HELENA — No. 10 Lewis-Clark State College men’s basketball team has taken another form.
Ahead of its Saturday showdown with Np. 2Carroll College, the Warriors are mixing in at least one new piece for the first few times this season.
And at least on Thursday, it was not for the best as the No. 10 Warriors fell in Billings to Rocky Mountain College.
It was the second game for junior guard Dana Abe, who had not played in the first 14 games after transferring from Shoreline Community College.
Abe came off the bench against Rocky, took the most shots (15) played the most minutes (31) and scored the most points. Though the stats came in a loss, he looks like a new factor to consider in the Frontier Conference as he grows more acclimated.
The Saints will have limited scouting material of the guard as they look to build on their 15-0 start to the season.
Only two Warriors have started every possible game this season, Trea Thomas and Race Martin. Six other players have made starts for Lewis-Clark State, with Derrick White and Jeremy Franklin making the next most starts.
Lewis-Clark State has been a perennially contender under coach Brandon Rinta. Save his debut season as coach, the Warriors have won 20 or more games every year. They’ll likely be in contention when everything in the Frontier shakes out in February and March.
Even as the team builds on the fly and incorporates new talent, they’re still a top team in the conference.
“We know we have mighty challenges ahead,” Saints coach Carson Cunningham said. “They’re all battles in the Frontier.”
The Saints and Warriors met four times a season ago, culminating in Carroll's lopsided win in the Frontier Conference tournament. Each side returns chunks of those pieces that propelled them into the tourney final, but the Warriors enter the game as the bigger question mark.
The matchup closes out arguably Carroll’s toughest week of games ahead of when the Saints visit Western and Lewis-Clark State, though both teams could be out of the top-25 by then depending on how the next week shakes out.