116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MONTEZUMA - They've got a concrete slab at home. They've got something called Dr. Dish at the school gymnasium.
Most importantly, Elise and Mia Boulton have each other.
For competition. For teamwork. For support.
'They love each other. They feed off each other,” Montezuma girls' basketball coach Janel Burgess said. 'Look at Elise's assists. That tells you all you need to know.”
Elise said, 'We're best friends, for sure. We kind of offset each other.”
A sophomore, Mia Boulton is the state leader in 3-pointers this season, with 72. Big sister Elise, a senior, is third with 67.
Their long-range adventures are one reason - but surely not the only reason - that Montezuma is in the state tournament for the fourth consecutive year. The sixth-ranked Bravettes (22-1) meet No. 3 Saint Ansgar (22-1) in a Class 1A quarterfinal at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Wells Fargo Arena.
'We push each other. We're always around each other, and we inspire each other to work hard,” Mia said.
Montezuma is a basketball town, and the Boultons are a basketball family. Their grandfather, Al Rabenold, won 368 games as a boys' coach here. Their mother, Marie Rabenold Boulton, was the school's record-holder in career 3-pointers before Elise broke it, as a sophomore. Their father, Buddy Boulton, played at Washington (Iowa) High School, then at Simpson College.
'I got started in kindergarten,” said Elise, also bound for Simpson. 'Grandpa helped start our class, and we'd be out there playing at halftime of varsity games.”
Now, they're the main attraction on Tuesday and Friday nights. In Elise's four years, which have coincided with Burgess' four years coaching back at her alma mater, the Bravettes are 87-10 and state-tournament appearances are a regular occurrence.
This edition is an entertaining one. Four players average in double figures, and everybody is capable from long range. Montezuma scores at a potent 65.4-point clip while allowing 30.9 points per game.
Led by the Boultons, Montezuma has made 213 3-pointers this year, second most of any team, in any class. The Bravettes average 25.9 3-point attempts per game, and 9.3 makes.
'The fans enjoy it the way our kids play,” said Burgess, who - as Janel Grimm - graduated from Montezuma in 1994 and was a key part of the growth of the Iowa State program in the mid- to late-1990s.
'Fans from other communities come and watch us. If they watch us, they like how much our girls are on the floor, more often than not, going after loose balls.”
The Bravettes shoot a lot in practice, but it's not leisurely shooting. Drills are conducted at game pace.
And they stick around after practice concludes. The school owns a contraption called Dr. Dish, which collects basketballs from the basket and spews them out to the shooter. Kind of a mechanical rebounder and passer.
Elise and Mia take full advantage of Dr. Dish, putting it to work several times a week. When they're at home and weather is favorable, they shoot on their concrete slab.
'You can't shoot the corner 3 there, but you can from everywhere else,” Mia said. 'It's a great place for ball-handling drills.”
This figured, to the outside eye, to be a rebuilding year with the graduation of Shateah Wetering (now at the University of Iowa) and five other seniors.
'After last season, I was really down on myself,” Elise said. 'Shateah and I were fairly close. But after we started playing this summer, I realized, we still have something special.”
The Bravettes opened with a 10-point loss to Pella Christian.
'We got smacked around in the first game, and I think the girls were mortified,” Burgess said. 'I knew we would be OK, but I didn't know how quick.”
They responded with 22 consecutive wins.
The Boulton sisters both have a sweet stroke; Elise - who ranks eighth all-time in the state with 271 career 3-pointers - is shooting 43 percent from long range this season, and Mia is at 40 percent. Their personalities differ, though.
'Completely different,” Burgess said. 'Elise is going to talk; she's going to tell you the way it is. She's in constant motion.
'Mia is more soft-spoken. She's going to work hard, do everything she's supposed to do.”
Elise has developed more of an all-around game this year. She leads the team in scoring at 17.1 points per game and distributes 5.9 assists per contest, against 2.0 turnovers.
Junior Shanae Wetering adds 11.6 points per game, Mia 11.5 and senior post Dylan Holland 10.9.
Elise said her 'sweet spot” on the perimeter is 'parallel from the left part of the lane,” though, as point guard, she takes a lot of shots from the top of the key.
For Mia, 'in half-court, I like the corners,” she said. 'In transition, it's definitely the left wing.”
'We shoot ‘em where they're open,” Burgess said.
Both of the sisters plead guilty to peeking occasionally at their stats, compared to the state, and compared to each other.
Elise knows Mia is making a charge at her school record for treys in a season (74, set last year).
'I hope she breaks it,” Elise said. 'I'd rather pass her the ball.”
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