Montana men's and women's basketball programs begin season with Maroon-Silver scrimmage

Dani Bartsch.jpg
Posted at 9:28 PM, Oct 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-28 13:09:47-04

MISSOULA — College basketball season is right around the corner as the Montana men's and women's basketball programs held their annual Maroon-Silver scrimmage on Wednesday night at Dahlberg Arena.

The day also served as a media day for the men’s program as both teams preview their upcoming season, which begins in early November.

After not playing in front of fans last year, Griz fans were in attendance for the scrimmage on Wednesday, as both teams knocked off the rust and showcased their 2021-22 rosters.

"It seems like it’s been a long wait. It’s been so long since we’ve had fans at least at home that I almost feel like we haven’t had a season in two years and so it’s been a long wait," said eighth-year men's coach Travis DeCuire in a press conference before the scrimmage. "Our group is hungry, I think we’re improved, I think we’re more mature, stronger, and I think we’re more together and I think that’s the biggest issue coming out of a COVID season is team chemistry."

The women played to a 46-46 draw in the first game.

The Lady Griz return plenty of experience from a year ago as Carmen Gfeller led the way with 15 points and 10 rebounds while several others showed off their talents in front of the fans. Sammy Fatkin had 14 points, Dani Bartsch added 12 and Abby Anderson tallied 10.

"It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to be in front of people so the fact that we get to warm up, you see people coming in, it’s just fun," first-year Lady Griz coach Brian Holsinger said. "The girls were nervous. I’m like this is just a scrimmage, we’re just playing each other we’re not even playing anybody else and there were some nerves which is great, that’s why you do these things."

The men's silver team won 44-43 and Josh Vazquez led the way with 18 points while Mack Anderson finished with a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds in a unit that also returns plenty of experience. Josh Bannan finished with 13 points as well while Cameron Parker added 11.

"A lot of it was just with experience," Anderson said. "Everyone played a lot of minutes last year that we have coming back and it was a really young group last year so I’d say that’s probably the biggest thing is just that experience and maturity and just knowing what we want to do as a program and what the coaches want and expect from us so I’d say that’s the biggest thing."