BLANCHARD — A pair of three-year varsity basketball players led the Montabella Mustangs with first team Mid State Athletic Conference honors.
Charley Helmer and Jemikal Papendick helped lead the Mustangs to a 15-win season and were awarded for their fine seasons. Jeramee Gilman, Travis Dunn and Josh Dailey also earned postseason honors.
Helmer — Class C honorable mention in 2011 — averaged 16.7 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per game as a senior.
“He played well. He took constant double- and triple-teams all year,” Montabella coach Cam Gatrell said. “Early on he was frustrated. We had a talk to tell him to stay resilient and to keep crashing the offensive boards.”
The extra attention forced Helmer to look for other ways to score the ball.
“A lot of that was off of offensive rebounds,” Gatrell said. “Sometimes it was an individual effort because we were unable to get him the ball in the post.”
Gatrell said Helmer will play college basketball at Siena Heights University.
Papendick — headed to Ferris State to play football — averaged 12.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game this year as a senior.
“He is another one that is just an incredible athlete. Sometimes I had to get after him to be more aggressive,” Gatrell said. “He is such a team player, he wants to be unselfish and make the right pass and sometimes he forgets he needs to take those shots.
Gilman and Dunn both earned second team honors.
Gilman, a senior, averaged 7.7 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. Dunn, a senior, averaged 2.3 assists and 1.8 steals per game.
“Both of them are quality young men. Both are good students,” Gatrell said. “Those two are hardheaded. They are real feisty competitors, which is good. They bleed Mustang blue and will do anything for their school.”
Dailey, a senior, averaged 6.6 points and 2.3 rebounds per game. He changed the style of his game midseason and became a defensive stopper.
“Josh was struggling to score this year. About midway through the year I asked him how important starting was to him,” Gatrell said. “He said it was the most important next to winning. I told him he needed to become a defender because you’re not scoring.
“The last month of the season he defended our opponent’s best player. He became that defender and they noticed it in the league meeting,” he added.
The Mustangs finished the year 15-7 overall.
“I knew we were going to be decent. We had a tough schedule,” Gatrell said. “I scheduled any Class B school that would play us.”
Montabella loses six seniors from this year’s team.