Gavin Gundlach, MCC men to play final home game

By Abe Winter Star Staff Writer

Five sophomores on the Miles Community College basketball teams — three on the women’s team and two on the men’s — and a redshirt freshman will play their last games of the regular season Saturday.

Games are scheduled against Little Big Horn College of Crow Agency. The women play at 2 p.m and the men’s game follows.

The female sophomores are Kyra Fleharty of Kalispell, Marina Peinado Balaguer of Mataro, Spain; and Brooks Carillo of Pukalani, Hawaii.

The male sophomores are Perion Little of Kenosha, Wis., and JaRon Ponder of Las Vegas.

Add redshirt freshman Gavin Gundlach of Miles City to the list because he is transferring to Montana State.

Here’s what men’s coach Chase Tait and women’s coach Nate Vogel had to say about their departing players:

Gavin Gundlach: “He’s just a hard worker who has grown a lot and has become a better leader. He works so hard everyday in practice.

“I knew how much time he spent in the gym. He’s a great student and teammate. I’m glad we got one year out of him.”

Gundlach sat out his freshman year due to an injury. He plans to be a walk-on at MSU and will have three seasons of eligibility remaining.

Perion Little: “He’ll be missed because he’s a very versatile player and he spends a ton of time working on his game. I think he’s made really good strides as a player and person. He was an inconsistent shooter and got down on himself, but some of his shortcomings have improved.

“He can handle the ball, shoots pretty well, drives it well and passes pretty well. He’s a well-respected person, nice to have around. He’s done anything we ask him to, including community service.”

Little redshirted at Rock Valley CC in Illinois before transferring to MCC. He has been getting contacted by NCAA Division I, Division II and NAIA schools.

JaRon Ponder: “He was a walk-on who earned a scholarship with his energy and communication skills. He works hard.”

Unfortunately for Ponder, he has been sidelined with an injury, but he sits on the bench during games, offering advice and encouragement to his fellow Pioneers.

Kyra Fleharty: “In terms of attitude and how she carries herself on the floor is the biggest improvement I’ve ever seen in a player. I knew she could play, so that’s why I rerecruited her.

“She goes inside and outside and she allows us to stretch the floor. She’s a hard guard.”

Marina Peinado Balaguer: “She’s a shooter. If we need someone to knock down a 3-pointer, that’s what she does.”

Balaguer is a transfer from South Georgia Tech.

Brooks Carillo: “She’s the quickest player on the team. She’s probably our best onball defender. She doesn’t score much, is more of a distributor of the ball.”

All three of Vogel’s sophomores may play next season at a four-year school.

“We’re making calls,” he said.

His Pioneers will play at home, probably Saturday, March 2, in the first round of the Region IX playoffs. The men will play on the road that same weekend.

As for the Tait’s sophomores, he has hopes of them continuing their playing days.

“It’s halftime at our school,” Tait said. “I want them to graduate from a four-year school. That’s our goal.”