Dillon's Tanner Haverfield sets up to defend as Billings Central's Chrishon Dixon takes the ball down court Saturday during the Class A State tournament championship game at the Butte Civic Center. (Bill Foley photo)
Dillon star Tanner Haverfield was voted MVP of the Class A State boys’ basketball tournament.
The honor comes after the 6-foot-3 senior scored 26 points to lead the Beavers to 59-45 win over Billings Central in the State A championship game Saturday night at the Butte Civic Center. The win capped a 24-0 season and the second straight title for the Beavers.
Dillon went 46-2 in winning back-to-back state titles.
Haverfield scored 59 points in three games at the state tournament, averaging 19.7 points per game. He is joined on the first team of the All-Tournament team by teammate and fellow senior Troy Anderson.
Billings Central’s Peyton Hanser and Jet Campbell also made the first team along with Belgrade’s Dawson Fowler.
Media members and tournament officials voted on the All-Tournament Team, and the votes were compiled by ButteSports.com.
Butte Central senior Nate McGree earned a spot on the second team. Maroon teammates Sam Johnston, a senior, and Matt Simkins, a freshman, received an honorable mention.
Dillon’s Michael Haverfield, a sophomore, and Jamey Richardson, a senior, also took home an honorable mention.
2017 State A boys’ All-Tournament Team
First Team Tanner Haverfield, Dillon (MVP) Troy Anderson, Dillon Peyton Hanser, Billings Central Dawson Fowler, Belgrade Jet Campbell, Billings Central
Second Team Chrishon Dixon, Billings Central Tanner Wilson, Polson Jayden Bautista, Polson Matthew Rensvold, Polson Nate McGree, Butte Central Darnell Left Hand, Hardin
Honorable Mention Michael Haverfield, Dillon Sam Johnston, Butte Central Christian Jones, Laurel Brock Salsbury, Belgrade Layne Willis, Laurel Shay Dantic, Billings Central Shade Main, Polson Trey Layman, Belgrade David Evans, Hardin Shay Osborne, Laurel Matt Simkins, Butte Central Carter Kearns, Hamilton Jamey Richardson, Dillon Virgil McCormick, Hardin
Arlee’s state championship for “all of Indian country”
Arlee’s state championship for “all of Indian country”
Arlee's Tyler Tanner holds the Class C state championship trophy. (RICHIE MELBY/MTN Sports)
BOZEMAN – Last March, Zanen Pitts stood to the side of the court and watched as Box Elder’s Brandon The Boy took time to shake hands, hug, pose for pictures and sign autographs with nearly every community member following the Bears’ state championship win.
Saturday night, Pitts witnessed a similar scene with his spectacular junior Phillip Malatare.
Moments after Arlee won the first state basketball championship in program history, rallying past and holding off a resilient Manhattan Christian squad 71-67, Malatare stood at center court surrounded by Warrior fans wanting to thank the guard for bringing a title to the reservation town.
“People don’t understand, in the boundaries of the reservation it’s so tight. Everyone is family. You know everyone’s issues, you know everyone’s dreams and stories and legends and legacies,” said Pitts. “Indian country is so tight and basketball is a way of life. It’s what gives everyone the opportunity to escape from negativity and they are proving to you that this is bigger than life, it is life. It’s what gets people to escape from negative things.”
Pitts didn’t even attempt to hold back the tears. Yes, this was an emotional win against a well-coached and hard-working Manhattan Christian program.
Yes, this was the first title for Arlee, the town of barely 600 where reports have shown nearly one-third of families live below the poverty line.
Yes, this made up for last year’s loss to Box Elder in the Class C championship game.
Arlee head coach Zanen Pitts shares an emotional embrace with his wife following the Warriors’ win over Manhattan Christian in the Class C state championship. (RICHIE MELBY/MTN Sports)
But collectively, Arlee’s win was about more than those individual elements.
“To our reservation this is so big. I’m tired of seeing all the negative stuff around there and I want to see more kids with basketballs in their hands, living on the blacktop and pounding the ball and doing this,” Pitts said. “These are moments the kids will have for the rest of their lives. They’re changing legacies for these young kids. I’m so tired of all the bad things that happened and that’s why we rode the ride and rode the wave of making everything better for everyone else. This was not for these boys, the boys said this was for everyone on the reservation and every kid around Indian country.”
It certainly didn’t come easy.
Manhattan Christian, which was routed by Arlee in the Western C divisional championship, came out firing under head coach Jeff Bellach. The Eagles set the tone with their daunting zone defense and highly-efficient offense.
Still, Arlee slowly chipped away with senior Tyler Tanner knocking down buzzer-beating shots at the end of both the first and second quarters. Pitts barely waited for the second one to swish through the net, turning and heading off the court, all emotion removed from his face.
“It was a state title game and everyone was trying to do too much. Everyone was settling for the 3-pointer and we weren’t relying on each other, playing like brothers and looking to razzle and dazzle. That’s who we are. We’re not a slow-down team who wants to go blow-for-blow. We want to turn loose and be free and move without the ball and spot up closer to the 3-point line and that’s what they started to do and it started to open up and they started to believe in each other,” said Pitts. “The bright lights, it’s a big deal with a lot of pressure but the weight has been lifted off our shoulders. There was so much pressure in our community to get this and guess what? To all the haters, I have two words for you: state champs. To all the believers, I have two words for you: thank you.”
Arlee always believed. Believed in their Warriors and believed in their coach, the former Ronan basketball star trying to give the reservation town a break from everyday life.
Phillip Malatare (4) hugs teammate Tyler Tanner moments before the team received their trophy. (RICHIE MELBY/MTN Sports)
There’s no reason to believe Pitts and Arlee can’t qualify for a third consecutive state championship game in March of 2018. Malatare returns. Will Mesteth and Greg Whitesell return. Talent certainly remains.
But Pitts broke down discussing his senior class, particularly the MontanaSports.com Most Valuable Player, Tyler Tanner.
“That’s my boy, man. That’s my boy. Tyler Tanner. I miss him already,” said Pitts. “He’s such a good kid and everything that we’ve been through – we’ve been through a ride and a roller coaster all four years. We rode the wave and now we’re number one. I couldn’t have done it without Ty but I couldn’t have done it without all 16 boys all the way down to those guys who get waters and help with the jerseys. I could not have done it without them.
“Alex Moran, he hit that shot for his mom right there,” he continued, pointing to the corner of the floor. “She passed on and his dad told me four years ago when I got this job, ‘Remember that before she passed she said that these freshmen, when they are seniors, will win a state title.’ I’ve thought about that everything fricking night man. When I lay down, I think about what he said or she said and I knew I would give her that dream. And guess what? We’re number one.”
So, while Malatare continued hugging every member of the community, while Tanner clung to the shiny state championship trophy, Pitts soaked up every last moment. The celebration could last all night as far as he was concerned.
It was worth the wait.
The Arlee Warriors won the 2016-17 Class C boys basketball championship. (RICHIE MELBY/MTN Sports)
The Belgrade Panthers nearly erased a 22-point third-quarter deficit before falling 54-47 to Polson in the third-place game of the Class A State boys’ basketball tournament Saturday night at the Butte Civic Center. Stats
Belgrade outscored the Pirates 28-16 in the final frame, and cut the lead to 48-44 with 1 minute, 11 seconds left. The lead, though, proved to be too large.
Polson 13-6 after the first quarter and 29-10 at the half. After leading by 22 points midway through the third quarter, the Pirates took a 38-19 advantage into the fourth.
Matthew Renvold scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the Pirates (17-9). Jeremiah Peigan North scored 15 and pulled down seven boards.
Dawson Fowler scored 17 to lead the Panthers (16-10). Trey Layman scored 12. Brock Salsbury, who scored nine points, grabbed 11 rebounds.
Butte Central’s season came to an end this morning with a 62-59 overtime loss to Polson during the Class A State boys’ basketball tournament at the Butte Civic Center. Stats
Polson (16-9) advances to tonight’s 6:30 third-place game. The Maroons close the season at 14-11.
Tanner Wilson poured in 23 points to lead three Pirates in double figures. Jaydon Bautista scored 19, while Matthew Rensvold added 10 points and 12 rebounds.
BC senior Nate McGree closed his prep hoops career with 13 points. His contested, off-balance 3-point attempt at the buzzer just missed the mark. Classmate Tanner ump scored 11 points, while freshman Matt Simkins scored 10.
BC also got nine points apiece from senior Sam Johnston and sophomore Cade Holter.
POLSON 62 BUTTE CENTRAL 59
POL TOP SCORERS=WILSON=23; BAUTISTA=19; RENSVOLD; MAIN=6
BC TOP SCORERS=MCGREE=13; KUMP=11; M.SIMKINS=10; JOHNSTON=9; HOLTER=9
The Belgrade Panthers extended their season by one more game Saturday morning.
Belgrade knocked off Polson 57-46 in a loser-out game of the Class A State boys’ basketball tournament at the Butte Civic Center. Stats
The Panthers will play Polson at 6:30 p.m. in the third-place game. Laurel will head home.
Brock Salsbury scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Panthers. Easton Page came off the bench to score 15 points, nine of which came from the free throw line. Dawson Fowler scored 13 point to go along with seven rebounds.
Christian Jones tossed in 24 points to lead the Locomotives.
Polson held off Hamilton 51-45 Friday in the loser-out round of a state Class A high school boys’ basketball tournament at the Butte Civic Center that has yet to see more than a 10-point win at the halfway mark of the tourney. Stats
The win sent Polson, now 16-7 for the season, into a Saturday 9:30 a.m. loser-out game against the loser of Friday’s Butte Central-Dillon semifinal. The winner of the Saturday morning game will earn a chance to play for third place Saturday night.
The loss ended Hamilton’s season at 16-8.
Polson led most of the way, but was overtaken by the Broncs when Carter Kearns sank two free to break a 41-all tie. Polson responded with a 3-point basket by Montana football signee Tanner Wilson, then added a foul shot made by Jaydon Bautista. A parade of fouls and charity tosses ensued as the Pirates grew their advantage to 48-43 with 32 seconds to play. Hamilton was unable to cash in opportunities from the field on its end, but scored on a pair of Kearns freebies with 17 seconds left.
J’von Johnson netted a free throw for Polson. He missed the second and the rebound turned into a loose ball that was knocked out of bounds in front of the Pirates’ bench. Possession was ruled Polson’s and Hunter Omlid of Hamilton drew a technical foul with a slam of the ball to the court.
Future Montana Grizzly football player Matthew Rensvold sank both foul shots for the last points of the game.
Rensvold finished with 16 points and eight rebounds, and Bautista hit for 14 points as the Pirates shot 40 percent from the field.
Tanner Goligoski scored 14 points for the Broncs before fouling out late. Kearns tallied 10 points.
— Bruce Sayler, buttesports.com
POLSON 51 HAMILTON 45
POL TOP SCORERS=RENSVOLD=16; BAUTISTA=14; WILSON=9
HAM TOP SCORERS=GOLIGOSKI=13; KEARNS=10; OMLID=9; TAGGART=7
Billings Central's Jet Campbell goes past Laurel's Casey Cole to the hoop for a key fourth-quarter basket Friday night at the Butte Civic Center. (Bill Foley photo)
Jet Campbell scored 15 of his game-high 20 points in the second half to lead Billings Central to a 47-43 win over Laurel in the semifinals of the Class A State boys’ basketball tournament at the Butte Civic Center. Stats
The win sends the Rams (17-7) into Saturday’s 8 p.m. title tilt with defending champion Dillon.
Chrishon Dixon added 10 points for the Rams, who outscored Laurel 23-14 in the fourth quarter.
Christian Jones scored 16 points to lead the Locomotives (15-7), who plays Belgrade in an 11 a.m. loser-out game on Saturday. Layne Willis scored 13.
BILLINGS CENTRAL 47 LAUREL 43
BC TOP SCORERS=CAMPBELL=20; DIXON=14; DANTIC=6; HANSER=4
LAU TOP SCORERS=JONES=16; WILLIS=13; CORTESE=6; OSBORNE=4
Easton Page’s free throw with eight seconds left proved to be the difference in Belgrade’s 68-67 loser-out win over Hardin Friday afternoon in the state Class A high school boys’ basketball tournament at the Butte Civic Center. Stats
Trey Layman sank a pair of foul shots 15 seconds earlier to put the Belgrade lead at 67-62. Darnell Left Hand, who missed most of the second half with a knee injury, drove for a layup to cut the Hardin deficit to 67-64 with 13 seconds on the clock.
Left Hand then fouled Page. The Panther meshed the first charity toss, but missed the second and Left Hand rebounded for the Bulldogs. Freshman Famous Left Hand cast off a 3-point shot that stretched the cords, but the final three ticks clicked off the clock before the ball was retrieved and the game ended.
The rough-and-tumble game included a third quarter that saw two double-technical fouls called.
Dawson Fowler led Belgrade with 19 points, Page had 15, Salsbury 13 and Layman 10. Layman also pulled down 10 rebounds. The Panthers will take a 17-6 record into Saturday’s 11 a.m. game against the loser of the Friday Billings Central-Laurel semifinal for a spot in the Saturday night third-place game.
Four minutes were left in the game when Darnell Left Hand was hurt in a loose ball collision. He didn’t return to the game until 3 minutes remained in the intense contest.
He and Virgil McCormick tied for game-high honors with 21 points each. McCormick fouled out with 2:50 left, and seven assists and six rebounds. David Evans had 12 rebounds for Hardin to be chairman of the boards, and Darnell Left Hand gathered in 10. Famous Left Hand had 12 points. The Bulldogs wrapped up a 15-10 season.
— Bruce Sayler, buttesports.com
BELGRADE 68 HARDIN 76
BEL TOP SCORERS=FOWLER=19; PAGE=15; SALSBURY=13; LAYMAN=10
HARD TOP SCORERS=D.LEFTHAND 21; MCCORMICK=21; F.LEFTHAND=12; EVANS=8
The third time was definitely the charm for the Butte Central Maroons.
Butte Central knocked off Belgrade 48-38 this afternoon in the opening round of the Class A State boys’ basketball tournament at the Butte Civic Center. Stats
The Maroons advance to Friday’s 6:30 p.m. semifinal against Dillon.
The win was the first for Butte Central over the Panthers this season. Belgrade beat BC in a pair of nonconference games during the regular season.
Nate McGree scored 16 points and grabbed six rebounds to lead the Maroons (14-9) in their 11th win in 14 games. Freshman Matt Simkins had a huge game, scoring 10 points before fouling out. Sam Johnston scored nine, while Tanner Kump tossed in eight.
Dawson Fowler scored 12 points to lead the Panthers (16-6).
Dillon also beat BC twice this season, winning close games in Butte and Dillon.
BUTTE CENTRAL 48 BELGRADE 38
BC TOP SCORERS=MCGREE=16; M.SIMKINS=10; JOHNSTON=9; KUMP=8
Dillon's Kyson Wilson goes up for a bucket in front of Hardin's Darnell Left Hand Friday afternoon at the Butte Civic Center. (Bill Foley photo)
Troy Anderson stole the ball and took it the distance for a bucket with 4 seconds left, and the undefeated Dillon Beavers survived a first-round scare with a 60-55 win over Hardin this afternoon.
The game was opener of the Class A State boys’ basketball tournament at the Butte Civic Center. Stats
Dillon improved to 22-0 despite trailing 7-0 to open the game. The Beavers trailed by as much as nine points in the first half.
