RED LODGE -- Molly Hamilton buried a 3-pointer with 19.6 seconds left to put Columbus up 35-33 over Roundup in the District 4B girls basketball championship game on Saturday in Red Lodge, as the Cougars won their second consecutive district title, 36-33.
"(Hamilton) is in the gym every morning. So the fact that she made that -- I told her on Wednesday I had a feeling she might win this thing for us, because she just shoots more shots than anybody in this gym but her dad probably. I told her, 'Just have confidence. You shoot too many shots to not believe in yourself,'" said Columbus coach Jeromey Burke.
Columbus held a four-point lead at halftime, 17-13, but Roundup quickly took the lead, which was a far cry from the first two meetings between these teams when Roundup couldn't muster anything offensively in the second half. The Panthers scored the first eight points of the half and led 23-19 entering the fourth quarter.
The Panthers led 31-29 when Brooklyn Wyllie gave the Cougars the lead back with a 3-point play with less than two minutes remaining. Blythe Sealey sunk a pair of free throws to put the Panthers back ahead, but Hamilton's 3 proved to be the nail in the coffin, as the Panthers messed a half-court heave as time expired.
"It feels great. (Friday) felt great because you get over that hump and make sure you get moving on to the next weekend. The girls got this taste last year, and to be back-to-back district champions is a pretty big testament to our girls and the leadership we have," Burke said.
Columbus will move on to the Southern B divisional tournament at First Interstate Arena at MetraPark in two weeks and face the No. 2 seed out of District 3B. Roundup will face the No. 2 seed out of District 5B.