CHURCHILL -- While the Manhattan Christian boys and girls basketball teams had the opportunity to relax on the opening day of District 11C tournament because of their byes, other schools were battling it out in Churchill to try to advance to the semifinals.
The White Sulphur Springs and Shields Valley boys had one of the most entertaining games of the day as it went down to the wire with the Hornets ultimately pulling out a 60-58 win. They will now meet the Eagles in the semifinals.
Meanwhile, the West Yellowstone boys are also heading to the semis as they took down Lone Peak. The Wolverines will now meet No. 2 Gardiner for the right to play in the championship.
On the girls side, Shields Valley had a strong showing as it defeated Lone Peak by 25 points to move into the semifinals against the Manhattan Christian. And Gardiner also punched its ticket to face West Yellowstone. Game recaps for each District 11C first-round game can be found below.
West Yellowstone 51, Lone Peak 34
Behind a strong third quarter where they outscored Lone Peak 21-8, the West Yellowstone boys are moving on to the semifinals after defeating the Bighorns 51-34. The Wolverines were led by Parker Young, who scored 14 points and also added six rebounds in the win. West Yellowstone's Mac Hauck also posted 11 points. Austin Samuels and Michael Romney led Lone Peak, both scoring nine points in the game. West Yellowstone now moves on to the semifinals where they will take on second-seeded Gardiner.
White Sulphur Springs 60, Shields Valley 58
In a game of back-and-forth punches, White Sulphur Springs threw the last one and was able to edge out Shields Valley 60-58 in the opening round of the tournament. The teams went into halftime knotted up at 24-24 before the Rebels exploded for 26 points in the third quarter to lead the Hornets 50-41. But White Sulphur's defense stepped up, allowing only eight points in the fourth quarter to secure a late push to win. Sam Davis scored a game-high 22 points and had eight rebounds for the Hornets, while the Rebels' Dylan Flatt scored a team-high 21 points. White Sulphur Springs will now meet top-seeded Manhattan Christian in the semifinals. The Eagles did not lose a game in district play in the regular season.
Gardiner 54, White Sulphur Springs 22
Despite scoring just one point in the fourth quarter, the Gardiner Bruins used a 30-point first-quarter performance to power past White Sulphur Springs in the opening round. Gardiner was led by Kyndra Long's 10 points and seven assists. Three other Bruins tallied eight points in the victory. The Hornets were paced by Callie Menard, who also tied Long for a game-high 10 points. But scoring was tough to come by for White Sulphur as it scored only nine points by halftime and mustered two in the third quarter, while turnovers were a killer. The Hornets had 34 of them in the game. Gardiner now moves on to face West Yellowstone in the semifinals Friday at 4:30 p.m.
Shields Valley 49, Lone Peak 24
Shields Valley's duo of Haven Sager and Aspen Sanderson led the way for the Rebels, each scoring 13 points, as they defeated Lone Peak 49-25 in the opening round of the district tournament. But the big story was the Shields Valley defense. The Rebels allowed the Bighorns to score just a single point in the first quarter and held Lone Peak to just seven at halftime as they forced 29 Bighorn turnovers. And they capitalized on those opportunities, scoring 20 points off of turnovers in the contest. Lone Peak fought behind Maddie Cone, who shined in the game as she recorded a double-double with a game-high 16 points and 16 rebounds. Shields Valley now meets No. 1 Manhattan Christian in the semifinals.