Tanner and Michael Haverfield combined for 35 points to lead the Beavers to Friday’s 6:30 p.m. semifinal. Tanner Haverfield scored 19, while his younger brother tossed in 16. Anderson scored 15 points.
Holman Real Bird and Darnell Left Hand each scored 12 points to lead Hardin (15-9). Left hand also grabbed 14 rebounds. Famous Left Hand and David Evans each scored 11.
BUTTE -- For the last three years the Polson boys' basketball team has been the West's No. 2 seed at the State A tournament. The Pirates' best finish in those appearances came last year in the form of a bronze trophy.
But coach Randy Kelley hopes this year's state tournament, starting Thursday at the Butte Civic Center, will be different -- mainly because of his team's seasoning at state.
"Two of our starters (started at state) last year and those kids actually started when they were sophomores in the state tournament in Bozeman a few years back," Kelley said of his two captains, Matthew Rensvold and Tanner Wilson. "Even when they were freshmen they played in that state tournament in Great Falls, so this will be their fourth straight state tournament.
"...I feel pretty comfortable as far as experience. The kids have been there. It’s not new to them, so we just gotta go in and take care of business."
The Pirates (15-6) will have their hands full, though. Polson draws Billings Central (15-7) in the opening round. The Rams beat the Pirates on state's first day a year ago.
If the Pirates prevail, they'll draw either the East's No. 1 team, Laurel, or a Hamilton team that beat Polson with a buzzer-beating shot in the two teams' only matchup of the season. The shot came from junior Hunter Omlid, the win came all the way back in December.
And the Broncs had a knack for being on the right end of a close call. Four of their wins have come by two points or less including the thriller against Polson. Hamilton's knack for winning when it comes down to the wire may be its X-factor at state.
"Our kids have been battle tested," Hamilton coach Travis Blome said. "...We’ve been fortunate enough to come out on the winning end and our kids have shown a lot of mental toughness throughout the year."
It'll take that sort of resilience for Hamilton, Polson and the rest of Class A if they want to earn a title. Undefeated Dillon (21-0) looms large with the West's No. 1 seed as the Beavers look to repeat as champions.
Dillon has won four state titles dating back to 2007 and appeared in seven total championship games.
State A tournament
Butte Civic Center
12:30 p.m. − Dillon (21-0) vs. Hardin (16-7)
2 p.m. − Belgrade (17-5) vs. Butte Central (12-9)
6:30 p.m − Polson (15-6) vs. Billings Central (15-7)
8 p.m. − Laurel (14-6) vs. Hamilton (16-6)
12:30 p.m. − Dillon-Hardin loser vs. Belgrade-Butte Central loser, loser out
2 p.m. − Polson-Billings Central loser vs. Laurel-Hamilton loser, loser out
6:30 p.m. − Dillon-Hardin winner vs. Belgrade-Butte Central winner, semifinal
8 p.m. − Polson-Billings Central winner, vs. Laurel-Hamilton winner, semifinal
Storyline: The Beavers are back to defend their title, boasting an unbeaten record at 21-0. Dillon has played in the state championship game seven times in the last 10 years.
Also:Seniors Christian Jones, Shay Osborne and Layne Willis were all sophomores when Laurel (14-6) won state two years ago, and will be looking to bring another title to coach Pat Hansen. … Belgrade (17-5) went 12-3 in its final 15 games, losing twice to Dillon and to Laurel in the Central/Eastern A Divisional championship game. … Last year’s runner-up, Billings Central (15-7), went 8-2 in February and enter as the No. 3 seed from the Central/East, just like the Rams did last season. … Hardin (16-7) is looking to regain the form that saw the Bulldogs start the season 10-1. … Butte Central (13-9) has had some of the best luck against Dillon. The Maroons played within seven points of the Beavers twice this season. … Hamilton (15-6) won its first nine games of the season, but has not won more than three in a row since. Four of the Broncs’ wins this year have been by two points or less and were decided on the game’s last possession. … Polson (15-6) had an 11-game winning streak snapped when it lost to Dillon in the Western/Southern Divisional championship game. The Pirates were third a year ago at state, and of this year’s six losses, two came to AA opponents and two to Dillon.
Butte Central's Tanner Kump is shown during pregame introductions before BC's Feb. 10 game against Corvallis at the Maroon Activities Center. (Bill Foley photo)
By Bill Foley
You’ve heard it said many times., and you will definitely hear it several more times this week.
It is hard to beat a team three times in a season.
The Butte Central boys’ basketball team is banking on that logic as the Maroons get ready for the Class A State tournament at the Butte Civic Center. BC opens the tournament against Belgrade at 2 p.m. Thursday. (Bracket)
The game will follow the tournament opener between Dillon (21-0) and Hardin (15-7).
The 13-9 Maroons lost a pair of nonconference games to the Panthers (16-5) during the regular season. The Panthers led 38-9 in a 57-41 win over the Maroons Dec. 20 in Belgrade. The Panthers won 51-50 on a contested 3-pointer at the buzzer by Trey Layman Feb. 14 in Butte.
If the Maroons knock off the Panthers, who placed second in the East/Central Divisional tournament two weeks ago in Billings, there is a very good chance they will face Dillon for a third time in Friday’s 6:30 p.m. semifinal game.
BC lost a pair of close games to the Beavers during the regular season.
Polson (15-6) will take on Billings Central (15-7) at 6:30, while Laurel (15-6) plays Hamilton (16-6) at 8.
Butte Central freshman Aaron Richards takes the ball to the hoop in front of Hamilton’s Zach Fussell Dec. 22 at the Maroons Activities Center. (Butte Sports file photo)The Maroons, the third seed from the Western A, enter the tournament playing their best ball of the season. BC is 10-3 since losing to Butte High Jan. 12.
Seniors Nate McGree (6-foot-2), Tanner Kump (6-0) and Sam Johnston (6-1) lead the Maroons into action. The trio has been playing particularly well as of late.
McGree averaged a team-best 11.2 points and 4.3 rebounds per game during the regular season. He followed that up by averaging 12.5 points in four games at the Western A Divisional tournament in Hamilton. He is the lone Maroon to average double figures scoring during the regular season.
Kump, who hit a team-best 38 3-pointers during the season, averaged 11.8 points at divisionals. That includes a 19-point performance that carried the Maroons past Hamilton 53-47 in the third-place game.
Sophomore Dan McCloskey (5-10) and freshman Matt Simkins (6-3) typically round out Butte Central’s lineup. McCloskey hit 32 3-pointers, while Simkins, like his twin brother Jared (6-3), has been an emerging force inside.
Sophomore Cade Holter (5-11) also contributes for the Maroons off the bench, as does freshman Luke Heaphy (5-10).
BC’s state roster includes juniors Tyge Yeleniich (5-10) and Hunter Hartwick (5-10), sophomores Zach Carlson (6-3) and Dylan Sestrich (6-2) and freshman Aaron Richards (6-3).
The Panthers rolled to the Central A regular-season title with a 7-1 record.
Maroon freshman Jared Simkins battles for a rebound between Belgrade’s Easton Page, left, and Spencer Gordon. Feb. 14 at the MAC. (Butte Sports file photo)
Junior Dawson Fowler (6-0) and seniors Brock Salsbury (6-2) and Layman (6-4) lead the Panthers. All three average double digits score and are a force on the boards.
Fowler averages a team-leading 16.9 points per game. His stat sheet also includes 4.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.1 steals per game.
Salsbury adds 14.6 points and 5.6 boards, while Layman scores 11.2 points and grabs 5.5 rebounds.
The defending champion Beavers have posted an incredible 43-2 record over the past two seasons. Head coach Terry Thomas, who is looking for his fifth title since 2007, has lead Dillon to the state title game four of the last five seasons.
Thomas is looking for his second perfect season. His Beavers went undefeated in 2007.
Seniors Tanner Haverfield (6-3) and Troy Anderson (6-4) lead the Beavers’ latest title run. Anderson, a future Montana State football player, averages 14.4 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. Haverfield, who is highly recruited by college basketball coaches, scores 18.5 points per game to go along with 4.9 boards.
Seniors Jamey Richardson (6-0) and Kyson Wilson (6-2), and sophomore Michael Haverfield (6-3) typically round out the starting five for the Beavers, whose zone defense is its typically lights-out self.
Butte Central’s Nate McGree takes the ball to the hoop as Dillon’s Michael Haverfield defends Jan. 6 at the Maroon Activities Center. (Butte Sports file photo)
Hardin placed fourth in the East/Central Divisional after tying with Billings Central and Laurel at 7-3 in the regular season.
Senior Darnell Left Hand (6-2) leads the Bulldogs, who averaged 71.6 points per game in the regular season.
Left Hand averaged 19.8 points, 12.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. He is one of four players averaging in double figures for the Bulldogs.
Senior Virgil McCormick (5-10) scores 13.8 points per game, while David Evans (6-2) adds 12.5 points and freshman Famous Left Hand (6-0) scores 11.7.
Polson (15-6) and Billings Central (15-7) open the night session Thursday in the 6:30 game.
The Pirates knocked off Butte Central 58-47 in the semifinals of the Western A Divisional before falling to Dillon in the finals two weeks ago in Hamilton.
Senior Tanner Wilson (6-4) scored 18 points in the win over the Maroons. Matthew Rensvold (6-4) add 14 points and eight boards.
Coach Jim Stergar, an Anaconda native, leads the Rams, who saw senior Shay Dantic (6-0) scored 13.1 points per game in the regular season. Sophomore Chrishon Dixon (5-10) adds 12.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 2.7 steals per game.
Laurel (15-6) meets Hamilton (16-6) in the nightcap at 8. Senior Christian Jones (6-1) is the lone Locomotive averaging in double figures for coach Pat Hansen’s squad. He averages 13.9 points per game.
Junior Carter Kearns (6-4) averages 14.4 points to lead three Broncs averaging in double figures scoring.
Sophomore Hunter Omlid (6-1) adds 13.2 points and 7.7 rebounds, while sophomore Tanner Gologoski (5-8) scores 11.7 points per game.
Butte Central is making its third straight appearance in the Class A State tournament. This year marks the 11th time in 13 years under head coach Brodie Kelly that the Maroons have played at state.
BC reached the finals twice in that stretch, but the Maroons are looking for their first state title since 1992.
BOYS 'A' BBALL STATE TRNY SCHEDULE
BOYS STATE @ BUTTE
Thursday, March 09, 2017
GM1--W1-DILLON V E4 HARDIN
GM2--E2-BELGRADE V W3-BUTTE CENTRAL
GM3--W2-POLSON V E3-BILLINGS CENTRAL
GM4--E1-LAUREL V W4-HAMILTON
Friday, March 10, 2017
GM5-GM1 LOSER V GM2 LOSER
GM6-GM3 LOSER V GM4 LOSER
GM7-GM1 WINNER V GM2 WINNER
GM8-GM3 WINNER V GM4 WINNER
Saturday, March 11, 2017
GM9-GM7 LOSER V GM6 WINNER
GM10-GM8 LOSER V GM5 WINNER
GM11-GM9 WINNER V GM10 WINNER
GM12-GM7 WINNER V GM 8 WINNER
Saturday, February 25 RESULTS/STATS
GM23-BOYS-CONS SEMI-BUTTE CENTRAL 52 FRENCHTOWN 36
GM24-BOYS-CONS SEMI-HAMILTON 51 STEVENSVILLE 41
GM26-BOYS-CONS FINAL-BUTTE CENTRAL 53 HAMILTON 47 (3RD)
GM28-BOYS-CHAMP FINAL-DILLON 50 POLSON 34 (1ST)
GM13-BOYS-CONS SEMI-BILLINGS CENTRAL 56 FERGUS 47 OT
GM14-BOYS-CONS SEMI-HARDIN 75 BROWNING 52
GM15-BOYS-CONS FINAL-BILLINGS CENTRAL 45 HARDIN 30 (3RD)
GM16-BOYS-CHAMP FINAL-LAUREL 64 BELGRADE 50 (1ST)
GIRLS STATE @ BUTTE
Thursday, March 02, 2017
GM1--W1-COLUMBIA FALLS V E4-LAUREL
GM2--E2-HAVRE V W3-BUTTE CENTRAL
GM3--W2-CORVALLIS V E3-BELGRADE
GM4--E1-HARDIN V W4-HAMILTON
BOYS STATE @ BUTTE
Thursday, March 09, 2017
GM1--W1-DILLON V E4-HARDIN
GM2--E2-BELGRADE V W3-BUTTE CENTRAL
GM3--W2-POLSON V E3-BILLINGS CENTRAL
GM4--E1-LAUREL V W4-HAMILTON
DILLON 50 POLSON 34 (1ST)
Polson(15-6) – Jaydon Bautista 4, Tanner Wilson 4, Jeremiah North Pigeon 5, Shade Main 4, Matthew Rensvold 17.
Dillon(21-0) – Michael Haverfield 14, Jamey Richardson 2, Kyson Wilson 2, Troy Andersen 21, Tanner Haverfield 10, Clay Allison 1.
The Laurel Locomotives are heading to the Class A state tournament as the Eastern No. 1 seed after defeating the Belgrade Panthers 64-50 in the Central/Eastern A Divisional championship game Saturday night at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark.
Photos: Central/Eastern A Divisional boys championship Saturday
Images from Central/Eastern A Divisional boys championship at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark on Saturday.
The Laurel Locomotives pose for picture after defeating Belgrade during the Central/Eastern A Divisional tournament against Belgrade at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark on Saturday.
Layne Willis led all scorers with 30 points, tying a tournament-high for the weekend. Christian Jones and Shay Osborne each added 12 points for Laurel.
Willis was sharp from the beginning, scoring 13 of his team's first 15 points to jump-start Laurel's offense, which struggled in the first half, only shooting 35 percent from the field.
"In the locker room, (Laurel coach Pat Hansen) told us to come out and attack right away," Willis said. "I put it on myself to do my part and get out there and score some points."
Willis, along with Osborne and Jones, were all sophomores when Laurel won the Class A state championship two years ago.
Willis said he's looking forward to getting back to the tournament.
"It's something I'll remember with these boys, winning divisionals," Willis said gesturing towards his team. "Hopefully that next goal of winning state becomes a reality."
Belgrade led 24-23 at halftime thanks to a 12-point first-half performance from Dawson Fowler. Fowler finished the game with 15 points while teammate Brock Salsbury led the team with 17.
Laurel had a 15-3 run in the third quarter that gave the Locomotives a 38-27 lead. Belgrade was able to cut that deficit to six by the end of the quarter after Fowler scored on a layup about 10 seconds before the buzzer sounded.
"We won some games different ways this weekend," Hansen said. "The bottom line is Layne Willis was huge for us this game. Layne came out with a great mindset of attacking the basket. He got in a great rhythm, kept us in the game in the first half, and kept that confidence all the way through that second half.
"We always are (looking forward to the state tournament). Those kids really enjoy each other and the longer they can spend more time together, they want that."
A 10-2 run in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter helped the Locomotives pull away again.
Belgrade is returning to the state tournament after missing last year, while Laurel is heading to its 10th straight.
"These guys will be hungry to get back to the state tournament and perform well," Belgrade coach Mike Deming said. "We'll be excited to go to the state tournament. Right now we're down a little bit simply because we wanted to win this tournament and prove that we're one of the better teams in the state.
"There's no doubt we are. It just wasn't our night tonight."
Earlier in the day, both Billings Central and Hardin also clinched spots in the Class A state tournament. Central defeated Hardin 45-30 to grab the Eastern No. 3 seed while Hardin will enter the tournament at No. 4.
