MISSOULA — Jamie Pickens scored a game-high 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, leading defending Class AA state champion Helena High past Missoula Big Sky 43-37 on Thursday evening.

Each team struggled from the floor, with Helena High shooting just 27 percent on 15 of 63 field goals, including a rough three for 19 from the 3-point line. Big Sky connected on 15 of 51, but made only three of nine free throws in the loss. Sydnee Zanto led the Eagles with 11 points. Julia Riekena was credited with 14 rebounds for Big Sky.

Helena High led 12-10 after the first quarter and extended its lead to 22-19 at halftime. Kamden Hilborn and Emily Feller combined for 11 points to help Helena High to the victory.

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The Bengals improved to 9-2 overall and 3-2 in the Western AA. Big Sky fell to 1-10, 0-5.

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