BOZEMAN — Harlem's boys basketball team pulled out another stunning victory on Friday evening, this one even more jaw-dropping.
RJ Ramone piled up 24 points as the Wildcats shocked two-time defending State B champion Lodge Grass 69-67 in the semifinals at Brick Breeden Fieldhouse, setting up a title game against Three Forks.
"Relief, joy, all sorts of emotions," Ramone said. "This feels so good, finally making it to the championship game."
In a wild game that saw the teams exchange 16 ties and 11 lead changes — and where never team ever led by more than five points — Harlem ultimately had the final say, draining critical free throws in the final minute to preserve a win that denies the Indians a shot at replicating Elvis Old Bull's teams and bringing a three-peat to Lodge Grass.
Lodge Grass had one final shot with 1.3 second left but Damon Gros Ventre's deep 3-point attempt was off.
The Wildcats then erupted in joy while the heartbreak from Lodge Grass, so close to emulating a feat from the program's glory days in the 1980s, was nearly palpable.
Teagan Levaldo — who scored five points in 10 seconds in the final moments of the quarterfinals to lift Harlem into the semis — scored 11 points and Tyler Cichosz also had 11 for the Wildcats.
Bryson Rogers led the Indians with 20 points, Ty Moccasin had 18 and Damon Gros Ventre scored 17.
Three Forks last won the State B title in 2001 and Harlem in 2002. Both teams beat Wolf Points the championship.
THREE FORKS 65, BIGFORK 54
The Three Forks boys basketball team is championship bound for the first time since any of its current players were born.
Mikey O'Dell scored a game-high 19 points, Finn Tesoro added 16 and Owen Long had 15 as the Wolves pulled ahead and stymied Bigfork 65-54 in the State B semifinals on Friday at Brick Breeden Fieldhouse.
The Wolves built a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter to cap off a 14-0 scoring run and from there held on and ended the Vikings bid at bringing home their third title in five years.
Bigfork, which falls into the consolation semifinals, was led by 14 points from Colin Wade, 11 from Levi Taylor and 12 from Isak Epperly.