in the PE Center conference room at halftime of both contests. In addition, about $13,000 has been raised for a commemorative scholarship to be awarded to future men’s basketball student managers who exemplify the same work ethic and love of the game that Tracy possessed.
By the Independent Record
Carroll men earn road win
Saints forward Dennis Mikelonis scored 22 points to go with 10 rebounds, Chris McGrath led all scorers with 27 points and the Carroll men’s basketball team picked up a road victory Saturday in North Dakota.
The Saints beat Dickinson State 77-68 behind solid performances on offense and defense. Carroll made 52.9 percent of its shots and held DSU’s leading scorer, Tevin Russell, to just 8-for-17 shooting. Russell still finished with 21 points, but first-year Carroll coach Carson Cunningham was proud of his team’s all-around effort.
By Curt Syness, Helena IR
Montana Tech made the short trip from Butte and edged Carroll College twice at the PE Center on Thursday, coming from behind in both the men’s and women’s game to win by a single point. The Oredigger ladies captured the first contest 48-47, after which the Montana Tech men rallied for a 79-78 victory in the nightcap.
After playing the first half even at 18-all, the Carroll women pulled away from the visitors after the intermission. The Saints led by as much eight points, 35-27, midway through the half on a bucket by Jordan Bagley, assisted by Baylee Watson. But then Tech started its comeback, and took the lead at 39-38 on Mandy Machinal’s 3-point bomb.
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