BILLINGS — Roundup is bringing back its first state tournament trophy in 26 years.
The Panthers routed Malta, 46-24, on Saturday in the consolation game of the State B girls basketball tournament inside First Interstate Arena at MetraPark in Billings to claim the program's third state basketball trophy. All three trophies have been third place.
"We did the things that you're supposed to do: defend, rebound, shoot the ball well, which we did (Saturday)," Roundup head coach Dan Eiselein said. "Things have to come together throughout a season, and obviously a very challenging season for everybody."
Roundup nearly led wire to wire, as Malta's only lead of the game was at 4-2. The Panthers led 14-8 after one and 19-12 at halftime. A 19-2 run spanning the third and fourth quarters gave Roundup its biggest lead at 27, 46-19.
The Panthers shot over 50% from the field and hit 5 of 12 attempts from beyond the arc. Malta's shooting woes allowed Roundup to pull away, as the M-Ettes made just 10 of 48 shots and were just 1 of 15 from 3-point land.
"Anytime you can get a win against Malta, that makes you feel pretty good. That's a program that's steeped in history," Eiselein said.
Roundup senior Blythe Sealey had a monster performance in her final high school game, scoring 14 points and ripping down a game-high 15 rebounds. Roundup out-rebounded Malta 33-23. Meghan Eiselein added 11 points and eight rebounds for the Panthers, while Tia Stahl finished with nine points. Justine Lamb led Malta with eight points.
The win was especially meaningful for Meghan and Dan Eiselein. Dan has coached his daughter throughout her basketball career and Saturday was the cherry on top.
"We've been through it, I tell you," Meghan Eiselein said. "We started kindergarten and up, especially with Blythe (Sealey) and (assistant coach) Chad (Sealey), too, it's been since Day One, so it's really, really special."
"It's been a good journey with my daughter. Obviously, sometimes those relationships, coach-child coaching relationships don't work out very well sometimes," Dan Eiselein said. "But I think the fact that we kept basketball on the court, then at home it was family time -- we did talk basketball a little bit -- but I feel very blessed to coach my child and have her respond to not only me, but the whole coaching staff."
Roundup's third-place finish guarantees that the top three places at the State B girls tournament belong to teams in the Southern B.
"Once you get to the state tournament, you kind of gauge that a little, scrutinize that a little more closely," Eiselein said. "I'm really proud of not only our conference, the 4B, but the Southern B. I think that made our team better and prepared us for this moment (Saturday)."