Seventeen years ago former Missoula Sentinel girls’ basketball coach Pete Hasquet passed the program to coach Karen Deden, who still carries the baton for the Spartans.
On Friday, Deden watched Pete’s son -- and Deden’s nephew -- Jordan Hasquet, coach his first game as Class A Stevensville’s new head girls’ coach against the reigning Class AA third-place Spartans.
Never mind the family niceties -- Sentinel won big on its home court, 69-22.
“Jordan’s going to do good, he wants to do good, he’s calling the right stuff and that program is going to grow every year,” coach Deden said of her nephew. “…They did some things trying to adjust and work against what we’re doing and that’s the way you gotta coach.”
The family affair didn’t stop there, as Sentinel freshman Lexi Deden in her first varsity game scored 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting and a 3-for-4 effort at the free-throw line.
Midway through the third quarter with the Spartans already up big, 54-18, Lexi had her hand in three scores on three straight possessions.
First, the 6-foot-1 and fleet-footed freshman drew a foul and knocked down one of her two free throws. After a Stevensville turnover and a missed Sentinel shot, Lexi grabbed the offensive rebound and found Bronwyn McCormick for an easy layup to make it 57-18.
“Lexi is strong, and I think obviously it helps because we have Kylie and Bronwyn out there at the same time,” coach Deden said of her niece. “…(She) did a great job tonight making some of her own shots as far as getting boards and getting a steal and turning it right back.
“I was really proud of her effort and her staying calm.”
On the final play of the sequence, Deden forced a steal -- her third of the game -- and after one dribble, she passed up court to Grace Stayner for another easy bucket. Sentinel led 59-18, setting off the running clock.
“We told the girls right away, ‘this is going to be the best team you play all year.’ It’s good to get it out of the way,” said coach Hasquet, a former Spartan himself and ninth on the University of Montana basketball team’s all-time scoring list.
“They can kind of see where that ceiling is as far as girls’ basketball in Montana.”
Sentinel ran out to a 19-4 first-quarter lead, and extended the margin to 42-14 by the half. Sophomore Shelby Schweyen bolstered the first-half production with nine of her 11 points coming in the opening quarter. She canned a wide-open 3-pointer thanks to an extra Sentinel pass.
“(Shelby and I) have been friends forever,” Lexi said. “We played summer ball together, we pass the ball to each other, and it’s great. It was really fun.”
Kylie Frohlich had some sweet passes of her own, including a crisp toss to Lexi on a high-low find for the game’s first points. Frohlich finished with three assists and nine points.
“You can see some spectacular things (tonight) like Kylie’s touch pass out to the corner. She had a few of those,” Deden said.
There were some bright spots for the eight-player Stevensville squad. Sophomore Angel Richards finished with a team-high eight points on 2 of 4 shooting. She was 4 for 6 from the free-throw line, fighting to get to the line.
Makayla Davids drained a 3-pointer for the Yellowjackets before the first half closed out, making it 42-14. Point guard Megan Pendergast added five points while fighting off a swarming Sentinel defense that forced 25 turnovers.
“I tried to give them some looks (in practice) to show them what they’d be passing over,” coach Hasquet said. “But I think my cousin Lexi probably has longer arms than I do."
Before the game, coach Deden and coach Hasquet talked at center court. After the match the two joined back up, this time with the rest of the family. There didn’t seem to be any hard feelings.
“We just talked basketball a little bit and she was telling me how old she felt with me standing next to her,” Hasquet said, smiling.
“Just some good little back and fourth auntie-nephew talk.”