Both teams dropped their openers of the tournament. Hardin was defeated by Lewistown on Wednesday while Central lost to Browning on Thursday.
The Rams followed the loss up with wins over Miles City on Friday and Lewistown on Saturday morning to clinch a spot at state.
"There's a lot of different routes you can take to get to the state tournament," Central coach Jim Stergar said. "We did it the hard way again. We battled and just kept our focus on a survive and advance mentality.
"These guys, they came out tonight and finished the job for the weekend and I was proud of them for hanging in there."
This is the third straight year the Rams have made the state tournament. Stergar's teams have made the state tournament four out of the five years he has been the coach.
Hardin is 2-for-2 in making the state tournament with Andrew Round Face as head coach. The Bulldogs missed the state tournament the year before Round Face took over.
The Bulldogs followed up their loss with a win over Livingston on Thursday and a win over Sidney on Friday. Hardin defeated Browning Saturday morning to clinch a spot at state.
In both years since the combined divisionals began, Laurel, Hardin, and Billings Central have all made the state tournament.
"It was a great feeling," Round Face said about making state again. "We took the long route, but we'll take it. It kind of looked dark after Wednesday, but we turned around and fought all the way back.
"It makes it a little bit sweeter when you know you have to fight through all of these other teams just to get back into it."
The Billings Central Rams claimed third place at the Central/Eastern A Divisional with a 45-30 win over the Hardin Bulldogs Saturday afternoon at Rimrock Auto Arena.
Peyton Hanser led Central with 16 points. Chrishon Dixon and Shay Dantic added seven points each for the Rams.
Hardin was led by David Evans, who scored 13 points.
Hardin starting post Darnell Lefthand was injured at the end of the first quarter and did not return. Lefthand later was on the Hardin bench wearing a walking boot on his left foot.
BILLINGS CENTRAL 45 HARDIN 30
BC TOP SCORERS=HANSER=16; DANTIC=7; DIXON=7
HARDIN TOP SCORER=EVANS=13
Hardin 79, Browning 52
Brothers Darnell and Famous Lefthand each scored in double-digits and the Hardin Bulldogs clinched a spot at the Class A state tournament with a 79-52 victory over Browning in front of a packed gym at Rocky Mountain College.
Famous led all scorers with 19 points and Darnell added 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs. Hardin jumped to a 21-10 lead in the first quarter and was leading 46-26 by half.
The Bulldogs will take on Billings Central in the third-place game at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark.
Justin Calf Boss Ribs led Browning in scoring with 16 points.
HARDIN 75 BROWNING 52
HARDIN TOP SCORERS=F.LEFTHAND=19; D.LEFTHAND=17
BRW TOP SCORERS=CALF BOSS RIBS=16; WHITCOMB=7; TAIL FEATHERS=7; DER.LORING=5
Billings Central 56, Lewistown 47, OT
Some late free throws helped the Billings Central Rams pull away late and clinch a spot at the Class A state tournament after defeating the Lewistown Golden Eagles 56-47 at Rimrock Auto Arena.
Shay Dantic finished with 19 points for Central, shooting 11-for-12 on free throws, and Chrishon Dixon added 13 points, shooting 11-for-16 on free throws, as well.
Trailing by one point with 6.3 seconds left, Dantic made one free throw to tie the game at 39-39. Lewistown missed the ensuing shot, sending the game into overtime.
Tanner Trafton led the game with 24 points for Lewistown.
Billings Central will take on Hardin in the third-place game at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Metra.
BILLINGS CENTRAL 56 FERGUS 47 OT
BC TOP SCORERS=DANTIC=19; DIXON=13; CAMPBELL=8
FER TOP SCORER=TRAFTON=24
Dillon 50, Polson 34
Polson(15-6) – Jaydon Bautista 4, Tanner Wilson 4, Jeremiah North Pigeon 5, Shade Main 4, Matthew Rensvold 17.
Dillon(21-0) – Michael Haverfield 14, Jamey Richardson 2, Kyson Wilson 2, Troy Andersen 21, Tanner Haverfield 10, Clay Allison 1.
Hardin: Virgil McCormick 3, Famous Left Hand 19, Holman Real Bird 4, David Evans 4, Darnell Left Hand 17, Malik Torre 2, Steffan WalksOverIce 8, Konnoly Shane 7, Trae Hugs 4, Andrew House 6, Tavia Jefferson 5.
Billings Central 56, Lewistown 47, OT/lo
Billings Central…14 6 11 8 17 — 56
Lewistown…4 17 9 9 8 — 47
Billings Central: Chrishon Dixon 13, Peyton Hanser 6, Andrew Nelson 2, Jet Campbell 8, Joe Byorth 4, Shay Dantic 19, Isaac Meyer 2, Noah Gaudreau 2.
Lewistown: Tanner Trafton 24, Noah Agostinelli 3, Jake Clinton 2, Eric Knox 4, Andrew Lalum 3, Jaden Graham 7, Cole Ayers 4.
Billings Central 45, Hardin 30, third place
B.C.…17 7 2 19 — 45
Hardin…9 4 8 9 — 30
Billings Central: Peyton Hanser 16, Johnny Elliott 4, Chrishon Dixon 7, Andrew Nelson 2, Cade Herriford 2, Isaac Meyer 2, Jet Campbell 3, Shay Dantic 7, Noah Gaudreau 2.
Hardin: Virgil McCormick 4, Codi Small 2, Famous Lefthand 2, Holman Real Bird 1, Konnoly Shane 2, David Evans 13, Tavia Jefferson 3, Darnell Lefthand 3.
HAMILTON — Butte Central’s comeback attempt fell short Friday night, and Polson send the Maroons to loser-out play with a 58-47 win over the Maroons in the semifinals of the Western A Divisional tournament on the Dale Berry Court. Stats
The Maroons play Hamilton at 10:45 p.m. Saturday against Frenchtown on the same court. The game will follow the BC girls’ team’s game, which is also against Frenchtown.
The winner advances to the third-place game and books a spot in the Class A State tournament, which is in two weeks in Butte.
After a 16-5 third quarter, the Pirates led the Maroons 41-28. BC battled back to within three points before Polson pulled away at the end.
Tanner Wilson scored 18 points, and Matthew Rensvold netted 14 to lead the Pirates into the title game.
Tanner Kump tossed in 15 points to lead the Maroons Nate McGree added 14 points for BC, which saw seven players score.
Jared Simkins scored six, Sam Johnston and Cade Holter each scored four, and Matt Simkins and Dan McCloseky each tossed in two.
POLSON 58 BUTTE CENTRAL 47
POL SCORERS=WILSON=18; RENSVOLD=14;NORTH PIEGAN=8; MAIN=6; LANIER=6; JOHNSON=4; BAUTISTA=2
BC TOP SCORERS=KUMP=15; MCGREE=14;Jared Simkins scored six, Sam Johnston and Cade Holter each scored four, and Matt Simkins and Dan McCloseky each tossed in two
DILLON 49 HAMILTON 28
DIL TOP SCORERS=ANDERSON=18; M.HAVERFIELD=14; T.HAVERFIELD=9
Peyton Hanser scored 21 points to help lead Billings Central to a 57-35 win over the Miles City Cowboys in a loser-out game of the Central/Eastern A Divisional at Rimrock Auto Arena on Friday.
The Rams led from the start in building a 29-14 lead by halftime.
Hanser made 8 of 9 from the floor. Four of his baskets came on dunks. Chrishon Dixon added 13 points and five assists for the Rams, who will play semifinal loser Lewistown or Belgrade Saturday morning at 9 a.m.
"When the ball bounces your way good things are bound to happen and it's good see because these kids deserve it," Central coach Jim Stergar said. "(Thursday night) they played hard and just missed some shots. Today we made those same shots and it's a different game."
Gabe Gundlach led Miles City with 17 points. Tyler Burk added 10 for the Cowboys.
BILLINGS CENTRAL 57 MILES CITY 35
BC TOP SCORERS=HANSER=21; DANTIC=8;DIXON=13
MC SCORERS=GUNLACH=17; BURKE=11; STRADLEY=5; IRION=2
Hardin built a big halftime lead and then withstood a Sidney flurry to get back into the game with a 65-51 loser-out win at the Central/Eastern A Divisional Friday afternoon at Rimrock Auto Arena.
Four Hardin players reached double figures, led by Famous Left Hand, who had 17 points. Darnell Left Hand finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Virgil McCormick also had 14 points, and David Evans added 10.
Hardin led 17-7 after the first quarter and 37-18 at the half.
Sidney attempted 18 3-pointers in the second half, making five. But the Eagles never did get the deficit into single digits. Brett Norby had a game-high 23 points for Sidney.
Hardin advances to the consolation semifinals at 10:30 a.m. at Rocky Mountain College. The Bulldogs will face the loser of the Laurel-Browning semifinal.
HARDIN 65 SIDNEY 51
HARD TOP SCORERS=F.LEFTHAND=17; D.LEFTHAND=14; MCCORMICK=12; EVANS=10
The Belgrade Panthers were the first boys team to clinch a spot at the Class A state tournament as they defeated Lewistown 58-44 Friday night in the Central/Eastern A Divisional semifinal.
Dawson Fowler led all scorers with 20 points while Brock Salsbury added 15 and Trey Layman scored 10. The Panthers are returning to the state tournament after missing out last season.
"Everybody wants a ticket to the state tournament," Belgrade coach Mike Deming said. "It doesn't matter if it's March Madness for college teams. They're all playing in their tournaments to get a ticket to the big dance. We approached that in the game tonight. This is our opportunity to get a ticket.
"To have Dawson come out and play under the lights and hit some shots, everybody fed off of him I thought."
Belgrade now awaits the winner of Laurel and Browning for the championship game which will be on Saturday at 8 p.m.
Jaden Graham scored 13 points for the Golden Eagles. Lewistown will play Billings Central at 9 a.m. on Saturday at Metra.
"I think it's good for us to see what we're really made of. Tonight we played well," Fowler said. "Wednesday (against Sidney) I was just a little out of it. Wasn't feeling really good. I think tonight I bounced back.
BELGRADE 58 FERGUS 44
BEL TOP SCORERS=FOWLER=20; SALSBURY=15;LAYMAN=10; PAGE=9
FERG TOP SCORERS=GRAHAM=13; CLINTON=10; AYERS=9; KNOX=7
Laurel rolls into championship with 73-48 win over Browning
By KYLE HANSEN AND MIKE SCHERTING
The Laurel Locomotives had their running shoes on early and went on for an easy 73-48 Central/Eastern A Divisional semifinal Friday night at Rimrock Auto Arena.
Laurel scored 25 points in the first quarter and shot 66 percent in the first half on their way to Saturday's championship game against Belgrade. The title game is scheduled to start at 8 p.m.
Christian Jones made 4 of 5 from the 3-point line and finished with 22 points to lead Laurel, which had a 45-18 lead by halftime. Shay Osborne added 19 points and Chanc Lawerence 12.
Browning, which shot 35 percent for the game after shooting just 19 percent in the first half, was led by Weston Mad Plume's 17 points. He made 5 of his 7 3-point attempts, and Tyree Whitcomb added 11 points.
Browning plays Hardin in the 10:30 a.m. consolation semifinal at Rocky Mountain College on Saturday.
LAUREL 73 BROWNING 48
LAU TOP SCORERS=JONES=22; OSBORNE=19; LAWRENCE=12
BRW TOP SCORERS=MAD PLUME=17; WHITCOMB=11
Frenchtown 45, Columbia Falls 44
Frenchtown…15 8 14 8 – 45
C. Falls…14 12 8 10 – 44
Frenchtown (10-9) – Adam Botkin 15, Austin Means 11, Ethan Pyron 8, Jacob Price 5, Brock Rugg 4, Hank Rugg 2.
Columbia Falls (4-17) – Austin Green 16, Logan Stephens 12, Dakota Bridwell 8, DJ Schrade 5, Drew Morgan 3.
Stevensville 43, Corvallis 36
Stevi…12 6 11 14 – 43
Corvallis…6 7 14 9 – 36
Stevi (9-12) – Jared Kingsbury 20, James Fry 10, Dalton Bragg 9, Louis Estrada-Ortiz 4.
BRW TOP SCORERS=WHITCOMB=13; MAD PLUME=12; CALFBOSSRIBS=11; AIMSBACK=10
BC SCORERS=DANTIC=17; GAUDREAU= 13; HANSER=11; DIXON=12; ELIOT=7
Browning survived a missed last-second short jumper and advanced to the semifinals of the Central/Eastern A Divisional with a 62-60 quarterfinal win over Billings Central on Thursday at Rimrock Auto Arena.
The Indians will face the Laurel-Miles City winner Friday at 8 p.m. Billings Central plays the Laurel-Miles City loser Friday at noon.
The game had its share of theatrics. Central's Peyton Hanser threw down two dunks in the first quarter and there were several wild finishes at the rim.
Browning ended the third quarter on an 11-3 run, giving them a 47-41 lead heading into the final quarter. Central clawed its way back into the game, tying it a couple of times. The Indians grabbed the lead for good after Tyree Whitcomb scored to give them a 60-59 lead with 54 seconds remaining.
Central's Noah Gaudreau had a tightly contested shot from near the right block at the buzzer, but the shot was too short off the backboard. Browning coach Mark Magee credited a drill they practice everyday to getting the final stop.
"We call it the 30-second drill," Magee said. "Keep them outside and not let them score for 30 seconds. It's something that we work on all the time so that's what I told them at the timeout."
Relieved, Magee said, "We have to just keep believing. That's one thing I preached to these guys from day one. We got 80 kids trying out for this team, and not everybody can make it so I tell them I picked the best of the best. They have to believe they are capable of playing on Saturday night at any level."
Whitcomb and Justin Calf Boss Ribs led Browning with 13 points and Weston Mad Plume added 12. Browning was just 19 of 30 from the free-throw line.
"Last year we played them and got beat by two so it felt good to get some revenge," Whitcomb said. "Wicked crowd. It was loud and I couldn't think or hear my coaches. Good atmosphere though."
Shay Dantic scored 17 to lead Central, which made just 14 of 23 free throws. Gaudreau finished with 13 points, and Chrishon Dixon had 12 points and eight assists.
BROWNING 62 BILLING CENTRAL 60
BRW TOP SCORERS=WHITCOMB=13; MADPLUME=12; CALFBOSSRIBS=11; AIMSBACK=10
BC TOP SCORERS=DANTIC=17; GAUDREAU=13; DIXON=12; ELLIOT=7
Miles City reaches quarterfinals with win over Livingston
Steven Ray scored 12 points and Tyler Burk added 11 to help the Miles City Cowboys get past Livingston 44-36 Thursday in a winner's bracket game of the Central/Eastern A Divisional at Rimrock Auto Arena.
Miles City advanced to a quarterfinal game against Laurel at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, getting just a few hours of rest.
"I have the utmost confidence in our guys and I think they'll be ready to play," Miles City coach Houston Finn said. "Just need to dictate that tempo for 32 minutes."
Livingston also plays again Thursday. The Locomotives face Hardin in an 8 p.m. loser-out game.
Miles City led the entire way, though things got tight at the end following a technical assessed to Burk with 3:07 remaining.
Jakim Ricketts converted both free throws to pull Livingston within 36-34, but the Rangers didn't make a field goal the rest of the way.
The Cowboys, meanwhile, went 8-for-8 from the free-throw line to ice the win.
Finn said his team struggled with their shot, but should be happy that they walked out with another close victory.
When asked if fixing those problems in between games was easy, he laughed, "I don't know. Ask me around 7:30."
