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Southern B boys: Red Lodge prevails in title-game thriller over Lodge Grass

Posted at 8:26 PM, Mar 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-02 22:26:29-05

BILLINGS — It took every ounce of effort for Red Lodge to overcome Lodge Grass on Saturday and win the Southern B divisional boys basketball championship in front of a large and raucous crowd at First Interstate Arena.

The Rams got a monster effort from big man Thomas Buchanan and survived a game that featured 10 lead changes, winning 78-77 when Lodge Grass' final attempt at a game-winning shot fell short at the buzzer.

Buchanan scored 29 points and grabbed 18 rebounds — 12 on the offensive end — to help Red Lodge earn the South's No. 1 seed for next week's Class B state tournament. But it was two Buchanan free throws with 1:04 remaining that gave the Rams the winning points.

Buchanan made 11 of 17 shots from the field and drew 10 fouls, much of it due to his relentless rebounding. Red Lodge scored 21 second-chance points and as a team fought for 25 offensive boards.

Lodge Grass made 15 field goals in the first half and 12 of those were 3-pointers. The Indians hit 70.6% from the arc in the first 16 minutes. Myron Little Light and Toby Stewart each hit four first-half 3s.

The Indians consistently led in the second half as well, giving up the lead on a three-point play by Walker Boos with 6:18 left. But they reclaimed the advantage immediately on a similar three-point play by Lance Little Nest on the next possession and held it until Buchanan's foul shots.

Little Nest had 22 points for Lodge Grass, and Little Light added 17 — though he was shaken up in a mid-court collision in the fourth. Toby Stewart scored 14 points. The Indians crashed the offensive glass hard, also, and had 21 offensive boards. But their 3-point shooting went dry after halftime when they hit just one more from the arc the rest of the way.

Boos scored 19 points for Red Lodge and Calvin Garmann added 14.

In Saturday's third-place game, Manhattan advanced to the state tournament with a 54-49 come-from-behind victory over Columbus.

Midway through the fourth quarter, the lights went out and it was pitch black in the arena for a few seconds. Columbus led at the time — just as it had for most of the game — but Manhattan flipped a switch of its own and overtook the Cougars.

In that stretch, Sam Stewart hit a step-back 3 from the wing and also converted a shot off an inbound pass. Chance Fenno also scored from the baseline, and the Tigers completed the rally to punch a state tournament ticket.

Stewart had 23 points and nine rebounds for Manhattan. Michael Stewart added 13 points, hitting four 3s. Hayden Steffenson's 18 points (on 9-of-10 shooting) led Columbus. Mason Meier added 14 points and eight rebounds.

Saturday loser-out scores

Columbus 65, Lame Deer 43

Manhattan 74, Jefferson 49