BILLINGS – In their final home games of the regular season, the Rocky Mountain College Battlin’ Bears swept Montana State Northern Saturday to climb into the top three of both Frontier Conference races.
The No. 24 Rocky women defeated the Skylights 51-36. A basket by MSU-Northern’s Peyton Kehr drew the game within single digits with 2:42 left, but two Markaela Francis free throws pushed Rocky’s lead back to 11 points. The Skylights wouldn’t score again.
From the field, both teams were nearly equal. The Battlin’ Bears (18-10, 9-7 FC) drained just 30.4 in comparison to the Skylights’ 30.6 percent. Francis scored 14 points while Justyn Juhl added an additional 11. Alecia Chamberlin led the team in boards with 13 as Rocky out-rebounded the visitors 41-28.
The win moved Rocky into a tie for third in the conference with Lewis-Clark State, after the Warriors lost to Montana Tech Saturday. The Bears’ final road trip of the regular season will begin at Tech next Friday.
Rocky’s men meanwhile overcame an eight-point first half deficit to beat Northern 75-70 in the second game of the doubleheader.
The Battlin’ Bears (18-10, 9-7 FC) led 73-68 with 30 seconds left in the game. At 00:18, a Kavon Bay layup drew the Lights (1612, 8-8 FC) within striking distance at 73-70, but Craig Wilmore quickly bumped Rocky’s lead back to five points with a layup of his own.
The Lights’ final chance was halted by a missed pass in the final six seconds.
Rocky shot 51.7 percent on the night and drained 41.2 percent from beyond the arc. Jared Samuelson led a balanced attack with 16 points, while Brandon The Boy and Grant Wallace combined for 25 off the bench.
MSU-Northern’s Justin Dunsmore scored 16 points. Devin Bray and Caulin Bakalarski each contributed 12 of their own.