Phillips County News - One Nation, Under God

By Pierre Bibbs
Sports Editor 

All-Conference athletes named

Phillips County teams account for 17 spots


March 14, 2018

Pierre Bibbs

Dodson All-Conference selection Melony Fetter tries to get a shot over fellow All-Conference team select Mickayla Johnson (#14), while being guarded by Kaitlyn McColly, who was also selected to the All-Conference team.

Fourteen Phillips County are Athletes have taken their place on the annual All-Conference list for their efforts in the 2017-18 basketball season.

Malta senior Taylor Matthews of the District 2B and North Country senior Trace Simonson of the 3C District each earned All-State honors.


The Mustangs have landed two seniors on the list, with Matthews receiving All-State and first-team honors and Konner Keuhn receiving second-team honors.

Matthews was the offensive leader for Malta, leading in both rebounds and points this season. Matthews left a lasting mark for the Mustangs, helping lead Malta to a State B Title in 2017, and scoring 35 points in his final game as a Mustang in the Northern B Divisional Tournament.

"Taylor has been a good leader for us the last couple of years on the varsity team," Mustang Head Coach David Costin said. "One thing that everybody says about Taylor, this includes coaches, fans and myself is that he plays bigger than 6'3", which I think is a huge compliment. He has competed against guys much taller than himself."

Listed at 6'3", Matthews' was Malta's primary post player, but with his skills, he could play anywhere on the court and at times could be seen knocking down clutch treys.

"He is just a tremendous athlete that has good technique and a lot of heart," Coach Costin said. "He had many games where he had a double-double for us. Go back to last year's state tournament; that was a pretty impressive effort those three games."

Though the 2017 Champions ended the season with a loss to Glasgow in the elimination round of the tournament, Matthews went down swinging in a double-overtime game where he scored 35 points.

"Our team didn't end it the way we hoped but Taylor did," Coach Costin said. "He had a nice game, that game."

Senior Konner Kuehn earned a spot on the 2B district's second team. Kuehn was also a very important part of Malta's 2017 State B Championship run.

"He had a good and solid two years on the varsity team for us," Coach Costin said. "Last year coming off of the bench, he was one of those guys that could come in and knock down a couple of threes for us."

Kuehn embraced the role as a starting guard for Malta in his senior season.

"This year I thought Konner stepped up and did some leadership things for us," Coach Costin said. "Defensively, we challenged him quite a bit. He stepped up and did some big things for us against some quality players in our schedule."

Coach Costin knew that Kuehn would match up well against some of Malta's toughest defensive assignments this season.

"Defensively we put him on Myrick (Cade Myrick of Glasgow), we put him on White (Aaron White of Shelby) and some good-solid players and he stepped up and did really solid job defending those guys," he said.


Malta sophomore Kelbee Denham was the only M-ette put on the 2B Girls All-Conference team, earning a spot on the second team as a point guard. The first year starter helped lead Malta to the Divisional tournament in Cut Bank.

"Kelbee did a great job this year as a sophomore," M-ettes Head Coach Nate Hammond said. "She was our leading scorer but also carried a lot of the responsibility as a point guard."

Denham displayed effort and confidence on the offensive end of the ball, but she was also praised for her efforts on the other side of the ball.

"She played very well on the defensive end as well," Coach Hammond said. "She's super coachable and a great teammate.  I'm excited to have her and watch her grow the next two years."


The Mavericks landed three athletes on the 3C All-Conference boy's list; Seniors Trace Simonson and Chris DePuydt along with freshman Loden Idler.

Simonson, who played point-forward for the Mavericks in his final season, is no stranger to the All-conference list, having made the list in four of five basketball seasons in his career.

Simonson was also elected to one of three All-State selections this season, giving him his second All-State selection of the school year, having made the list as a Malta Mustangs linebacker last November.

"Trace was a dominant player on the offensive end," Coach Malone said. "He also averaged a double-double throughout the year."

DePuydt was elected on the All-Conference team, but also made the All-Defensive team. He was the only Boy's Maverick to make both lists.

"Chris came on as a strong defender for throughout the season," Coach Malone said. "He stepped it up on the offensive end when our other scorers got in foul trouble."

Idler made his debut on the All-Conference list after a season where he displayed the ability to score on all three levels of offense.

"Loden was an asset off the bench for us for the first half of the season, and earned a starting spot for the second half with his ability to score and defend the quicker guards," Coach Malone said.


The Lady Mavericks had the most All-Conference nods in the county, with four athletes earning spots on the 3C All-Conference Girls' list. Those athletes include Seniors Jada Sudbrack and Mickayla Johnson and freshman Kaitlyn McColly who received first team honors, as well as senior Bailey Funk, who made the All-Defensive team. McColly also made the All-Defensive team.

Sudbrack, a fifth-year player, has made the All-Conference team for the third year in a row.