Ricketts finished with 12 points to lead Livingston.
MILES CITY 44 PARK 36
MC SCORERS=RAY=12; BURKE=11; GUNDLACH=8; IRION=8; STRADLEY=5
PRK TOP SCORERS=RICKETTS=12; FLOYD=7; WADELL=5
Laurel overtakes Miles City in second half for semifinal berth
KYLE HANSEN and MIKE SCHERTING
A strong third quarter helped propel the Laurel Locomotives past Miles City 45-39 in a Central/Eastern A Divisional quarterfinal game Thursday night at Rimrock Auto Arena.
Christian Jones scored 19 points and the Locomotives used 82 percent shooting in the second half to surge into the lead and hold it.
Miles City led 22-16 at the break, but by the time the third quarter was over Laurel held a 36-32 lead. The Cowboys never got the lead back.
Gabe Gundlach led all scorers with 16 points, and Tyler Burk added 14 for Miles City, which was playing its second game of the day following its earlier win over Livingston.
LAUREL 45 MILES CITY 39
LAU SCORERS=JONES=17; CORTESE=8; LAWRENCE=7; WILLITS=6; OSBORNE=5; COLE=2
MC TOP SCORERS=GUNLACH=16; BURKE=14;STRADLEY=5
Hardin wins fast-paced game against Livingston in Friday's finale
KYLE HANSEN and MIKE SCHERTING
The Hardin Bulldogs moved on in the loser's bracket of the Central/Eastern A Divisional Thursday with a high-energy 71-48 win over Livingston at Rimrock Auto Arena.
Few shots were passed up by either team in a game that went up and down the court from tip to horn.
Virgil McCormick scored 23 points to pace the Bulldogs, and Darnell Left Hand had 12 points and 16 rebounds. McCormick also had four of Hardin's 17 assists.
The teams combined for 119 field goal attempts, including 26 from the 3-point line. The teams also combined for 29 steals and shot 40 free throws.
John Waddell had a team-high 12 points for Livingston, which included a near halfcourt buzzer-beater at the end of the third quarter.
The Bulldogs will play Sidney at 1:30 p.m. on Friday. They'll also play the remainder of the tournament without freshman reserve Cayden Redfield, who suffered a broken arm when he landed on the basketball near the Hardin bench.
Redfield was escorted off the MetraPark floor with a towel draped around his arm to cover up the injury.
Miles City 44, Livingston 36
Livingston…7 10 5 14 — 36
Miles City…13 10 7 14 — 44
Livingston: John Waddell 5, Brock Peterson 2, Morgan Rosberg 2, Dawson Purkett 2, Rydell Floyd 7, Jakim Picketts 12, Austin Parker 3, Shea Bergsing 3.
Miles City: Gabe Gundlach 8, Kaden Stradley 5, Steven Ray 12, Kelly Irion 8, Tyler Burk 11.
Miles City: Clay Prell 2, Gabe Gundlach 16, Kaden Stradley 5, Kelly Irion 2, Tyler Burk 14.
Laurel: Casey Cole 2, Shay Osborne 5, Christian Jones 19, Layne Willis 6, Dawson Cortese 6, Chanc Lawrence 7.
Dillon 69, Columbia Falls 33
Dillon…22 17 16 14 – 69
C. Falls…5 5 16 7 – 33
Dillon (19-0) – Troy Andersen 23, Tanner Haverfield 17, Michael Haverfield 8, Clay Allison 7, Kyson Wilson 5, Jansen Anderson 4, Jake Ferris 3, Coby King 2.
C. Falls (4-16) – Dakota Bridwell 9, Logan Stephens 7, Austin Green 6, Quintin Schriver 4, Billy Barrett 3, DJ Schrade 3, Drew Morgan 1.
Hamilton 46, Frenchtown 35
Frenchtown…8 13 6 8 – 35
Hamilton…9 14 11 12 – 46
Frenchtown –Ethan Pyron 2, Jacob Price 8, Cade Baker 4, Adam Botkin 9, Austin Means 12. Totals: 14 5-10.
Hamilton – Carson Rostad 1, Ky Burch 8, Ty Chouinard 2, Hunter Omlid 18, Jaylen Taggart 2, Tanner Goligoski 6, Carter Kearns 9.
3-pointers – Price, Borkin, Omlid, Kearns.
Stevensville 56, Whitefish 52
Whitefish…13 9 16 14 — 52
Stevi…7 17 20 12 — 56
Whietfish: Derek Kastella 3, Sawyer Silliker 13, Ryan Kemm 15, Lee Walburn 9, Dillon Botner 12.
Stevensville: Jared Kingsbury 19, James Fry 21, Dalton Bragg 6, Chase Richards 3, Alex Gavlack 2, Louis Estrada 5.
Wednesday, February 22 RESULTS/STATS
GM1-GIRLS-STEVENSVILLE 65 WHITEFISH 44
GM2-BOYS-COLUMBIA FALLS 54 STEVENSVILLE 51
GM3-GIRLS-COLUMBIA FALLS 55 HAMILTON 28
GM4-GIRLS-BUTTE CENTRAL 58 POLSON 19
GM5-BOYS-POLSON 65 CORVALLIS 47
GM6-BOYS-BUTTE CENTRAL 48 WHITEFISH 29
GM1-GIRLS-FERGUS 56 SIDNEY 53
GM2-GIRLS-GLENDIVE 43 PARK 38
GM1-BOYS-PARK 52 GLENDIVE 46 OT
GM2-BOYS-MILES CITY 66 HAVRE 59 OT
GM3-GIRLS-LAUREL 56 BROWNING 51
GM4-GIRLS-HAVRE 61 MILES CITY 39
GM3-BOYS-FERGUS 48 HARDIN 46
GM4-BOYS-BELGRADE 60 SIDNEY 49
HAMILTON -- The Northwest A's top seeds cruised on Wednesday while the Southwest's got to wait another day before jumping into the Western A Divisional basketball tournament at Hamilton High School's Dale Berry Court.
Only half of the divisional's teams began play Wednesday at the tournament that looks to determine the top four teams that will represent the NWA/SWA combined division at the state tournaments coming up. The Polson boys and Columbia Falls girls, regular-season titlist from the Northwest, made their early start count.
Polson was nearly doubling up Corvallis until taking its foot off the brake in the second half of a 65-47 victory. The Pirates (14-5) led 33-18 at halftime. Matthew Rensvold scored half of his game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter of the win.
Columbia Falls, the top-ranked team in Class A, scorched Hamilton in a 55-28 final. The Wildkats (18-1) held the Broncs (6-13) to just 15 points through three quarters. Kiara Burlage netted 13 points to lead all scorers.
The Kats will face Butte Central (14-5) when they resume play on Friday in the semifinals. The Maroons eased past Polson, 58-19, in another first-rounder on Wednesday.
Stevensville and Whitefish (0-19) also played in a pre-first-round outing to determine who gets a shot at Southwest A No. 1 Dillon on Thursday at 12:45 p.m. The Yellowjackets (5-14) won the right with a 65-44 victory in which Haley Kampka scored 15 points. Stevi teammates Angel Richards and Evynne Alexander added 13 more apiece.
Other first-round action Thursday includes Frenchtown taking on Corvallis at 11 a.m., and there is also a loser-out contest between the Whitefish and Polson girls scheduled for 6 p.m.
On the boys' side, Central also passed its first-round test in a lop-sided 49-29 win over Whitefish. That sets the Maroons up to face Polson in a semifinal game on Friday.
The Frenchtown and Hamilton boys will get the other first-round action started Thursday at 2:30 p.m. with No. 1 Dillon vs. Columbia Falls to follow at 4:15 p.m. C. Falls earned its way into that matchup by beating Stevensville 54-51 earlier Wednesday thanks to the 20 points from Logan Stephens.
The Jackets will look to keep their season alive in a loser-out contest against Whitefish to cap Thursday's events at 7:45 p.m.
The tournament runs through Saturday with the top four teams advancing to the State A basketball final site. State for the girls is March 2-4 in Butte while the boys play the next weekend back in the Mining City.
Columbia Falls 54, Stevensville 51
Stevensville(7-12) – Jarod Kingsburg 4, James Fry 13, Dalton Bragg 10, Chayse Richards 4, Alex Gavlak 9, Luis Estrada-Ortiz 11.
Columbia Falls(4-15) – Austin Green 13, Logan Stephens 20, Quintin Schriver 7, Dakota Bridwell 12, DJ Schrade 2.
Livingston's Jakim Ricketts shoots a layup in the fourth quarter against Glendive in the play-in game at the Central/Eastern A Divisional at the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark on Wednesday, February 22, 2017.
The Miles City Cowboys defeated Havre 66-59 in overtime in a Central/Eastern A play-in game.
The Blue Ponies, who tied the game in regulation at 52-52 with 2.3 seconds left on a layup by Ryan Bakke, scored the first points of OT before the Cowboys answered with the next eight.
Bakke's layup came immediately after Miles City's Tyler Burk scored to give the Cowboys a brief lead. Miles City coach Houston Finn said he wish he'd have called a timeout, but that Havre did a good job of getting the ball up the floor quickly for the score.
"(In overtime) I said this is a new game," Finn said about how he got his players ready for the extra period. "Enjoy this deal and let's get after it. It's zero-zero and let's go play. Whoever wins the next four minutes and our guys never gave up.
"Every guy in our locker room knows we have more in us."
Miles City's Gabe Gundlach had 30 points to lead all scorers. Isaac Warp led Havre with 19.
"It was a game of runs and we came out on top," Gundlach, who shot 50 percent from the field and 8-for-9 from the free throw line, said. "I was just playing out there and having fun with my teammates. They got me some good looks and it's fun to play when we're all shooting the ball like that."
Gunlach, Clay Prell and Kaden Stradley combined on 6-for-6 free-throw shooting in the final 18 seconds to help the Cowboys maintain their lead.
Miles City advances to play Livingston at noon on Thursday, while the season ends for Havre at 3-16.
MILES CITY 66 HAVRE 59 OT
MC TOP SCORERS=GUNLACH=30; RAY=12; BURKE=11
HAVRE TOP SCORERS=WARP=19; BAKKE=13
Livingston 52, Glendive 46 (OT)
Livingston rallied to send the game into overtime and beat Glendive 52-46 in a play-in game of the Central/Eastern A Divisional tournament Wednesday at Rimrock Auto Arena.
John Waddell hit a 3-pointer with 37 seconds left and Jakim Ricketts hit another with seven seconds left as the Rangers overcame a 28-19 deficit to start the fourth quarter and tie the game 40-40 at the end of regulation.
Ricketts said the shot felt good coming off of his hands.
"I was coming off of the top and (Dawson Purkett) gave me a great screen off the top and then Austin Parker gave me a great kick out," Ricketts said. "They just set me up well and I knocked it down."
Ricketts finished with 22 points and Waddell scored 12 points for the Rangers. Glendive's Stephen Steinbron scored 29 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Livingston outscored Glendive 12-6 in overtime. The Rangers went 10-for-14 from the line in the extra frame.
"It was our kids stepping up," Livingston coach Layne Glaus said. "We've had a couple guys all year long, that at the end of the game, they want to take the big shot and Jakim Ricketts has been one of those players."
Photos: Central/Eastern A Divisional boys first round
Glendive's Jory Opp (33) keeps control of the ball as Livingston defenders including Dawson Purkett (5) move in in the fourth quarter at the Central/Eastern A Divisional at the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark on Wednesday, February 22, 2017.
Livingston's Jakim Ricketts shoots a layup in the fourth quarter against Glendive in the play-in game at the Central/Eastern A Divisional at the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark on Wednesday, February 22, 2017.
Livingston's Dawson Purkett defends against a Glendive player under the basket in overtime in the play-in game at the Central/Eastern A Divisional at the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark on Wednesday, February 22, 2017.
Miles City players Kelly Irion (24), Steven Ray (23), and Gabe Gundlach (11) surround Havre's Ryan Bakke (31) at the Central/Eastern A Divisional at the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark on Wednesday, February 22, 2017.
Miles City's Tyler Burk (25) is surrounded by teammates and fans as he ends up off the court during the game against Havre at the Central/Eastern A Divisional at the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark on Wednesday, February 22, 2017.
The Miles City bench celebrates as the Cowboys beat the Havre Blue Ponies 66-59 in overtime at the Central/Eastern A Divisional at the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark on Wednesday, February 22, 2017.
CASEY PAGE, Gazette Staff
Livingston's Jakim Ricketts shoots a layup in the fourth quarter against Glendive in the play-in game at the Central/Eastern A Divisional at the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark on Wednesday, February 22, 2017.
CASEY PAGE, Gazette Staff
The Lewistown bench reacts to the Golden Eagles' win over Hardin at the Central/Eastern A Divisional at the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark on Wednesday.
The Lewistown Eagles survived a first-round game of the Central/Eastern A Divisional by edging the Hardin Bulldogs 48-46.
The teams narrowly avoided handing the tournament its third consecutive overtime game when Hardin lost the ball on the game's final possession.
With 4.7 seconds remaining, Hardin's Virgil McCormick drove from the right sideline to the left lane, where he tried to dish the ball off inside. Instead, the attempted pass was lost in a forest of legs, and Lewistown's Andrew Lalum plopped on the ball like a fumble recovery as time expired.
Lewistown, which overcame a 21-13 halftime deficit, went on a 9-0 run with under four minutes to play and built a 47-42 lead. Lalum hit a three, followed by a layup, 3-pointer, and free throw from Tanner Trafton.
Trafton led Lewistown with 12 points. Lalum finished with 11.
"I thought Tanner hit a huge shot for us there," Lewistown coach Scott Sparks said. "That was a big three for us there. I thought the guys that really got us going were Eric Knox and Andrew Lalum. Those two guys ignited us and got us back in the game.
"It's cool for a young team to experience this. So for anything that we can accomplish this year is a huge positive for us. We feel like we can play with anybody here."
McCormick had 18 points to lead Hardin, and Darnell Lefthand had 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Hardin will play the winner of Miles City-Livingston Thursday at 8 p.m. in a loser-out game. Lewistown gets a day off, advancing to Friday's 6:30 p.m. semifinal against Belgrade or Sidney.
FERGUS 48 HARDIN 46
FERG TOP SCORERS=TRAFTON=12; LALUM=11;KNOX=9; GRAHAM=7
Dillon (18-0, 8-0) – Andrew Lemieux 4, Michael Haverfield 5, Jamey Richardson 7, Coby King 2, Kyson Wilson 1, Jansen Anderson 7, Troy Andersen 6, Tanner Haverfield 23, T.J. Fitzgerald 4, Clay Allison 4.
Dillon boys cap perfect 18-0 regular season
Tanner Haverfield hit five 3-pointers for the second night in a row, scoring 16 of his 23 points before halftime, and the Dillon boys basketball team wrapped up a perfect regular season by routing visiting Corvallis, 63-26, on Saturday.
The Beavers (18-0, 8-0 Southwest A) led just 19-14 after the opening quarter, but outscored the Blue Devils 17-4 in the second to pull away for good. Corvallis managed just eight points in the second half.
"We have tremendous senior leadership, and that's helped us prepare for every game on what was a very challenging schedule," Dillon coach Terry Thomas said. "I thought our kids did a nice job of finding a way to win each night, and they did it as a team.
"(The perfect record) was quite exciting. It's pretty special for our entire program, our school and our community. We're really proud of it."
Jamey Richardson and Jansen Anderson added seven points apiece for Dillon, which had 10 different players score on Senior Night.
