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Montana Tech men earn share of Frontier Conference title; Skylights hold off Orediggers

Posted at 9:52 PM, Feb 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-18 00:22:32-05

BUTTE  — Six years ago, Adam Hiatt took over a Montana Tech program in search of direction and success.

And over those past six seasons, the Orediggers began a steady upward trajectory. And Thursday's blowout win over MSU-Northern launched Tech to new heights.

Sindou Diallo scored a game-high 21 points and Caleb Bellach added 11 as the Orediggers routed the Lights 73-56 in the regular season finale at the HPER Complex.

That win, coupled with Carroll College's runaway win over Providence, gave Tech a share of the Frontier Conference title. It was an accomplishment the Orediggers hadn't reach in almost 30 years.

Carroll will be the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Frontier Conference tournament while Tech will be No. 2. Both teams earned first-round byes and will host semifinal games next Friday.

"I'm just incredibly proud of this program," Hiatt said shortly after helping his team trim down the nets. "These guys that have sacrificed so much over the past few years. They never lost vision of what we could accomplish.

"This has been a fantastic year from the very start and we feel like we're playing our best at the right time."

Tech concludes the regular season at 24-6, overall and 13-2 in league play. Those 24 wins are an all-time high for the program.

Northern (18-12, 6-9) will be the No. 4 seed and host No. 5 Rocky Mountain College in the opening round. Against Tech, the Lights were led by 18 points from David Harris and 10 from Tanner McCliment-Call.

"This has been a multi-year process of getting better every single year, developing players," Hiatt said. "Putting ourselves in a position to gain more confidence and more experience and you can see the fruition of all of our efforts."

WOMEN'S GAME

Sydney Hovde poured in 15 points, Ryley Kehr had 14 and Morgan Mason added 10 as the Skyights held off Tech down the stretch for a 55-51 victory.

Tech finished the regular season at 12-18 overall and 3-12 in conference play. Northern (9-20, 2-13) earned two conference victories in the regular season, both against the Orediggers.

The Lights will now enter the Frontier Tournament as the No. 6 seed and face No. 3 Carroll College in the opening round.

The Orediggers, which were led by 18 points from Dani Urick and 10 from Brooke Heggie, will be the No. 5 seed and face No. 4 Montana Western in Dillon in the first round.