"Jada had a really nice five-year career for us," Lady Mavericks Head Coach Amber Erickson said.

Sudbrack had a team-leading 13 points a game, leading her team to second place in the 2018 District 3C Tournament.

"This senior group has helped bring home hardware every season," Coach Erickson said.

Johnson has also made the All-conference list for the third season in a row.

"Mickayla finished her senior season averaging 12 points and eight rebounds," Coach Erickson said. "I feel like Mickayla became much better at finishing on the inside; playing with her back to the basket. This year, she had a great year of being able to be a go-to player on the inside and finishing."

Throughout their high school careers, Johnson and Sudbrack has developed a chemistry, being named "twin towers" since their freshman season of volleyball both standing at about 6'0."

"I felt that through playing together for several years, that Jada and Mickayla were able to run a lot of high-low effectively together," Coach Erickson said. "We will really miss their height both offensively and defensively. We are going to be a different style team next year without that size."

McColly has shined on the court as a combo guard in both years with the Lady Mavericks, but this season she earned All-Conference honors for the first time, as well as All-Defensive Team Honors.

"Kaitlyn is naturally very gifted athletically but she is also one of the hardest workers on our team, so that gives us a lot to look forward to in her future as she continues to improve herself skills and grow mentally as a player," Coach Erickson said.

Funk has made the all-defensive team for three seasons in a row, filling big shoes left behind at the point guard position.

"Bailey was also one of those players who is super quick and able to rebound and defend really well throughout her career on this team," Coach Erickson said. "She was our primary ball handler ever since Tatum (Moore) left these last few years and that doesn't always get a lot of recognition but that was a key to us being able to get things set up and a key to our success as a team."


The Coyotes had a pair of sophomores named to the 3C All-Conference Boys' list; Shaun Ball, who received All-Conference honors and Corbin LoneBear was named to the Honorable Mention list.

Ball's skill as a scorer provided Dodson with a threat on all three offensive levels

"At times in the game when he doesn't force it he is unguardable," Coach Benson said. "When you put a post on him he will hit the three or drive right by them, if you put a guard on him he will post them up and has great post moves. He had a couple 30 point games. The Nashua game was his highest point total of 34 points."

LoneBear utilized his height this season in the post and mid-range this season, displaying the ability to get points in bunches.

"He has great length, A 6'4 kid who has great handles, who could be a great guard just as well as post up kids," Coach Benson said. "He had a couple of 30 point game this season.  Corbin had 30 points against Turner in a 57-53 win." 


Lady Coyotes freshman Melony Fetter, a point guard was elected to the 3C All-Conference Girls' list. Sophomore Christina Jaynes received honorable mention.

"Melony averaged 14.4 points per game this season and has become a facilitator on the floor offensively," Lady Coyotes Head Coach Deserae Kill Eagle said. "She is beginning to understand how much control her role as a point guard has on the rest of our offense and t has been enjoyable to watch her figure that role out as the season progressed."

Coach Kill Eagle also praised Fetter's ability to use her length to her advantage on both sides of the ball.

"Defensively, she has such a long arm span that she is able to get up and block shots which is always fun to watch," Coach Kill Eagle said. "She has amazing ball handling skills and really understands what defense is trying to make her do and just does a wonderful job of getting the ball up the floor even when she has two to three defenders trying to stop her."

Fetter also made the list for her efforts in her first season, as an eighth grader in 2017. Coach Kill Eagle believes that her efforts in the off-season have helped with her confidence.

"She works hard during and outside of ball season so it's nice to see her work paying off," Coach Kill Eagle said. "She loves the game and It's exciting to remember that she's only a freshman because confidence is one thing we continue to work on with her and as she grows and matures as an athlete it's going to be exciting to see exactly what she is capable of."

Jaynes has made the honorable mention this season and last season during her freshman year.

This girl gets work done," exclaimed Coach Kill Eagle. "Christina has stepped up so much for us this year and just continues to work her tail off no matter the situation of the evening."

Though Jaynes did not receive first-team honors, Coach Kill Eagle knows that her third year forward deserves a spot.

"Honorable mention to the all-conference team is still an honor but she definitely deserves to be one of the all-conference picks," Coach Kill Eagle said. "One thing I do know, though, is that she will only be more determined to prove what she can do on the floor. She sets goals for herself and she will reach them."

Jaynes averaged 10 rebounds per game.

"That's not bad for a 5'6" player," Coach Kill Eagle said. "She once reached her goal of 15 rebounds by getting 17! She also worked hard to improve her shooting this year and ended the season with a 23 point game with 3 three-pointers. We were beyond excited for her end of the season performances because they proved the work and determination she maintains all season."

Like Fetter, Jaynes was praised for her efforts in the off-season.

"She continues to work athletically outside of basketball season as well which is so important," Coach Kill Eagle said. "Knowing we have two more years with this young lady is very exciting because she will continue to work and grow as an athlete and natural leader on the court."


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