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Western B boys: Reigning state champion Missoula Loyola takes care of business against Anaconda

Missoula Loyola boys
Posted at 8:03 PM, Feb 24, 2024

PABLO — In what's been a workmanlike approach to this boys basketball season, Missoula Loyola took the next step Saturday, winning the Western B divisional championship with a 73-20 win over Anaconda at Salish Kootenai College.

The Rams, the reigning Class B state champions, have delivered on high expectations this season, rolling through the regular season unscathed and now winning the District 6B and Western B titles — both over Anaconda — in convincing fashion.

Saturday's win over the Copperheads got started a little slower than most for the Rams. They led just 12-9 after the first quarter, but they flipped the switch in the second. Loyola outscored Anaconda 24-3 in the period, with Ethan Stack providing nine points. Stack continued to carry the load into the third quarter, adding eight more to his total as the Rams outscored the Copperheads 20-6. Loyola limited Anaconda to just two points in the fourth.

Stack finished with a game-high 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting. Jamo Kendrick added 16 points, 12 of which came on four 3-pointers, and Reynolds Johnston scored 11.

Tytan Cook scored eight points to lead the Copperheads, who will be the West's second seed at the Class B state tournament, which is March 7-9 at Billings.

Loyola gets back to state as the West's No. 1 seed. There were few smiles during Saturday's divisional championship celebration, though.

During photos with the first-place trophy, excited parents asked the players to smile.

"Not until state," they responded.

Arlee 65, Eureka 57 (third place)

Arlee also punched its ticket to the Class B state tournament, pulling away from Eureka in the fourth quarter for a 65-57 win in the Western B divisional consolation final.

The Warriors and Lions a tight game through the first three quarters, with Arlee clinging to a 44-43 lead going to the fourth. The Warriors scored 21 points in the fourth — Jake Knoll leading the way with eight points in the period — to get the win and third-place trophy at the divisional tournament. Three teams advance from the Western B to the state tournament.

Knoll finished Saturday's third-place game with 16 points, 10 of which came in the second half. Ben Old Person-Harlow led the Warriors with 18 points, with 10 of those coming in the first quarter. Ethan Fiddler scored 14 points, all in the second half.

Braden Casazza (18 points), Caden Vaughn (15) and Tristan Butts (14) each scored in double figures for Eureka, which sees its season end with the fourth-place finish at the divisional tournament.

Saturday loser-out scores

Eureka 54, Thompson Falls 48

Arlee 69, Florence 60