GREAT FALLS -- The Roy-Winifred girls are divisional champions again after a thrilling 47-46 win over Belt on Saturday. For a second straight week, they faced the Huskies with hardware on the line. They fell in the District 8C championship but prevailed at the Northern C divisional tournament – evening the season series at two wins apiece between the state-title hopefuls.
“Heart and determination and teamwork,” said Outlaw co-head coach Mauri Elness. “We played with so much heart and determination. We never gave up even though things went the wrong way at the end. We made it work.”
The Outlaws jumped out to an 18-6 lead in the first quarter behind hot shooting and lockdown defense and led 31-21 at halftime. Belt clawed back in the third quarter, taking a one-point lead midway through the frame and then it was punch, counterpunch the rest of the way.
Belt had several opportunities to take the lead in the final two minutes, but the Outlaw defense held up – forcing the Huskies into contested shots which they couldn’t convert.
Roy-Winifred's Olivia Geer led the way with 17 points, making 5 of 7 shots from behind the arc. Madeline Heggem recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Dyauni Boyce added 10 points and two steals for the Outlaws.
Kolby Pimperton and Lindsey Paulson had 11 and 10 points, respectively, to lead Belt.
Both Roy-Winifred and Belt will advance to the State C tournament in Missoula two weeks from now. The Outlaws will be the No. 1 seed and the Huskies the No. 2 seed out of the North.
Could a fifth showdown be in the works on Saturday night at the Adams Center?
“I wouldn’t be surprised,” said Elness. “I know there’s a lot of good teams up there, but it very well could be. It just shows how strong our division is and our district."
Fort Benton 77, Hays-Lodgepole 27 (girls consolation final)
The Fort Benton Longhorns returned to their championship level form with a 77-27 win over fellow District 9C team Hays-Lodgepole in the Northern C consolation final.
The T-Birds scored the first four points of the game before the Longhorns turned up the heat. McKenzie Clark scored a game-high 17 points to go along with five rebound and six assists. Aspen Giese had 12 points and eight assists and Megan Clark added 11 points.
With Belt's loss in the championship game, Fort Benton will not be able to challenge for a spot at the State C tournament. The Longhorns' season ends with a 24-1 record.