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State AA boys championship: Billings Skyview outlasts Great Falls in thriller

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Posted at 7:37 PM, Mar 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-14 01:47:38-05

GREAT FALLS — All Billings Skyview wanted was another chance. They got it, and took full advantage.

The Falcons are 2021 Class AA state champions after beating Great Falls High 62-60 at the Four Seasons Arena on Saturday. It's the third outright state championship for the Falcons since 2015, and the fourth counting last season's "co-champion" designation.

"It feels amazing. I mean, we all wanted a chance to go back to back and we got to come back last year," senior Ky Kouba said. "We luckily got to have the tournament. It's the best feeling in the world. I can't even explain it."

"It was the game I thought it was gonna be. Us being up like 11 or 10 at the half was pretty surprising to me. I figured it was gonna be a tight ballgame or a two point ballgame the whole way through, which it came to be at the end," head coach Kevin Morales said. "I'm just so happy for these boys. Happy for our program and just completely happy for our Heights community. We're bringing another title home."

Photos: State AA boys championship

After two games of lights out 3-point shooting, the Falcons attacked the Bison with the dribble drive early. Kouba scored 10 in the first half, including a 3-pointer right before halftime to give the Falcons a 37-27 lead.

Meanwhile, the Bison went with a heavy dose of Drew Wyman in the early minutes. The senior scored 14 of the team's first 16 points, before Levi Togerson answered with seven points in the second quarter.

In the second half, the Falcons stretched the lead to 15 in the third quarter. Kouba continued to find the bottom of the net, while Payton Sanders got going as well.

But the Bison clawed their way back. Reed Harris came alive, scoring 11 of his 14 in the second half. Harris tied the game at 57-57 with a layup, but Sanders gave the Falcons the lead back with a jumper in the lane. The Falcons added a bonus free throw to make it 60-57 with under a minute to go.

Wyman tied the game again at 60-60 with a corner 3-pointer. But Sanders scored on a driving layup with just over 20 seconds left.

The Bison elected not to call timeout on the final possession, and Sanders partially blocked the game-winning 3-point attempt from Tarel Rollins.

"We were pretty upset last year and to get here, we knew we couldn't fall short," Sanders said. "We were defending co-champs and we wanted to make a statement. I feel like we did that."

Kouba finished with 19 points and Sanders had 14. Wyman had a game-high 29 points for the Bison, while Torgerson had 14. Harris tallied a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

It was just Great Falls High's second loss of the season. The Bison finished 16-2. Skyview finished 15-3.