When the Columbia Falls boys bumped Laurel off the championship track in Friday’s State A semifinal, Locomotives coach Patrick Hansen Jr. knew exactly who would win Saturday’s title game, even before C. Falls had an opponent line up for the finals.
The cards all pointed to the Wildcats, or at least Laurel’s bizarre pattern of semifinal state losses did. Including this weekend, the Locos have lost in four straight semis, each time the team they’ve lost to winning it all.
Like clockwork, the luck of the Laurel loss held true Saturday night when the Cats won their fifth championship in program history with a 56-47 victory over Dillon.
Polson’s Andrew Curley had a dream performance Friday night at the State A basketball tournament. The Pirates junior came off the bench to hit all seven of his shots in the first half, six of them 3-pointers, and the Pirates held a 30-20 lead at the break over Miles City.
But Curley’s 20 points, the hundreds of fans at Great Falls’ Four Seasons Arena chanting his name, even his mere presence in a Pirates’ uniform, are all the more special considering where he was a year ago.
Homeless. In trouble with the law. At his third school in three years.
Had Wednesday night’s clash of state Nos. 1 and 2 been played as originally scheduled, Olivia Roberts likely would have gotten to enjoy senior night with her fellow Spartans.
Initially slated for last Thursday before a slew of blizzards and school closures, the rematch of last year’s State AA finals that yielded Sentinel its second straight championship was pushed back a week before the Spartans could pull off the coup of Capital.
Roberts, though, watched from the bench and missed her second straight game because of illness.
In January, the spotlight at Frenchtown High School turned away from the court and onto Libby boys’ basketball coach Wally Winslow before the Loggers’ Northwestern A matchup with the Broncs. Frenchtown coach Michael Botsford paid tribute to one of the league’s long-time leaders who planned to retire at season’s end.
“I look up to him,” Botsford said. “It’s the good one’s like that that you love coaching against.”
Botsford, who has coached against Winslow in some capacity for a decade-plus, presented the 16-year Loggers’ coach with a trophy before the road crowd roared and cheered.
As the old saying goes, everybody makes mistakes.
Anyone who’s ever worked in a news service knows this all too well — the embarrassing zing when an error makes it to the public’s eye is more common than any of us would like.
But not all reporter gaffes show up in newsprint. And I had a doozy two weeks ago while working on a story about Columbia Falls girls AND boys basketball coach Cary Finberg. Luckily, Finny came to my rescue.
UPDATED: A blizzard warning forced the postponement of the Sentinel-Capital basketball games Thursday. The action will be made up on Monday, Mar. 3, with Sentinel’s girls still hosting Capital at 7 p.m. and the boys on the road in Helena also at 7 p.m.
Almost four weeks ago, Helena Capital knocked Missoula Sentinel off the path of the unbeatens by upsetting the No. 1 ranked Spartans 55-50 in Helena.
Neither team has lost since as last year’s State AA finalists have been hurtling toward another rematch this week. The now top-ranked Bruins come to Missoula to face the second-ranked Spartans for a 7 p.m. tip-off Thursday, a meeting of two 17-1 clubs with high state aspirations.
UPDATED: The Billings area schools are killing it in the online voting. Central-Laurel leads the way with Senior-West hot on its heels through the first week of voting and Malta-Glasgow coming in third.
You can vote daily by following this link. But remember, you must register to have your vote count. Go ahead, go!
Rivalries are what makes sports fun — well, that and maybe winning — but which schools in Montana have the state’s best sporting rivalry?
Well, that’s up to you. The Missoulian newspaper, in conjunction with Lee Enterprises and the Wisconsin State Journal, want you to get out there and vote! Cast your ballot for Montana’s best high school sports rivalry (sorry — no Griz or Cats allowed) by clicking here and supporting rivals and those teams you love to hate.
Is it Sentinel-Hellgate? How bout Loyola-Florence? Whitefish-Columbia Falls or Arlee-Charlo? Maybe Hamilton-Stevensville-Corvallis? Or Thompson Falls-Plains?
We’ll be back with updates and results as the competition goes along.
And don’t forget, you have to vote to have your thoughts count. We appreciate your comments below but they might as well be yelled from a moving car window.
i.e. they don’t count
A year and a half ago Koni Dole’s life — let alone his football future — took a devastating turn when an on-field injury forced the amputation of his right leg just below the knee.
Monday afternoon, Dole continued one of the great comeback stories not just in Montana, but anywhere in prep sports by earning a preferred walk-on spot with the Montana State Bobcats to play football next fall.
It can be tough to find a flow when a basketball game is stopped — on average — every 56 seconds because of fouls.
That wasn’t the case for the Missoula Big Sky girls on Saturday in a battle with Kalispell Flathead, a brawl-of-a-game that saw 51 fouls whistled combined. That’s because the Eagles practice in a similar environment, coach Damian Droessler said. Continue reading
Lost amid last week’s manic National Signing Day frenzy was a somewhat shocking decision — or not, depending on whom you talk to — of where the most prolific passer in Montana prep football history will continue his playing career.
Butte High’s Dallas Cook, who practically penned his own chapter in the Montana record books, committed to play junior college ball at North Dakota State College of Science last Wednesday. Continue reading