(Editor’s Note: Carroll College media release)
HELENA — The Fighting Saints are headed back to the Frontier Conference championship.
No. 2-seed Carroll College (24-7) defeated No. 3-seed Rocky Mountain College to advance the finals against Montana Western on Monday night.
“I’m proud of these guys,” Saints coach Rachelle Sayers told Sports 94.1. “It’s a tough turn around and they knew it would be physical. They did what they needed to do to get back to the championship. That’s tough.”
After nearly five minutes of scoreless basketball — an opening that was eerily similar to the Saints’ early game against Montana Tech on Tuesday — Rocky guard Kloie Thatcher hit a three.
Rocky led 3-0. It would be the only led the Battlin’ Bears held.
The Saints answered with a 7-0 run, capped off by a bucket by Hannah Dean and held on the rest of the way.
The Saints outscored Rocky in every quarter except the final one, shooting 52 percent from the field to handle the Battlin’ Bears’ pesky defense.
“We finally were able to get them worn down a little bit,” Sayers said. “The tempo of the game was starting to go our way.”
Junior wing Dani Wagner led all scorers with 18 points, while Christine Denny added 15 and Hannah Dean had 14.
“I thought Hannah played an amazing game,” Sayers said. “Dani and Christine were unbelievable, just making shots, making plays when we needed it.”
Markaela Francis and Justyn Juhl combined to score 30 of Rocky’s 50 points. They were the only two Battlin’ bears in double figures.
The Saints made sure Battlin’ Bears freshman point guard was held in check, using a combination of Jaidyn Lyman and Sienna Swannack to hound her.
“Jaidyn and Sienna’s defense on Thacher was key,” Sayers said. “When she’s not involved and can’t run their offense they’re not as good.”
Carroll will travel to Montana Western (25-3) on Monday and have a chance to secure its second consecutive Frontier Conference postseason championship.
The last time the Saints faced the Bulldogs in Dillon, Carroll came away victorious, 55-50. Though the Bulldogs won the season series 2-1, Carroll may have found the formula to winning in Dillon on Feb. 7.
The Bulldogs advanced to the Frontier Conference finals after defeating No. 4-seed Lewis-Clark State 71-67.
The game tips off at 7 p.m.