Tyler Nixon's nine points led the Blue Devils.
With the Western A Divisional Tournament beginning on Wednesday in Hamilton, Thomas said his team isn't ready to look forward to a state title just yet.
"Our focus all year long is just on the next game and making sure we prepared hard and played hard," Thomas said. "That's exactly what we're going to do game-by-game.
"There's a lot of great teams out there, and any team can beat any other team on any given night. If we don't win (a state title), we'll still be very proud."
Top-seeded Dillon, which has a first-round bye, opens divisional play against the Stevensville-Columbia Falls winner at 4:15 p.m. on Thursday.
Havre – N. Korb 18, J. LaBrie 2, I. Warp 18, B. Personett 3, R. Bakke 7, I. Aageson 8, T. Murphy 6. Totals 21 16-27 62.
3-point – Calf Boss Ribs 4; Warp 3, Personett.
FERGUS 49 PARK 44*
Lewistown: Tanner Trafton 19, Jake Clinton 5, Eric Knox 3, Andrew Lalum 7, Wes Jameson 4, Jaden Graham 7, Cole Ayers 4.
Livingston: John Waddell 4, Brock Peterson 3, Dawson Parkett 2, Rydell Floyd 20, Jakim Ricketts 11, Austin Parker 4.
GLENDIVE 48 MILES CITY 40
Miles City: C. Prell 3, Gabe Gundlach 12, Christian Stradley 5, Tyler Burk 14, C. Mun 5, T. Nemetz 1.
Glendive: Baxter Baker 7, Davide Bernasco 6, Robby Keiser 9, Logan Phipps 1, Lane Walker 1, Jory Opp 6, Stephen Steinbron 18.
Friday, February 17 RESULTS/STATS
DILLON 63 BELGRADE 50
Andersen, Haverfield lead Dillon boys past Belgrade
The Montana Standard
Feb 17, 2017
Troy Andersen dominated inside with 25 points, Tanner Haverfield hit five 3-pointers for 24 points, and the Dillon boys basketball team shot down visiting Belgrade, 63-50, to pull within one win of a perfect regular season.
Haverfield hit four of his treys in the first half as the top-ranked Beavers (17-0, 7-0 Southwest A) jumped out to a 30-21 lead at the break in the matchup of district leaders.
Andersen added 14 of his points after halftime to help hold off long-range onslaught from Brock Salsbury of Belgrade (13-4, 7-1 Central A). Salsbury hit seven 3-pointers in the game, including six in the second half, to finish with a team-high 24 points.
Michael Haverfield added all eight of his points, including a pair of treys, in the third quarter for Dillon.Dillon can wrap up its perfect regular season with a home win over Corvallis on Saturday.
Billings Central's Shay Dantic shoots the ball during the Ram's 46-43 victory over Laurel at the Nelles Activities Center on Thursday. Dantic finished with a game-high 20 points.
On Jan. 19, the Laurel Locomotives defeated the Billings Central Rams on a last second buzzer-beater in Laurel.
This time around, the Rams got revenge.
Shay Dantic hit a late 3-pointer to tie the game with under a minute left followed by a steal and a free throw to help put Central up for good as the Rams defeated Laurel 46-43 at the Nelles Activities Center on Senior Night.
After Dantic put the Rams up 44-43, Laurel's Shay Osborne missed a go-ahead layup and Jet Campbell grabbed the rebound and was fouled. He made two free throws to ice the game with 2.3 seconds left.
Photos: Central vs. Laurel boys varsity Thursday
Images from the Central vs. Laurel boys varsity game at Billings Central High School on Thursday, February 16.
Central students celebrate after a Central victory during the Central vs. Laurel boys varsity game at Billings Central High School on Thursday, February 16.
Laurel's Dawson Cortese attempted to tie the game in the final two seconds but was unable to connect, giving Central the win.
Dantic finished with a game-high 20 points while Chrishon Dixon added 12 for the Rams. Laurel's Christian Jones finished with 17 points.
"I had a little bit of confidence but I have to give the credit to my teammates because they believe in me," Dantic said. "(On the steal) we were just trying to get the ball and I saw that one of their players was trapped, so I snuck in and got the steal and got fouled."
Dantic only made one of his two free throws, but was key for his team down the stretch. He knocked down three 3's, including another one right before the third quarter. His game-tying three late in the game came off of a screen at the top of key. He caught it and took one dribble to his right.
"That kid has got ice in his veins," Central coach Jim Stergar said. "I'm proud of him for stepping up the way he's done. It's nothing new for him, stepping up and taking those shots."
Dantic, a senior, said he knew he'd get fouled after the steal, and was happy to be able to give his team the lead.
"I missed the first one but (Stergar) has always said in a situation like that, just need to make one and luckily I did and it felt great," Dantic said. "It's a great rivalry. We respect them, but to get the win was an amazing feeling. It was definitely a confidence booster"
With the win, Central finishes the regular season 12-6 and at No. 3 in the division. Laurel (11-5) takes the top spot, while Hardin will be No. 2 in Eastern A. Laurel hosts Billings Senior on Saturday.
"Our kids are competitors and anytime something doesn't go the way they want it to they have a little fire in their belly and we want them to play a little angry," Laurel coach Pat Hansen said. "We're looking forward to tournament time."
Billings Central 46, Laurel 43
Laurel: Casey Cole 3, Shay Osborne 7, Christian Jones 17, Layne Willis 10, Dawson Cortese 6.
Butte Central senior Tanner Kump looks to pass between Belgrade defenders Trey Mounts, left, and Dawson Fowler Tuesday night at the Maroon Activities Center. (Bill Foley photo)
Trey Layman hit a long, contested 3-pointer with 3 seconds left Tuesday night to give Belgrade a 51-50 victory over Butte Central in a non-conference boys’ basketball thriller a the Maroon Activities Center.
BC’s Nate McGree took a long pass from Tanner Kump and got of a prayer from behind the backboard, and it just bounced out.
The game featured a playoff-like atmosphere from the start.
Brock Salsbury scored 17 points to lead Belgrade, which improved to 14-3 on the season. Dawson Fowler tossed in 13, while Layman scored 12.
Matt McGree scored 14 to lead the Maroons, who close the regular season at 10-8.
The Panthers racked up 29 second-quarter points to bury the Tigers early in a 66-43 decision at the Special Events Center.
Every Belgrade senior scored, led by Brock Salsbury’s 12 and Hayden Van Winkle’s eight, but point guard Dawson Fowler led all scorers with 23.
Fowler, who’s working his way back from an injury, had his best outing in weeks.
“Dawson played great, knocked off a little rust tonight and shot the ball better than he has,” Deming said.
The Panthers coasted in the second half after 40 in the first 16 minutes.
“We really played well in the second quarter,” Deming said. “We capitalized and a lot of players got involved. We shared the basketball beautifully and it was a great way to cap off senior night. … Offense can be contagious at times. When somebody hits a shot and feels good about it, you get a stop and go back and score again. We’ve done that really well at times.”
Butte Central senior Nate McGree and Corvallis’ Caeson Jessop battle for the ball Friday night at the Maroon Activities Center. (Bill Foley photo)
By Derek Hendrickson
The Butte Central Maroons didn’t play perfectly Friday night, but their dominant play built them 30-point lead after three quarters and they cruised to a 48-27 Southwestern Conference win over the Corvallis Blue Devils at the Maroon Activity Center.
The smothering defense nearly forced as many turnovers as the Blue Devils had shot attempts in the first half, as Corvallis was 3-11 from the field but coughed up ten turnovers as Central pulled out to a 27-8 lead at the break.
The final score was aided by a 10-0 Corvallis run to end the game as Maroon head coach Brodie Kelly was able to pull his regulars from the game with about half of the final quarter left to go, giving the starters a break and the subs some valuable varsity minutes.
“I love what were are doing right now,” Kelly said. “I just love the way we are playing defense right now. I think we held them to 14 points with about 3 or 4 minutes to go, they got a whole bunch late. I like the way our guys are playing defense, helping each other, I just can’t say enough about how great that was for that long.”
Central’s offense was as balanced as it’s been all year. No Maroon was able to crack double figures but that certainly wasn’t a bad thing as 6 different players had six or more points.
“Our guys are capable of that,” Kelly said in reference to the depth of his team’s scoring output. “I thought a couple guys who stood out tonight, Cade Holter was awesome, he came in with a lot of confidence tonight and was himself playing really hard, getting his hand on the ball and hit that deep shot. Matt Simkins’ effort was phenomenal and so was Jared. Getting to glass is huge for us. Everybody was playing their role tonight and playing it well.”
The rebounding was a noticeable stat as the Maroons bullied the Blue Devils on the boards, almost doubling them up with a 28-15 edge. Central pulled down 12 offensive rebounds and shot nearly 50 percent for the game, 18 of 40, meaning they got more of their misses than Corvallis did.
Nate McGree led the way scoring with nine, which felt like a little bit of a letdown as he appeared on his way to a monster night as he tallied all of his total in the first quarter.
The night points were big as Corvallis opened the scoring on a Ridge Albright triple but the Maroons ripped off the next 10 points and the game would never be a one possession affair the rest of the way.
Cade Holter was next one the scoring list with eight and had the shot of the night, which Coach Kelly referenced, when he drained a three pointer to end the first that came from about halfway between the free throw line and midcourt line on the opposite end of the court. That shot gave Central a 13-6 lead after one and propelled them to a 14-2 advantage in the second quarter as Corvallis was clearly out of sorts.
The Blue Devils managed just 1 of 6 shooting in the second to go with 5 turnovers and the Maroons hit 5 of 7 in what was a slow paced and methodically played frame.
Sam Johnston joined Holter with eight points, dished out six assists and had four steals in making life miserable for Tylor Nixon, Corvallis’ top player.
Tanner Kump and Matt Simkins each chipped in 7 points and also contributed in other ways on the stat sheet.
Kump added a pair of steals that led to easy breakaway buckets and Simkins had nine rebounds, seven of which were offensive boards that helped give the Maroons second chance opportunities all game long.
Luke Heaphy scored 2 and Jared Simkins had a point to round of the Central scoring. Archie Petritz, Aaron Richards, Tyge Yelenich, Zach Carlson and Hunter Hartwick all saw action in the fourth quarter as well.
“It was good balance, good sharing the ball, finding the open man and they were for good shots,” Kelly added. “If we can keep stringing together stops like that I think the confidence will take care of itself.”
The win was a big for Central in that it guaranteed them a winning record heading to the post season, as they improve to 10-7 overall, which includes wins in 7 of 8 and 8 of 10.
“It’s a relief, after we were 2-5 and 3-6, in the last 8 games we’ve won 7 and we played really well in the one game we lost, so 8 games in a row to be playing better and I really feel like we are continuing to improve throughout this stretch,” Kelly said about the win streak. “The more these young guys play the more confidence they’re getting and I just really like what we are doing right now.”
The Maroons also locked up the number 3 seed in the Southwestern A with a 4-4 mark and are on a collision course to meet Frenchtown in the first round of the Western Super Divisional to be played in Hamilton in two weeks.
Central knocked off the Broncs 61-51 in what was the Maroons second game of the season.
Before any of that becomes the main focus Central has another team they will see for the second time when Belgrade comes to town on Valentine’s Day.
The boys’ game will cap the doubleheader and will celebrate Senior Parent Night for this outstanding Central class.
The Panthers thumped the Maroons 57-41 in December but Central will bring a much improved team to the court for the rematch and will be on their home floor.
“We know they are a really good basketball team and our guys will be really excited to play Senior Night and Belgrade will be a really good opponent to be playing,” Kelly said in advance of the season finale Tuesday night. “That’s good for us this time of year to get ready for the tournament and Io think our guys will be excited.”
Corvallis drops to 4-11 on the season and 2-4 in Conference. They have a couple of tough games left as they will travel to both Hamilton and Dillon before the end of the regular season.
Nixon led the Blue Devils with 13 points, seven of which came in the fourth quarter with the game long since decided. Corvallis scored more points in the final frame, 15 than they did in the first three quarters combined, 12.
Skyview's Steven Fisher scores on a layup during the Skyview's game against Harin at Skyview High School on Friday. Fisher finished with 14 points and Skyview won 91-40 on Senior Night.
With under a minute left to play in the fourth quarter, Billings Skyview's Jerelle Big Hair found teammate Gavin Fox in the corner. Fox took one dribble, shot a 3-pointer, and drilled it.
Seconds later, Fox caught a tipped pass, spun 360 degrees, and jacked up another three.
Fox's final two 3-pointers, to an explosion of applause, were the icing on the cake for the Class AA second-ranked Falcons' 91-40 victory over the Class A fourth-ranked Hardin Bulldogs on Friday night on Skyview's Senior Night.
Photos: Skyview vs. Hardin boys varsity Friday
Images from Skyview vs. Hardin boys varsity game at Skyview High School on Friday, February 10.
Skyview's Steven Fisher shoots the ball during the Skyview vs. Hardin boys varsity game at Skyview High School on Friday, February 10.
Senior Zach Schmidt and junior Jeremiah Warner finished the game with 16 points apiece, senior Steven Fisher added 14 points and senior Jerelle Big Hair also added 10 for the Falcons (13-1, 7-1), who were without star senior point guard RayQuan Evans for most of the game. Evans, who finished with six points, was hurt diving for a loose ball a little over two minutes into the game. Senior Zharon Richmond scored five points but held Hardin star Darnell Lefthand to only eight points.
Fox, who doesn't see many minutes, finished with eight points, his first of the season.
"That was a great way to end (Senior Night). Those were my points of the season and it was nice," Fox said. "(My first 3-point attempt) got blocked pretty bad but Coach told me to shoot it. I hit that second one and I was feeling it so I went for that third one.
"My teammates get pretty hype when I score, which is fun. I (came in) expecting to hit a three but I didn't think it would lead to that at the end."
His favorite highlight?
"That second three," he laughed.
Schmidt and Fisher took charge once Evans left the game, and never looked back. Schmidt said a night like tonight was something he's dreamed about for awhile.
"We knew we had to step up Ray went down and once my shot started falling, I gained some confidence and kept it going," Schmidt said. "It felt great. That's what I've been dreaming about since I was little so to able to do it on Senior Night and put up a good game feels great.
"Walking out with my parents and family was a pretty good part. It's what you dream about."
Skyview coach Kevin Morales said he was proud how his seniors stepped up, and is going to miss the players once the season ends.
"It was great. It gives me goose bumps to see the seniors come out with their parents and come out and have the game they did," Morales said. "Ray went down and his brothers had his back. I thought our seniors did a great job of stepping up all the way down the bench."
With just over three minutes left in the second quarter, Hardin coach Andrew Round Face was ejected after receiving two consecutive technical fouls, though one was called on his assistant, when he was arguing some foul calls. The Bulldogs (12-4, 7-2) struggled to get back on track from there.
"I didn't cuss at him or say anything bad to him, I just told him if he'd let us play, I guarantee this would be a better game," Round Face explained about why he got his technicals. "We played hard and went after everything and gave it our all. There's nothing to be ashamed of to losing to this team. This is a great team. We did the best we could."
Billings Skyview 91, Hardin 40
Hardin: Codi 4, Famous Lefthand 8, Steffan Walks Over Ice 3, Holmon Real Bird 4, Konnolly Shane 5, Trae Hugs 1, David Evans 4, Andrew House 3, Darnell Lefthand 8.
Billings Skyview: RayQuan Evans 6, Jeremiah Warner 16, Steven Fisher 14, Jerelle Big Hair 10, Gavin Fox 8, Tyler Kinghorn 3, Zach Schmidt 16, Zharon Richmond 5, Logan DeHaven 3, Zach Schacht 7.
