MISSOULA – One game came down to the final shot. The other felt over after the first quarter. Missoula’s week full of crosstown basketball had a little bit of everything on Tuesday night.
The Missoula Big Sky girls hung on for their first Western AA win, 33-30 at Missoula Hellgate. Then the Hellgate boys responded with a 68-30 blowout over the Eagles.
The ladies started the night with a low-scoring thriller. Big Sky held a slim lead for most of the evening, but could never pull away from the Knights. Hellgate had several shots in the final two minutes that could have tied the game, but couldn’t connect.
Then with two seconds on the clock and Big Sky leading 33-30, Hellgate ran an inbounds play from under its own basket. Sev Armstrong came open for a 3-pointer at the buzzer, but it rimmed out, and the Eagles celebrated a much-needed victory.
Sydnee Zanto led Big Sky with 12 points. Kylie Lunday paced Hellgate with 13. Both teams are now 1-6 in Western AA play. Hellgate had won the first meeting of the year at Big Sky, 60-39.
Big Sky scored the first bucket of the boys game, but the Knights completely took over the rest of the way. Hellgate went on a 24-0 run, taking a 24-2 lead in the second quarter. Big Sky never threatened down the stretch.
Abe Johnson led a balanced Hellgate attack with 12 points. Kade Lunday and Dylan Holst added 10. No Big Sky player reached double figures.
The win moves Hellgate to 6-1, and at least briefly puts the Knights in first place in the league ahead of 5-1 Missoula Sentinel. Big Sky falls to 0-7 in the Western AA.
Missoula’s crosstown week continues on Thursday with Big Sky hosting Sentinel. Then on Saturday, Hellgate will go to Sentinel. On both nights, the boys varsity games tip off at 5:30 p.m., with the girls following at approximately 7:15 p.m.