CLASS A NOTEBOOK: Wallette still scoring for Turtle Mountain
As far as personal accolades go, Turtle Mountain senior Whitney Wallette has earned a heap.
The 6-foot-1 post has garnered all-West Region honors, has been one of the league’s most prolific scorers the last three seasons and has been a team captain since she was a sophomore.
But Wallette doesn’t just want individual accomplishments to tell the tale of her decorated prep career.
Turtle Mountain (3-4, 2-4) hasn’t punched its ticket to the state tournament since 1989 and Wallette hopes to get the Bravettes in a position to capture that elusive berth.
“Last year we didn’t even make regionals, so we have to get there first,” Wallette said. “We’ve been pushing ourselves a lot this season, so hopefully we can get there.”
She’s come close to a getting to the Class A tourney, though.
Coming off the bench as a freshman, Wallette and the Bravettes were within a game of state. On a team paced by standouts Sasha Golus, Julia Davis and Jordan Allard, Turtle Mountain fell to Bismarck in a 2010 state-qualifying game.
Now it’s Wallette, who lettered as an eighth-grader, leading Turtle Mountain’s young club – and not just from a statistical standpoint. She’s shouldered the leadership role on a team that features just two seniors and tries to lead by example.
“You just have to keep your composure around the younger girls,” Wallette said. “They watch and feed off of that.”
Wallette averaged 13 points as a sophomore and 15 as junior. She’s currently second in the league in scoring (18.3 ppg) while bringing down 8.9 rebounds a night.
And she isn’t just scoring from the inside.
Wallette has knocked down nine 3-pointers this season and a grip of long jump shots. With fellow senior and 6-footer Shikiya Chase’s presence inside, it’s allowed Wallette to get outside looks.
“Coach (G.T. Monnette) has given me a lot of freedom,” said Wallette, who’s leaning on continuing her career at Lake Region State. “I can shoot from the outside or the inside.”
West Region connection in BSU-Wyoming game
When Boise State knocked off then-undefeated 25th-ranked Wyoming 63-61 in a Mountain West Conference game in Laramie, there was an outside West Region connection.
The Cowboys, 13-0 heading into that Jan. 9 game, were without their second-leading scorer in former Williston State and Bismarck High guard Luke Martinez (14.5 ppg).
Martinez broke a bone in his hand during a late-December bar fight – an incident for which he was arrested on Tuesday after authorities learned he’d kicked an injured man in the head. The injury kept Martinez out of the game.
Boise State was without four players who were suspended for a team violation, allowing former Dickinson High star Joe Hanstad to earn the first start of his career.
Hanstad had five points and three assists for the Broncos (13-2), a team expected to push for an NCAA tournament berth.
Both guards, Martinez and Hanstad likely would have matched up if Martinez wasn’t injured.
Johnson still starting at NDSU
Former Minot High star and 2012 North Dakota Miss Basketball Holly Johnson has been holding on to a starting slot at North Dakota State.
Johnson, a 6-foot-1 wing, has started all but two games for the Bison, who are 6-11 with a 2-3 record in the Summit League.
The true freshman is averaging 4.6 points and 3.1 rebounds per game.
Johnson helped the Majettes place fifth at the 2012 Class A tournament.
Minot to wrestle against cancer
Minot High’s Jan. 25 home meet with Turtle Mountain won’t just be a highly anticipated West Region dual.
The Magicians will also be doing their annual Cancer Awareness Night, selling T-shirts and receiving donations to help fight against the disease.
Minot’s wrestlers will be wearing their pink-ribbon singlets against the Braves, who’ve fared well in a few big meets this season.
“It’s a great event,” Minot coach Nolan Spooner said. “And it will be a good match, too; (Turtle Mountain) has a good team.”