Butte High's Travis Williams goes up for a hoop between Dillon defenders Tanner Haverfield (32) and Kyson Wilson. (Bill Foley photo)
By Bruce Sayler
Butte High flirted with upset Thursday night, but, in the end, the Bulldogs’ bid was rejected.
The Class AA Butte High boys’ basketball team fell 49-41 to undefeated Class A power Dillon, which, this season, is seeking its second straight state Class A championship.
“You have to get rebounds and make your free throws against teams like Dillon,” Luke Powers, head coach of the Bulldogs, said after the non-conference game in the Butte Civic Center. “We didn’t. They made plays and we didn’t and that’s why they won.”
Neither team visited the foul line much in the hard-played, deliberately paced strategical contest. The Beavers were 5-for-9 from the charity stripe while Butte High was 7-for-12. Dillon prevailed on its vaunted 1-3-1 zone defense and its economic offense.
“They try to go to the weakside all the time in their offense and we know that and we worked on defending it,” Powers said. “They overload with three players on one side and two on the other, then dribble-drive on the weakside.”
Tanner Haverfield, a 6-foot-3 senior, was the key to both alignments for Dillon. On offense, he was the designated scorer on the weakside dribble penetration and responded with a game-high 21 points. He was 8-for-11 from the field and mixed two 3-point field goals in with his attacks on the rim.
Defensively, Haverfield played the top of the fierce 1-3-1.
“We’ve seen it against (Billings) Skyview and (Great Falls) CMR (C.M. Russell),” Powers said. “Dillon runs it better than anyone in the state. Their players understand it, totally. Their kids know it and are very comfortable with it.”
It is a ball-hawking defense that created eight steals, most of the 12 turnovers with which the Bulldogs were charged.
The last two minutes of the game, though, was where the Beavers locked it all down and secured the victory. Dillon had a 41-40 edge after Butte High’s Brock Powell sank two free throws with 2 minutes, 32 seconds on the clock.
Butte High missed a one-and-one foul shot opportunity not quite a minute later and Dillon pounced on the situation with a run of six unanswered points. Kyson Wilson drilled a 15-footer off a pass from Michael Haverfield, who, with 44 seconds to go, stuck a rebound through the hole. Montana State football recruit Troy Andersen stole a Bulldog pass and was fouled on the drive downcourt. He made both charity tosses. The Beavers led 47-40 with 29 ticks left in the game.
Butte High got a point on a freebie Kash Kelly made before Dillon closed out the scoring with a basket by Travis Haverfield. Andersen hit him with the pass.
“Both teams played well,” Powers said. “They did some things on defense that were different and we adjusted at halftime. But, Dillon’s a good basketball team.
“When we’re giving up only 49 points I’m not going to complain about the defense.”
The rebounding was mostly an issue because there were not a lot of caroms to go around. The Beavers pulled down 21 and the Bulldogs snagged 17, both unusually low numbers for a game. However, Dillon shot so well — 56 percent from the field — it left few misses to board. Butte High had a difficult time putting up shots against the Dillon not-so-easy D. The Bulldogs were held to 14 shots from the lfoor in the first half, only five in the second quarter.
“That’s dissecting the 1-3-1,” Powers said. “And, we haven’t shot as well the last couple of games here as we had been. We were streaky tonight. We got some great shots in the first half that wouldn’t fall.”
The Beavers posted leads of 12-9 after one quarter and 20-16 at halftime. Michael Haverfield widened the first-quarter gap to three points with his jumper just before the buzzer. Travis Williams gathered in a rebound for Butte High and poured it through for a bucket to close the half.
Powers and his staff installed the needed adjustments at halftime and Butte High found itself with a 25-24 lead after a 3-pointer by Powell at the 4:24-mark ot the third period.
The Bulldogs netted six 3-pointers on the night.
The teams played evenly, but Butte High didn’t lead again after a 30-29 edge notched by two Ryson Lovshin foul shot conversions with 1:56 left in the third. Tanner Haverfield scored 11 of Dillon’s 13 points in the frame, including the last four for a 33-30 advantage going into the last quarter.
Powell’s second 3-pointer tied the score at 38-all with 3:43 left in the game. Andersen netted a free throw, and Michael Haverfield drove for a basket and the Beavers had the lead for good, 41-38, and pulled away with the late-game surge.
Dillon went to 15-0 with the win. Andersen scored nine points in support of Tanner Haverfield’s 21. Michael Haverfield, the sophomore younger brother, finished with eight point, Wilson had seven, and Andrew Lemieux and Clay Allison had two apiece. Jamey Richardson, R.J. Fitzgerald and Coby King also played.
Butte High is now 7-9 overall. Lovshin led the team in scoring with 11 points and Powell finished with nine. Kash Kelly scored nine points, Evan Anderson seven and Williams four. Austin Lee, Zach Archibald and Tommy Mellott also played. The Bulldogs will play Billings Senior on Feb. 17 in their next game. It will be a return to Eastern AA Conference action.
“We have four tough Eastern AA games left (in the regular season),” Powers said. “We have to find a way to win three of them.”
The Bulldogs will be trying to avoid a two-game playoff to reach the state AA tourney that will be held next month.
BUTTE HIGH (7-9) — Kash Kelly 3-6 2-4 9, Evan Anderson 3-7 0-0 7, Ryson Lovshin 3-9 3-3 11, Travis Williams 2-4 0-0 4, Brock Powell 3-5 2-5 10. Totals 14-31 7-12 41.
Dillon1281316 — 49
Butte High971411 — 41
3-point goals — Dillon 2-5 (Andersen 0-1, T. Haverfield 2-4), Butte High 6-16 (Kelly 1-3, Anderson 1-4, Lovshin 2-6, Williams 0-1, Powell 2-2). Fouled out — none. Total fouls — Dillon 15, Butte High 11. Technicals — none. Rebounds — Dillon 21 (Andersen 5), Butte High 17 (Powell 7). Blocks — Dillon 3 (Andersen 3), Butte High 2 (Anderson 1, Powell 1). Assists — Dillon 8 (Wilson 3), Butte High 12 (Williams 4). Steals — Dillon 8 (Andersen 3), Butte High 2 (Powell 1, Kelly 1). Turnovers — Dillon 8, Butte High 12.
BELGRADE OUTPACES JEFFERSON:
There have been offensive lulls this season, but the one Belgrade endured Thursday night was troubling for coach Mike Deming.
With two games next week against highly-ranked Class A opponents, and the Eastern A Divisional looming, the Panthers cannot afford a more than seven-minute scoring drought.
That was the case in the third quarter of a non-conference game against Jefferson as Belgrade nearly squandered a 15-point halftime lead. Dawson Fowler finally snapped the drought with a traditional three-point play late in the third, and the Panthers bounced back in the fourth to pull away for a 44-28 victory.
“We’ve had some problems in the third quarter. We’ve had some nice leads in some games and tonight was no different,” Deming said. “But tonight, for whatever reason and I’m not sure why, we let our guard down a little bit in the second half — we’re going to have to figure that out soon. We’re running out of time to correct the problem. We hope it doesn’t bite in a big game.”
Belgrade (12-3) led 14-2 after the first quarter, which began and was capped by 3-pointers from Fowler and Brock Salsbury, respectively, and 25-10 at the half. But senior post Trey Layman picked up three fouls within a 90-second span out of the break, and then the lead dwindled to eight as the Panthers struggled to generate offense.
“He’s a main part of our offense because he can shoot it, he can drive it, and he’s a tremendous passer. So you take out one of our better players — it’s the first time we’ve had to do that all year, actually,” Deming said. “That may have been some of our problems offensively just not having Trey in there. Guys look to him as our leader, and without him in there it made a big difference in the third.”
Layman sat the final 6 minutes, 7 seconds of the third, but returned to help Belgrade stretch the lead back to double figures. A coast-to-coast layup by Trey Mounts sparked a 9-0 run to begin the final frame, and Layman added three points during the spurt.
Hayden Van Winkle buried a 3-pointer to stretch the lead to 18, and by the time Deming cleared his bench with a little more than 90 seconds remaining, the lead had swelled to 20.
Layman finished with 11, while Salsbury and Fowler had 12 and eight, respectively.
Butte Central senior Nate McGree drives between Livingston defenders Jakim Ricketts (23) and Brock Peterson Saturday afternoon at the Maroon Activities Center. (Bill Foley photo)
By Derek Hendrickson
The Butte Central boys’ basketball team got back in the win column, using a strong defensive effort to defeat the Livingston Rangers 54-42 in a nonconference game at the Maroon Activity Center Saturday afternoon.
“It was a good for us,” Maroon head coach Brodie Kelly said. “The things that we have been relying on lately, defense and rebounding and effort, our guys were able to do that again today and I think that’s what won the game.”
The difference was a 22-7 second quarter as the Maroons connected on 8 of 13 shots from the field including 3 of 5 from downtown.
The rest of the game was a struggle for both teams but the 15 point halftime lead was too much for the Rangers to overcome.
Central had two separate 10 point runs in the first half, the first helped them get out of a quick 7-3 hole in the first quarter, which ended with both teams showing 15 points on the scoreboard.
The second spree opened the second quarter and was one that Livingston never recovered from. The Maroons were sparked by their three senior starters, who had 18 of the 22 points in the frame.
Nate McGree scored seven of his game-high 20 in the second, to go with the nine he tossed in during the first quarter. Tanner Kump swished two threes for 6 and Sam “Stu” Johnston added 5 to help Central build their cushion.
Central’s inside out game was working to perfection early as McGree was unstoppable down low and the Maroons were 5 of 10 from deep in the first half, but they cooled down during the break.
“Nate today was awesome,” Kelly said about his senior captain. “I just thought he was outstanding on both ends of the floor. He just made a lot of plays that built some momentum for us.”
In the second half the Maroons only hit on 1 of 9 from three despite several good looks and Livingston did a better job to slow down the inside game, but the 17 points Central scored were plenty as the Rangers could only muster 20.
A four plus minute dry spell to open the third quarter ended when Kump hit a triple for Central’s first points of the second half but Park was unable to take advantage of the lull, only putting up 2 points themselves during the Maroon dry spell.
“That third quarter we just weren’t in good rhythm,” Kelly said, “we shot the ball poorly, I think we were one for ten from the three point line. We were never able to extend the lead but we were able to maintain the lead because we were able to keep getting stops.”
Despite the inconsistent offense Central was able to rely on their hard-nosed man-to-man defense, led by Johnston shutting down Jakim Ricketts, Livingston’s best player, who was held to 8 points, 5 of which came in the first quarter.
Kelly was asked about his senior guard’s defense and had a lot to say about Johnston.
“Stu, it’s just such a tough mental challenge for him that every single night he’s guarding the other team’s best player. He’s always guarding guys that can play. To his credit, he’s guarding lots of different types of players and Ricketts, that kid can flat out score, and the thing I really like about Stu the last few games, he’s making guys earn it. He’s not lunging at them, he’s not gambling, he’s just making guys take tough shots.”
The Maroons also forced 18 turnovers and swatted away three shots. Central only coughed the ball up six times themselves and scored eight more points from the charity stripe in collecting the win.
Despite it not being the prettiest of wins it was still a win. Earlier in the season the Maroons found themselves on the wrong end of several of these types of games when they didn’t play their best.
“I like the way we are playing but we still have to continue to improve,” Kelly said when asked about the differences between the recent wins compared to early season losses. “The thing about a night like tonight is that it’s nice to be able to learn lessons and win, because we were making some mistakes in the fourth quarter too that it’s good to be able to learn in a game like this.”
Central improved to 8-7 on the season and maintain their 3-3 mark in the Southwestern Conference. The also completed a season sweep over the Rangers, returning the favor from last year.
Kump ended the game with 15 all on threes and Johnston added 7 as the senior trio matched Livingston’s 42 points.
Matt Simkins and Dan McCloskey added 4 and both Luke Heaphy and Cade Holter had 2 to round out the Central scoring effort.
Livingston fell to 4-10 on the season as they move towards the Eastern A Superdivisional in the 3 weeks.
Rydell Floyd paced the Rangers with 15. Ricketts scored 8 and was joined at that total by 6-foot-5 post Austin Parker. Livingston’s roster features only one senior.
The Maroons will play again at the MAC on Tuesday when they welcome the AA Helena High Bengals, coached by Central graduate John Hollow.
“They’re always a really tough challenge for us,” Kelly said. “I think Johnny does a great job coaching them. I haven’t had a chance to watch much on them yet but anytime you’ve got them coming to town it’s going to be a challenge.”
Mike Deming’s Panthers already clinched the Central A crown with last week’s win over Fergus, but asserted their dominance one last time with a blowout victory against Park on Friday.
Belgrade (11-3 overall, 7-1 Central A) raced out to a 34-10 halftime lead and coasted to a 62-45 triumph. Brock Salsbury led the way with 16 points, Trey Mounts added 12 and Spencer Gordon 10.
“Our defense played great with intensity,” Deming said. “They were very good on ball movement and execution offensively. They played sound, fundamental basketball, and we capitalized on some breakdowns and made open shots.”
The head coach added that five players hit 3s and role players once again lifted the team without standout Dawson Fowler. The guard is still nursing an ankle injury, but could have played if needed.
This is the fifth straight year Belgrade has finished atop the conference standings.
“This was a great effort for the seniors to elevate their skills in the offseason and continue this trend,” Deming said. “These guys stepped up. Now we got a couple of weeks, and a couple games next week to work on some things.”
Belgrade will host Jefferson and Manhattan next week, and then travels to Butte Central and Beaverhead County the following week before divisionals begin Feb. 22 in Billings.
Central's Chrishon Dixon looks to pass the ball during the Central vs. Hardin boys varsity game at the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark on Thursday, February 2.
Offense wasn't all Dixon was doing for the Rams. He found an open Hanser early in the quarter for a breakaway dunk, and with about 19 seconds left and the Rams leading 53-49, Dixon stole a Hardin inbound pass and was fouled again, sending him to the line to ice the game.
"I just saw a lazy pass and thought, 'Oh, I'm going to go get this,'" Dixon said. "I got the steal, got fouled and hit the two free throws.
"(On the dunk) I just saw Peyton open so I just tried to get it to him and I knew he was going to try and dunk it and he got it," he added laughing.
He was a perfect 7 for 7 from the free throw line in the quarter. Hardin defeated Central 79-67 on Dec. 13. Dixon said he was happy to help his teammates come out on top the second time around.
"It means everything," Dixon said. "We just came out focused this week in practice."
David Evans led Hardin (11-3, 5-2) with 19 points and Darnell Lefthand added 12.
"I thought Peyton Hanser did a really good job of defending (Darnell) and I thought equally as good was what Shay Dantic did on his brother Famous (Lefthand)," Stergar said. "(Chrishon's steal) was a huge play. That steal sealed the deal for us."
It was Senior Night for the Bulldogs, and prior to the game, Hardin coach Andre Round Face presented Stergar with a blanket in a moment that meant a lot to both coaches.
"That's one of the nicest things an opposing team has ever done for me," Stergar, who coached eight seasons at Ronan, said. "I'm honored to be that guy for that."
The two coaches embraced at half court in a moment that Round Face said "was long overdue."
"It's like a thank you in our culture, and I have a lot of respect for him and a lot of coaches in Eastern A," Round Face said. "Just being appreciative of that competitiveness that we have when we do finally meet each other. Just saying thank you for everything. He may not even know what he did but I've studied him and (Pat) Hansen ever since I've been at Hardin and they never cease to amaze me on what they can do what they can do year in and out."
