Diggers, Dawgs ready to clash for third time

Diggers, Dawgs ready to clash for third time
Montana Tech's Trent Molesworth defends as Montana Western's Troy Scott drives Feb. 1 at the Montana Tech HPER Complex. (Bill Foley photo)

Another Wednesday, another huge rivalry game for the Montana Tech basketball teams.

The Orediggers, who played at Carroll College last Wednesday, will be at the Straugh Gymnasium in Dillon for a men’s-women’s Frontier Conference doubleheader. The women open play at 5:30 p.m., and the men follow at 7:30.

Both games will be carried live on KBOW (550 AM, 101.5 FM and online).

Proceeds from admission, concessions and the 50/50 drawing will go toward former Western coach and athletic director Mark Durham and his fight against cancer.

The Oredigger men and women will both be trying to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Bulldogs. Both Western teams enter the twin bill red hot.

Western’s men, who fell two spots to No. 10 in Tuesday’s latest NAIA Top 25 Coaches Poll, have won nine of their last 11 games.

The Bulldog women, who jumped up nine spots to No. 15, have won nine straight.

At 10-4 in the Frontier and 20-6 overall, the Bulldog women are tied with Rocky Mountain College for second place. They are one game behind Carroll College.

The Orediggers (3-11, 10-16) are trying to stop a losing streak that reached six Saturday when Tech dropped an overtime heartbreaker at Rocky.

For Tech to win, they will have to stop — or at least contain — junior guard Brianna King. The Spokane, Washington, product scored a total of 52 points in the two previous games against the Orediggers.

That includes the Feb. 1 performance in which King scored 28 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out four assists in a 67-56 victory at the Montana Tech HPER Complex.

She scored 24 points when Western knocked off Tech 64-56 No. 28 in Dillon.

King leads the Frontier in scoring with 18.4 points per game. Wise River’s Cierra Lamey, the reigning Frontier Conference Player of the Week, averages 10.3 points per game.

Sophomore post player Shay Potter scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds when these teams met the last time. Potter is averaging 11.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.

Junior guard Kourtney Coverdell adds 9.3 points per game to the Oredigger lineup. She scored 21 points to lead Tech in the loss to Rocky.

Sophomore post Kaylee Zard is coming off a 10-point, 18-reound game.

Montana Tech’s men (3-11, 14-14) have been a real headache for the Frontier Conference opposition, even if the wins haven’t been piling up.

The Bulldogs (10-4, 20-5), who are tied with Carroll College for first place in the Frontier, know that firsthand. Western escaped the HPER with a 75-71 victory Feb. 1.

Western needed what was probably 6-foot-5 junior forward Brandon Jones’ best game of the season to pull out the win. The Houston native poured in 23 points and grabbed 16 rebounds that night.

Dom Robinson, who recently joined the 1,000-point club at Western, scored 16, while junior Kooper Kidgell tossed in 10.

Senior post Marcus Payne, who started his career at Montana Tech, had his best game when the teams met Nov. 28 at the Straugh Gym. He scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Bulldogs to an 84-66 victory.

Senior guard Chris O’Neill scored 16 points to lead the Orediggers the last time against Western.

Freshmen Nick Fitts and Derrius Collins each scored 17 points in the first meeting.

The twin bill marks the last home regular-season games for the Bulldogs. Western travels to Lewiston, Idaho, to take on Lewis-Clark State on Friday.

Next week, the Bulldogs close the regular season with games at Rocky and Carroll.

Tech plays at Lewis-Clark State on Saturday. Next week, the Orediggers close the regular season with home gains against MSU-Northern and the University of Providence.

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