BILLINGS — A trip to the Class C boys basketball state championship was on the line Friday evening, with Scobey and Twin Bridges punching their tickets to the title game.
Photos: State C boys - semifinals
(1E) Scobey 45, (1W) Manhattan Christian 39
It was exactly a year ago that Scobey and Manhattan Christian went head-to-head in a State C semifinal game, with the Spartans coasting to the championship that was eventually canceled due to COVID-19.
Fast forward a year later, Thursday's semifinal game was a much closer battle, but the Scobey Spartans' third-quarter performance secured them another trip to the title game with a 45-39 win on Friday.
At the half, the Spartans boasted only a four-point edge, but they quickly jumped out in front after outscoring the Eagles 14-7 in the third quarter.
"Ultimately we just got better defensively," Scobey head coach Jason Wolfe said. "They've got some great kids there. They were doing a great job of attacking the basket. We just made sure we were trying to keep them in front of us and then keep them to one shot, making sure they weren't getting any second-chance efforts."
The Eagles clawed their way back in the fourth, bringing the score within three points, but Scobey's 50% field goal shooting in the second half ultimately secured the Spartans the victory.
Scobey had three players finish in double digits: Caden Handran (14 points), Aidan Fishell (12) and Parker Cromwell (10).
Manhattan Christian's Seth Amunrud led the way with a game-high 23 points. Willem Kimm finished with 10 rebounds for the Eagles.
Scobey will take on (2W) Twin Bridges in the State C championship at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
(2W) Twin Bridges 39, (1N) Fort Benton 38
Twin Bridges and Fort Benton were scheduled to face off for the 2020 consolation trophy but never stepped foot on the court after the remainder of the tournament was canceled.
This year they finally got the chance to go head-to-head, but with different stakes on the line: a trip to the State C championship game.
Fort Benton held the lead for most of the fourth quarter, but with less than a minute left to play Twin Bridges' Charlie Kruer nailed the go-ahead 3-pointer for a 38-36 lead.
"That's one thing we've really thought about a lot, is being able to weather the storm, and we did a great job of it," Kruer said. "I just knew if we were able to get enough stops we would be able to win, and that's exactly what happened."
The Falcons were able to hold on, winning 39-38.
"I give Fort Benton a ton of credit," Twin Bridges head coach Josh Keller said. "They're coached very well. Those guys came out and played hard. They deserved to be there as much as we did. It kind of just fell our way at the end."
Kruer led the way with 16 points and seven rebounds. His teammate Tate Smith finished with 14 points while Matthew Kaiser recorded 11 rebounds.
Fort Benton's Hayden Diekhans finished with a team-high 12 points.
Twin Bridges will face (1E) Scobey on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in the State C championship.