DILLON — Once again Butte Central’s boys’ basketball team gave the defending Class A state champion Dillon Beavers a run for their money.
Once again, the Beavers escaped with a victory.
Tanner Haverfield hit five 3-poitners and scored 21 points to lead the Beavers to a 53-46 win over the Maroons Tuesday night at the B.W. Lodge Gym. The win lifted the Beavers to 12-0 overall and 5-0 in conference
Troy Anderson added 18 points for Dillon, which led 36-34 heading into the fourth quarter. BC led 12-11 after the first quarter, and the game was tied at 25 at halftime.
Nate McGree’s 17 points paced the Maroons, who saw their four-game winning streak come to a halt. Sam Johnson scored 10 points, while Tanner Kump scored eight. BC also got five from Matt Simkins, two from Cade Holter and one from Jared Simkins.
The Maroons (7-7, 3-4) will play at home Saturday in a nonconference game against Livingston.
BUTTE CENTRAL (7-7, 3-4) — Sam Johnson 2 4-7 10, Matt Simkins 2 1-2 5, Tanner Kump 3 0-0 8, Nate McGree 7 1-2 17, Dan McCloskey 1 0-0 3, Cade Holter 1 0-0 2, Jared Simkins 0 1-4 1. DILLON (12-0, 5-0) — Andrew Lemieux 1 0-0 3, Michael Haverfield 3 0-0 7, Jamey Richardson 1 1-4 3, Troy Anderson 6 5-5 18, Tanner Haverfield 6 4-6 21, R.J. Fitzgerald 0 1-2 1 Butte Central 12 13 9 12 — 46 Dillon 11 14 11 17 — 53 3-point goals — BC 4 (McGree 2, Johnston, McCloskey), Dillon 7 (T. Haverfield 5, M. Haverfield, Anderson).
BROWNING 55 FERGUS 36
Browning 13 11 8 23 - 55
Lewistown 12 7 10 7 - 36
Browning: Derek Loring 7, J. Calf Boss Ribs 2, Chase Smith 4, H. Tail Feathers 7, Donovan Blackman 2, Landon Magee 6, Turee Whitcomb 20, Brandon Aimsback 7. Totals: 16 11-22.
Lewistown: Tanner Trafton 8, Noah Agostinelli 3, Jake Clinton 2, Eric Knox 4, Andrew Lalum 1, Jaden Graham 5, Cole Ayers 13. Totals: 12 9-18.
3-pointers: Knox, Tail Feathers, Whitcomb 3.
Saturday, January 28 RESULTS/STATS
STEVENSVILLE 62 COLUMBIA FALLS 30
FRENCHTOWN 84 WHITEFISH 42*
BUTTE CENTRAL 48 HAMILTON 38*
CORVALLIS 52 FLORENCE 42
DILLON 56 PARK 27
BROWNING 78 FAIRFIELD 60
MALTA 57 HAVRE 42
FERGUS 52 MILES CITY 49
SENIOR 59 BILLINGS CENTRAL 49
HARDIN 68 SIDNEY 48*
SKYVIEW 52 LAUREL 38
Frenchtown 84, Whitefish 42
Whitefish10 11 11 10 – 42
Frenchtown26 25 19 14 – 84
Whitefish – Derek Kastella 8, Zander Wold 4, Murphy Wick 2, Vagard Ellingsen 2, Sawyer Silliker 9, Ryan Kemm 6, Lee Walburn 9, Dillon Botner 2.
Frenchtown – Ethan Pyron 8, Jacob Price 20, Brock Rugg 10, Ty Hoppie 3, Cade Baker 3, Adam Botkin 14, Hank Rugg 1, Tradd Richardson 5, Austin Means 17, Zack Baker 3.
Stevensville 62, Columbia Falls 30
Stevensville15 13 17 17 – 62
C. Falls10 0 10 10 – 30
Stevensville – Jarod Kingsbury 25, James Fry 16, Dalton Bragg 8, Chayse Richards 3, Alex Gavlak 3, Luis Estrada 7.
Columbia Falls – Austin Green 6, Logan Stephens 11, LJ Panasuk 2, Logan Bechtel 2, Dakota Bridwell 7, Matthew Morrison 2.
Corvallis 52, Florence 42
At Corvallis, the Class A Blue Devils' big fourth quarter made all the difference against the Class B Falcons.
The two teams were tied 31-31 headed into the final frame before Corvallis (3-9 overall) exploded for 21 points. Tylor Nixon led the charge in the game with 23 points for the Devils.
Florence's Brent Stroppel finished with 11 points and Tyce Pedersen added 11 more in the loss (7-7).
Park – John Waddell 4, Brock Peterson 1, Morgan Rooberg 2, Dawson Perkett 1, Redell Floyd 3, J. Rikketts 14, Austin Parker 2. Totals: 7 10-15.
Dillon – Andres Lemieux 1, Michael Haverfield 12, Jamie Richardson 2, Coby King 3, Kyson Wilson 6, Anders Westman 1, Jansen Anderson 3, Troy Anderson 10, Tanner Haverfield 13, RJ Fitzgerald 2, Clay Allison 2. Totals: 20 8-16.
Three point goals – Rikketts 3, M. Haverfield 2, King 1, J. Anderson 1, T. Anderson 1, T. Haverfield 3.
BROWNING 78 FAIRFIELD 60
Fairfield12 12 17 19 – 60
Browning21 16 27 14 – 78
Fairfield – Luke Batson 9, Chandler Allen 17, Ryder Meyer 5, Kolbe Pitcher 3, Dawson Allen 4, Cantor Coverdell 9, Ethan Schenk 8, Keeley Bake 5. Totals 22 9-12 60.
Senior boys basketball coach Drew Haws shouts instructions from the sideline on Saturday at Billings Senior High School.
After the Broncs’ Slade Cobb tied it with a 3-point play, the hustling Kieckbusch scored six consecutive points, including a drive through the Central (7-5) defense. He scored eight of his 15 points in the fourth quarter.
“No, not really,” he replied of knowing his team’s 17-0 run. “I was concentrating on getting the win … doing whatever it takes to help the team.”
The Rams did not score a point until Jae Hugs’ single free throw with less than three minutes remaining. Isaac Meyer hit a 3-pointer in the waning seconds for Central.
Kieckbusch was one of four Senior players to finish in double figures. Braxton Haws scored a game-high 18 points for the Broncs, including four 3-pointers. Cobb and Brooks Zimmer each had 11.
“On offense, we were really patient. We got good looks at shots,” Kieckbusch said. “When we move the ball well, we’re pretty hard to beat.”
Kieckbusch added that rebounding was pivotal in the second half.
“We came out with more intensity in the second half,” he said. “We gave them a lot of second-chance points in the first half. We started limiting them to a single shot attempt, which was huge for us.”
His coach agreed.
“We were pretty upset at halftime,” said Drew Haws of his team’s rebounding. “We got after them a little bit.”
The Broncs also got quality minutes from Ben LaBeau, according to Haws. “Ben came in and did an outstanding job,’” the Senior coach continued. “I can’t say enough about his play on defense. And Connor, he’s so good. He just disrupts offenses.
“This is a resilient bunch of guys.”
Dantic led the Rams with 10 points, while Chrishon Dixon had nine.
“It was our defense,” said Central coach Jim Stergar. “We had trouble focusing on defense and keeping the ball in front of us. We gave them too many opportunities for easy buckets and when you do that, you rush back to try and make something happen. And it all snowballed from there. It is my responsibility to have them prepared and getting guys in the right position."
Billings Senior 59, Billings Central 49
Billings Central (7-5): Chrishon Dixon 9, Peyton Hanser 7, Johnny Elliott 7, Jet Campbell 6, Shay Dantic 10, Noah Gaudreau 2, Andrew Nelson 2, Joe Byorth 2, Jae Hugs 1, Isaac Meyer 3.
Skyview's Shane Samuelson (5) shoots for 2 through Laurel's Isaiah Renner (2) on Saturday at Billings Skyview High School.
Skyview coach Kevin Morales said that was a turning point for the team's spirits.
"That kind of set the tone and gave us a good feel," he said. "We got back to smiling and laughing and joking around again. That was important for us to get our heads back straight and understand that losses happen, and if anything, Bozeman's a dang good team for us to drop one too.
"I felt like the kids did a good job of responding today."
That response led the Falcons (9-1, 4-1) to bouncing back from Friday's loss with a 52-38 grind-it-out victory over the surging Class A Laurel Locomotives (8-3, 5-1) in Skyview's gym.
RayQuan Evans led all scorers with 23 points in a game where fouls were aplenty. The teams combined for 51 free throws, 35 by Skyview.
It wasn't a pretty win, but it was a win nonetheless.
"It was much needed," Evans said. "We were all kind of bummed out last night and we knew what Laurel would bring. This is a big one being on our home court so we really wanted to get this one."
Senior Jerelle Big Hair, who has seen some big minutes off of the bench for the Falcons lately, knocked down a 3-pointer right before the first quarter ended, giving Skyview a 13-12 lead. The Falcons never trailed again.
Evans took over in the second quarter, scoring 11 of his points in the period to give Skyview a 28-20 halftime lead. Zharon Richmond also added 10 points for the Falcons.
The Falcons sealed the win with a poster dunk from Evans with about a minute left in the game.
For Skyview, it was nice to get back in the win column.
"Losing a tough game like that, especially in double-overtime, it's tough, but it's always onto the next, even if it's a win," Evans said.
Christian Jones had nine points to lead Laurel. The Locomotives, who took down Hardin 66-60 on Thursday, saw their seven-game winning streak snapped.
Laurel starter Layne Willis missed the game due to sickness.
"The bottom line is we told our kids is we're disappointed with the fire in our belly and our effort tonight," Laurel coach Pat Hansen said. "I don't think individually our kids came out trying to play their best basketball and we don't do that against a good team like Skyview. This is the result that happens."
Billings Skyview 52, Laurel 38
Laurel: Isaiah Renner 2, Casey Cole 5, Shay Osborne 7, Christian Jones 9, Brett Wagner 3, Logan Kennedy 1, Dawson Cortese 7, Chanc Lawrence 4.
Shelby - TJ Reynolds 20, Logan Watson 12, Zach Torgerson 3, Aaron White 25, Andrew Johnson 13. Totals 21 24-32 73.
3-point goals - Watson 2, Torgerson, White 3, Johnson, Whitcomb 4. Total fouls - Shelby 18, Browning 26. Fouled out - Calf Boss Ribs.
Friday, January 27 RESULTS/STATS
POLSON 74 FRENCHTOWN 35*
ANACONDA 83 CORVALLIS 74
SHELBY 73 BROWNING 63
BELGRADE 56 FERGUS 47*
TOWNSEND 62 PARK 50
WEST 63 BILLINGS CENTRAL 60
MILES CITY 71 GLENDIVE 51*
POLSON 74 FRENCHTOWN 35*
At Polson, the Pirates got swift revenge for a double-overtime loss to Frenchtown from two weeks ago
After a one-point loss at Frenchtown on Jan. 13, Polson (3-1 in league, 8-5 overall) poured it on this time in a lopsided Northwest A win. Matthew Rensvold was a force with 25 points and Jeremiah North Piegan added 16 more.
Frenchtown (3-1, 6-6) got a team-high 10 from Cade Baker, the freshman who hit the game-winning 3-pointer in their last matchup.
Frenchtown10 10 7 8 — 35
Polson28 17 15 14 — 74
FRENCHTOWN — Ethan Pyron 4, Brock Rugg 2, Cade Baker 10, Adam Botkin 3, Hank Rugg 4, Austin Means 9, Jared Cole 3.
POLSON — Jayden Bautista 11, Tanner Wilson 12, Jeremiah North Piegan 16, Connor Lanier 10, Matthew Rensvold 25.
Anaconda 83, Corvallis 74
At Anaconda, Braxton Hill scored 36 points to lead Anaconda to the nonconference win over Corvallis.
Trent Mikalatos added 21 points for the Copperheads, who led 44-33 at halftime and held on for the win.
Tylor Nixon led Corvallis with 23 points and Ridge Albright added 20.
Billings West's Bryson Deming passes the ball over the head of Billings Central's Jet Campbell on Friday at Central.
Jake Bell noticed. Some of his best buddies were trying to take him out of his game.
Like most students in the Billings Public Schools system, Bell, a senior on the Billings West boys basketball team, has plenty of friends in the Billings Catholic School system. And there, in the Central student section of Friday night’s game between the Golden Bears and the Rams, Bell saw those friends had brought posters of his likeness.
“They had my face Photoshopped onto some stuff, and they were yelling at me the whole game,” Bell said good-naturedly. “I tried to ignore them. I didn’t look at them.”
In the end, Bell and his Golden Bears teammates got the last laugh with a 63-60 win over the Rams at a raucous Ralph Nelles Activities Center. Bryson Deming scored 22 points and Braydon Deming added 14 to help the Eastern AA Bears win for the sixth time in their last seven games.
Photos: Central vs. West boys basketball
Images from the Billings Central vs. Billings West boys basketball game Friday at Billings Central High School.
Central's Chrishon Dixon (3) drives for the basket through West's Carson Prokop (24) on Friday at Billings Central High School.
The game was back-and-forth the whole way. The lead exchanged hands eight times in the first half, and three more times in the third quarter. Bell’s basket with 5:10 left in the game broke the final tie, giving West (7-3) a 44-42 lead. Two minutes later, Bell added a 3-pointer for a 51-47 cushion.
Several times Central (7-4) crept within a point, but could not regain the lead.
“We played a great game last night (a 64-40 win over Billings Senior) and when we came here we knew Central would be ready to go,” West coach Kelly Darragh said. “They play scrappy and this is a great gym to play in. That was a good experience for us.”
Shay Dantic scored 18 points — 16 in the fourth quarter — for the Eastern A Rams, and Jet Campbell added 16.
Twice in the final six seconds the Rams were at the free-throw line attempting to purposely miss in order to get the rebound, but both attempts failed.
Still, coach Jim Stergar was happy with his team's play, saying the Rams “won every aspect of that game except the scoreboard, from tip to buzzer.
“I was really proud of my guys for hanging in there and giving ourselves a chance to win the game, even all the way up until the very end.”
Central, 1-2 against AA teams, plays at Senior on Saturday. The Rams beat Senior 69-68 at home earlier this season.
The Bears are off until a road trip to Butte and Bozeman next Friday and Saturday.
WEST 63 BILLINGS CENTRAL 60
• Bryson Deming scored 22 points and Braydon Deming added 14 to help Billings West of the Eastern AA top Billings Central of the Eastern A 63-60 in a boys game. The teams were never separated by more than six points. Shay Dantic scored 16 points in the fourth quarter and finished with a team-high 18 for Central. Jet Campbell added 16 for the Rams (7-4). West (7-3) and has won six of its last seven.
Laurel's head coach Patrick Hansen Jr. speaks to his team during the Laurel vs. Hardin boys varsity on Thursday, January 26.
Five Laurel players scored in double-digits. Christian Jones led the Locomotives with 14 points while Layne Willis added 11 and Shay Osborne had 10. Isaiah Renner also added 10 points, and like Cole, came off of the bench.
“Casey came onto the floor and he’s just a spark,” Laurel coach Pat Hansen said. “We are so proud of Isaiah. He hasn’t been playing his best basketball the last week and a half and kind of got down a little bit. He flushed it, came into this game new, and what he did off the bench was a big reason for us winning that game tonight.”
