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Laurel girls coach gets 1st chance against former school
West's Cassie Langstraat and Senior's Sarah Mutch go for a loose ball during Tuesday game at West High.

Amber Griffith played three seasons for the Miles City Cowgirls and helped the team win the State A championship in 1998.

But that was then. Now the first-year coach at Laurel, Griffith will be going against her former school - and her former coach, Cary Veis - when the Lady Locomotives play host to Miles City on Friday night.

"I think it's really exciting," Griffith said. "I think he's a great coach and obviously I enjoyed playing for him. It'll be fun to go against him."

Following her high school days, Griffith played at Rocky Mountain College and then went on to coach three seasons of girls basketball at Stanfield, Ore., a school equal in size to Class B schools in Montana.

Griffith was then hired to take over the Lady Locomotives this season.

"When I got hired here, I remember calling (Veis) and teasing him that the Eastern A just got a little tougher," Griffith said with a laugh.

Of course, the teasing goes both ways, especially concerning Griffith and her upcoming return to the Miles City gym for a Feb. 7 game against the Cowgirls.

"I've gotten quite a lot of jokes coming my way from Miles City that I better not show up wearing purple (Laurel's primary color)," Griffith said. "So it makes it kind of fun."

2 close, too close

The Glendive Lady Red Devils had a weekend that keeps a coach sitting on edge.

Glendive snuck by Dickinson, N.D., 30-29 in a home win on Friday night, then followed that up with a 41-39 road victory over Eastern A rival Miles City on Saturday.

In both games, Glendive's opponent had the last possession to either win or tie the game. Dickinson got the ball with nearly 11 seconds left in its game with Glendive, while Miles City regained possession after a missed Glendive free throw with 4.8 seconds left. Neither Dickinson nor Miles City was able to get off a final shot.

"We're not playing very well offensively," Glendive coach Richy Powell said. "But it's nice when you can still pull out the victory."

Powell said that neither his team nor Miles City, two of the top Class A programs in recent years, played up to their offensive abilities on Saturday night - both teams, in uncharacteristic fashion, shot poorly from the free throw line down the stretch. But he also credited each team's defense for some of the low offensive output.

He also said that Saturday's win was just his third in Miles City during his 17 seasons coaching Glendive.

Seems hard to believe, but not for Powell.

"I believe it," he joked. "I've lived through it."


It's an intriguing weekend ahead for the 3C, where the top three teams - at least the top three teams based on the preseason coaches poll - play a bit of round-robin against one another.

Actually, it all got started last weekend, when Hinsdale edged Scobey 32-26 on Saturday.

But it continues this weekend when Scobey (5-2) travels to Saco (5-0) on Friday and Hinsdale (6-2) follows suit on Saturday. The coaches poll had Saco and Hinsdale tied for first, while Scobey was ranked third.

For Saco coach Amber Erickson, regular-season weekends don't come much bigger than hosting league powers on back-to-back nights.

"The neat thing about my team is they play with a lot of heart and intensity and they're ready to play all the time," Erickson said. "They really feel they can beat both these teams and if we swept them that would just help us to continue to get more confident."

Scobey has been playing without senior all-state post Rachel Gunderson, who is recovering from a chipped heel. Gunderson discovered the injury the day before the season started and just got out of a cast. Coach Dionne Nieskens is hoping to have Gunderson back on the court in game action sometime in the next two to three weeks.

"We started out slow, but they've been playing together well right now," Nieskens said of her team. "Defensively, we've picked it up quite a bit."

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