Laurel, who is No. 5 in this week’s 406mtsports.com rankings, avenged its 63-60 loss from earlier in the year to the No. 2 Bulldogs (10-2, 6-1).
Hardin star Darnell Lefthand led all scorers with 27 points while junior big man added 20 for the Bulldogs.
“Darnell caused us fits,” Hansen said. “In the long run it’s going to make us better. He’s got an incredible motor. He’s got great sense and his hands are so good and he’s very crafty with the ball.
“He’s just an outstanding kid and he’s a tough one to match up against.”
Laurel trailed 4-0 two minutes into the first quarter, forcing Hansen to call an early timeout. From there, they went on a 9-0 run and never looked back in front of a near-capacity crowd.
“It felt good (playing in front of an atmosphere like that),” Cole said. “We all just have a role, and we’re playing good ball right now and we just need to keep doing the same thing, and it should be good.”
Hardin got within four points in the third quarter and was gaining some momentum. Cole had a huge block on one end, ran the floor and was found open by Jones for an easy layup, essentially giving Laurel the momentum back before the quarter ended.
Cole, to say the least, was pumped.
“I just had some momentum and I just kind of built off of it,” Cole said. “We just wanted to get deep in the paint and it worked out.”
The Locomotives have a tough one on Saturday, as they play at Class AA No. 1 Billings Skyview.
Hardin kept inching close, trailing by only three with 39 seconds left, but couldn’t get over the hump. Fourteen of Lefthand’s points came in the fourth quarter.
Hardin coach Andrew Round Face said his team has been dealing with the flu the past week, and has been trying to get healthy again. The Bulldogs travel to Sidney on Saturday, a team they beat 102-59 in their first matchup.
“This is pretty much the first time we’ve touched the ball since last Saturday,” Round Face said. “You could tell we were a little sluggish and put ourselves in a hole. I’m proud that we fought back. (Darnell and David) kept us in it. Laurel’s a good team.”
Laurel 66, Hardin 60
Hardin: Famous Lefthand 8, Staffan Walks Over Ice 2, David Evans 20, Andrew House 3, Darnell Lefthand 27.
Laurel: Isaiah Renner 10, Casey Cole 11, Shay Osborne 10, Christian Jones 14, Layne Willis 11, Dawson Cortese 8, Chanc Lawrence 2.
POLSON PIRATES BBALL LOOK TO FINISH STRONG
PIRATES B-BALLERS FINE-TUNING SKILLS DOWN THE STRETCH
Polson Pirate Tanner Wilson drives to the hoop Saturday against Whitefish during the third quarter of its 63-54 win over the Bulldogs. (Heidi Desch/Whitefish Pilot)
Polson Pirates basketball coach Randy Kelley knows the days of fine-tuning his basketball team for the postseason is coming to an end.
Kelley said he knows his Pirates have to start peaking soon as they prepare to play their final game of January against Frenchtown.
The Pirates got a much-needed conference win with a 63-54 victory over Whitefish Saturday night at Whitefish. Poison (6-5 overall, 2-1 in conference) looked “efficient,” according to Wilson.
“I would say we were efficient at times,” Wilson said. “We had a really good first half and a solid third period. We just need to play four periods of basketball. We are getting closer and closer.”
Kelley said he saw “significant improvements” in his team’s ability to shoot.
“I think we shot about 50-percent from the floor, shot the 3-ball well and two-point field goal really well,” Kelley said. “Our team didn’t miss a free throw. We only had three turnovers and were able to move the ball. Stat wise, we just did a lot of good things.”
With the team on the cusp of its big rematch with Frenchtown Friday at Linderman Elementary School, Kelley knows there is some work to do. In the Pirate’s first meeting with Frenchtown, the Pirates lost 76-75 in double overtime.
“Basically, if we want to have a shot at the No. 1 seed in the conference, we are going to have to worry about what we can take care of with ourselves in a big game on Friday,” Kelley said. “Going back on film (against Whitefish) and looking at half court man-to-man defense, we didn’t look really sharp. They had trouble with the pressure we put on them in the game. Offensively, we had a time getting in our sets in their man-to-man defense.”
Kelley said he felt the Pirates will have to focus on containing Austin Means and Jacob Price.
“Those two are very athletic seniors and (Frenchtown) has a lot of younger kids that have really stepped up,” Kelley said.
Kelley hopes to win the Frenchtown game as his Pirates continue to position themselves for seeding as they prepare for Divisionals in Hamilton on Feb. 22-25.
The Pirates will have two conference games left in Feb. against Columbia Falls and Whitefish.
“The conference seeding will be determined next Friday for us in the Northwest,” Kelley said. “When you go down to the southwest, hopefully you end up playing the bottom seed opposite bracket of what it looks like for Dillon in the championship game instead of Friday. I know we can play against Hamilton but we would have to do some work to go against Dillon. I am glad we have a solid month to still get better.”
Kelley said he is going to use this next month to “fine tune” everything.
“I think we are shooting the ball pretty well right now,” Kelley said. “Our defense, our full court, trapping, and also our man to man had some breakdowns in communication and some stuff that we still have to clean up. I hope we play with some of the best teams in Class A. I am happy with where our offense has gone. It is a big week for us and we won’t get a lot of practice time to prepare for Frenchtown.”
Tuesday, January 24 RESULTS/STATS
POLSON 57 STEVENSVILLE 52
CMR 46 HAVRE 26
FERGUS 47 HUNTLEY PROJ 44
Polson 57, Stevensville 52
At Stevensville, the host Yellowjackets placed a quartet of players in double digits, but couldn’t quite hold off a late surge by the visiting Pirates. Stevensville turned in a strong second period to pull even with Polson at the break, then took over the lead as the third quarter drew to a close, forcing their visitors to mount a rally to overcome the deficit for the win. The third quarter held special scoring significance for gridiron Griz bound senior post Matthew Rensvold, who entered the contest needing to match his 15 points per game average to reach the varsity career millennial (1000) mark, which he attained on his third deuce toward the close of the frame. NWA Polson improves to 7-5, while SWA Stevensville slides to 3-8. Stevi 7 21 16 8 – 52 Polson 15 13 13 16 – 57 STEVI – James Fry 11, Chayse Richards 10, Alex Gavlak 10, Luis Estrada 10, Jarod Kingsbury 6, Dalton Bragg 3, Nate Kieres 2. POLSON – Matt Rensvold 28, Tanner Wilson 9, Jaydon Bautista 6, Jeremiah North Piegan 6, Connor Lanier 6, Micah Askan 2. 3FGs – P2-13 (Wilson, Lanier), S6 (Fry 2, Gavlak 2, Estrada 2). 32REB (Rensvold 11, NorthPiegan 10, Bautista 7, Lanier 4). 13ASST (Bautista 3, Lanier 3, Rensvold 3, Wilson 2, NorthPiegan, Sam Schultz). 6STL (Wilson 3, Bautista, NorthPiegan, Rensvold). 1BLK (Rensvold). (Tu24Jan17) Stat specs courtesy of Polson coach Randy Kelley and Stevensville coach Tony
Anderson, cursory commentary supplied by John Heglie
CMR boys handle Havre
Steve Schreck , email@example.com 8:30 p.m. MT Jan. 24, 2017
(Photo: TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO/JULIA MOSS)
The C.M. Russell High boys’ basketball team defeated Class A Havre 46-26 on Tuesday night in front of a few hundred spectators at CMR Fieldhouse.
Russell, now 5-6 on the season, used its bigger lineup to punish the Blue Ponies inside and corral offensive rebounds. Only one of Havre’s starters eclipses 6-foot.
Sam Vining, normally counted on for his shooting ability on the perimeter, moved down low in the paint against his smaller defender during the first half and scored over the top of them, notching seven first half markers, all on either layups or free throws.
Reece Green, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder, did not play and was not in attendance. Alex Fraser, a 6-foot-4 senior who provided the team with valuable minutes in its 50-45 victory over Billings West over the weekend, earned the start in his place.
The Blue Ponies of head coach Curt Leeds, in a rebuilding year after losing star Dane Warp and other contributors to graduation, converted just two field goals in the first half – a 3-pointer by Tanner Parsons and a bucket in close from Nate Korb.
A number of players who don’t normally see action had a chance to see the floor in the opening 16 minutes, including Russell Gagne, Kyle Bryne and Jake Wilkins, and in the second half. For the final bucket of the first half, Wilkins fed Garrison Rothwell in the post, and Rothwell finished it for a 23-7 halftime lead.
The regular rotation for Russell rested for a good portion of the second half.
Rothwell continued his solid night in the third quarter, scoring the team’s first six points. After saving a ball from going out of bounds, he drilled a left-corner trey and 90 seconds later he converted a smooth turnaround along the baseline as the Rustlers went up 30-10.
Russell (1-3 in conference) travels to Butte (6-5 overall, 1-3 in the Eastern Conference) on Thursday.
The C.M. Russell High girls’ and boys’ basketball teams got back on the right track in the Eastern AA on Saturday afternoon.
But both Rustler hoops programs hit pause in league play Tuesday for the teams’ yearly matchup against Class A Havre, with the boys taking on the Blue Ponies at home at 7 p.m. while the girls hit the road for a contest at the same time.
The CMR girls (6-4 overall, 3-1 conference) split a pair of games over the weekend, dropping a 40-34 decision to Bozeman on Friday before rebounding with a 43-31 triumph over previously unbeaten Billings West on Saturday.
Senior Choteau transfer Tristin Achenbach and junior Addison Gardner each scored in double digits in both contests over the weekend, while Kyra Willis led the way with 14 points in a more balanced CMR offensive attack against West.
CMR girls head coach Brian Crosby said the Rustlers definitely received a boost after handing the Bears their first loss of the season.
“We’re very excited and confident about where we are,” Crosby said. “But hopefully we can build on it and not have that be the highlight of the season for us. We need to keep getting better each week.”
Spreading the wealth was a big factor against West, Crosby said, especially after only three players (Gardner, Achenbach and Willis) tallied points against Bozeman.
“Our best performances are when we get three or four into double figures or close,” Crosby said. “It’s not just Addison. Obviously teams like to key on her, so Tristin gets a lot of one-on-one looks and Kyra gets a lot of one-one-one looks, and Kyra can score in so many ways.
“And then you have a game like the (crosstown) game where Mady Skawinski goes off (19 points). Not a lot of teams have four really good defenders. Our kids are very unselfish and they care about each other and want each other to be successful.”
Havre is one of the top girls’ teams in Class A so far this season, moving up to 10-1 overall and 6-0 in the Central A after a pair of big wins over Belgrade and Livingston last weekend.
Senior Naomi Terry is the sixth-leading scorer in Class A at more than 16 points per game, according to the Havre Daily News, while freshman Kyndall Keller, who had a 24-point night against Belgrade, pours in over 11 points per game for head coach Dustin Kraske.
“Havre is always good and well-coached,” Crosby said. “(Kraske) does a great job. On the outside it might just seem like a game against a Class A team, but it means a lot to us. They’re very physical and tough and they get after people. We look forward to it.”
The CMR boys (4-6 overall, 1-3 conference) began this past weekend with a very tough loss to Bozeman, blowing an 18-point third-quarter lead and falling 59-51 after a hard-fought fourth stanza.
But the Rustlers of head coach John Cislo rebounded nicely Saturday, toppling a highly talented Billings West team 50-45 on Saturday.
CMR locked down on defense in the fourth quarter, not allowing a field goal after the 4:55 mark in the period, while junior Sam Vining’s 3-pointer with over 90 seconds to play gave the Rustlers the lead for good.
Senior transfer Reece Green tallied a team-high 13 points for CMR, while Garrison Rothwell added nine, and Xavier Pace poured in 8.
Vining and Dylan Marzion also contributed seven points apiece in the win.
Green is the Rustlers’ leading scorer and rebounder with 11 points per game and over six rebounds.
The Rustlers fell to Havre twice a season ago, but this year’s Blue Ponies are struggling a bit, sitting at 3-9 on the season.
Nate Korb paces Havre in points and rebounds at over nine markers and four boards per contest, according to the Havre Daily News. Isaac Warp, younger brother of former Blue Pony star and current Carroll College Saint Dane Warp, has put up almost eight points per game thus far.
Both Rustler teams face off with Butte on Thursday before finishing out nonconference play with makeup games against Helena High on Friday.
Saturday, January 21 RESULTS/STATS
FRENCHTOWN 40 COLUMBIA FALLS 36*
POLSON 63 WHITEFISH 54*
BUTTE CENTRAL 72 STEVENSVILLE 39*
DILLON 65 CORVALLIS 46*
HAMILTON 61 SENTINEL 51
BELGRADE 67 BROWNING 47*
PARK 52 HAVRE 51*
FERGUS 74 HUNTLEY PROJECT 51
HARDIN 73 GLENDIVE 30*
SIDNEY 70 MILES CITY 50*
Frenchtown 40, Columbia Falls 36*
At Columbia Falls, Frenchtown battled back from a halftime and third-quarter deficit to knock off the Wildcats in Northwest A play.
C. Falls (1-3 in league, 2-10 overall) led 21-13 at the break though that was cut to 29-26 by the end of the third. Jacob Price sparked the comeback with 19 points for the Broncs (3-0, 6-5).
Matthew Morrison’s 13 led C. Falls and Dakota Bridwell was the only other boy in double figures scoring with 11.
Frenchtown…7 6 13 14 — 40
Columbia Falls…11 10 8 7 — 36
FRENCHTOWN — Ethan Pyron 4, Jacob Price 19, Cade Baker 1, Adam Botkin 7, Hank Rugg 2, Austin Means 7.
COLUMBIA FALLS — Austin Green 8, Logan Stephens 4, Dakota Bridwell 11, Matthew Morrison 13.
Polson 63, Whitefish 54*
At Whitefish, four Pirates reached double figures in their Northwest A win against the Bulldogs.
Tanner Wilson led the four from Polson (2-1 in conference, 6-5 overall) with a game-high 19 points. Jeremiah North Piegan finished with another 14 points.
Whitefish's Derek Kastella countered with a team-high 16 points in the loss (0-2, 4-7).
Polson – Jayden Bautista 12, Tanner Wilson 19, Jeremiah North Piegan 14, Connor Lanier 7, Matt Rensvold 11.
Whitefish – Derek Kastella 16, Murphy Wick 3, Vegard Ellingsen 2, Sawyer Silliker 14, Ryan Kemm 6, Lee Walburn 8, Dillon Botner 5.
Butte Central guard Sam Johnston looks to pass the ball inside as Stevensville's James Fry defends Saturday afternoon at the Maroon Activities Center. (Bill Foley photo)
By Derek Hendrickson
The Butte Central Maroons got their second win in 21 hours, leading all the way in a much easier than expected 72-39 victory over the Stevensville Yellowjackets Saturday afternoon at the Maroon Activity Center.
The win was also another revenge game much like Friday night against Anaconda. The Maroons narrowly lost in the Bitterroot 44-43 in December but jumped all over the Yellowjackets early and cruised to the win.
Butte Central Head Coach Brodie Kelly was happy about various aspects of his team’s performance, but two stuck out in his mind.
“Overall I was really happy with how we played,” Kelly said. “The two things I like the most is the way we are playing defense together, helping each other out, playing on a string and I also like that our offensive rebounding has been huge since the break. I don’t know how many second chance points we had tonight but it felt like a lot.”
Central had 10 offensive rebounds for the game and most led to easy put backs or free throws.
Central will look to replicate these types of performances as their upcoming schedule has several m