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State C girls: Saco-Whitewater-Hinsdale earns 53rd straight win; Roy-Winifred back in title game

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Posted at 8:03 PM, Mar 08, 2024

GREAT FALLS — The Saco-Whitewater-Hinsdale girls won their 53rd straight game 58-33 over Twin Bridges to clinch a spot in the State C title game on Saturday. Roy-Winifred topped Melstone 47-26 the second semifinal to set up a Mavericks-Outlaws championship game at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Saco-Whitewater-Hinsdale 58, Twin Bridges 33

Saco-Whitewater-Hinsdale (North Country) is one win away from back-to-back state titles after a 58-33 win over Twin Bridges in the State C semifinals. The win marked 53 straight victories for the Mavericks, who haven’t lost since the 2022 state tournament.

There was sentiment among fans and observers that Twin Bridges might give North Country a competitive game. The two teams met in last year’s title game, and the Falcons played the Mavericks closer than anyone this season in a December matchup that North Country won 53-41.

But it was evident quickly that North Country is on a mission. The Mavericks jumped out to a 14-4 lead after the first quarter and had pushed it to 32-12 at halftime. The Falcons cut the lead to 13 points in the third quarter, but every run was answered by North Country, which put forth another stellar defensive performance at the State C tournament.

Paige Wasson led the Mavericks with 22 points and seven rebounds. Josie Brown added night points and Shelbi Labrie eight, while Bailee McColly and Kendall Scheffelmears scored six points apiece. Montana State commit Teagan Erickson was in foul trouble for much of the game and was held to four points and eight rebounds.

“Our kids are pretty experienced. They've been here before. They're very confident. We are a very well-rounded team. We have a lot of weapons,” said Mavericks head coach Amber Erickson. “And so when teams really want to key in on Paige and Teagan, we have a lot of other kids that can step up. We found different ways to get people involved offensively and we just played a great tough defense and make it hard for people to score. So great team effort tonight.”

Wasson, who scored 25 points against Roberts in the first round, is putting together an MVP-caliber performance so far at her fourth state tournament.

“She's amazing because she can score in all three levels of the game. She can shoot. She can go up and get a jumper and she can get to the rim, and she's a 5-11 guard,” Erickson said. “So that's a real hard matchup for some people sometimes. She’s one of the best scoring guards in the state, regardless of classification.”

The Mavericks will face the winner of Roy-Winifred in Saturday’s state championship game, with a chance to cap the careers of a special senior class that has been the driving force behind this run of success for North Country.

"I just told them we're making history. And (Saturday) our goal is to make just a little bit more. And I've just really all season tried to encourage them to enjoy the journey,” Erickson said. “Especially for these seniors to be here four years in a row and bring home trophies. We don't talk a lot about our win streak. We're just worried about the next win. So we're just going to go in with the same mindset and just prepare to have a good game.”

The Falcons were led by Allie Dale who scored 22 points in the loss. Kyle Pancoast added none points and six rebounds.

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Saco-Whitewater-Hinsdale earns convincing 58-33 win over Twin Bridges in State C semifinals.

Roy-Winifred 47, Melstone 26

The Roy-Winifred Outlaws overcame a slow first half to run away with a 47-26 semifinal win over Melstone on Friday night.

The win sets up a State C championship matchup with Saco-Whitewater-Hinsdale on Saturday night between the two most dominant programs of this decade. The Outlaws won titles in 2020 and 2022, while the Mavericks are 2023 champions and riding a 53-game win streak.

Offense was slow to come by in the first half, with Roy-Winifred leading just 15-14 after the first 16 minutes. The third quarter was a different story, with the Outlaws putting the clamps on Melstone and finding a rhythm from the field.

“The girls played great defense there that first half but were just a little amped up, I think,” said Roy-Winifred head coach Marietta Boyce. “In the second half, we settled down and took care of business. And that’s been a really big part really of the girls season.”

The Outlaws were led by their two seniors stars who each recorded double-doubles. Isabelle Heggem scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds while Laynee Elness scored 12 points and hauled in 13 boards. Hannah Ewen pitched in 11 points, including eight points in the first half.

No Broncs player scored in double figures, but Emma Myhre led her team with seven points.

Now the Outlaws get another crack at the defending champs. Roy-Winifred and Saco-Whitewater-Hinsdale played earlier this season with the Mavericks winning 52-31 in the first game of the season for both teams. The Outlaws started the year with a 2-3 record but have reeled off 20 straight wins.

"They're a well-coached team. They have a lot of length, so we're going to have to come out with a better effort than we did tonight, but we're excited,” Boyce said. “You know, we saw them a lot this summer and and they obviously have some pretty key players, but I think we do, too. So I think it'll be a great matchup.”

Both teams have a group of seniors that have made deep runs at state every single season they’ve suited up. The respect goes both ways, but only one team can win on Saturday.

“These girls know each other very well. Laynee and Isabelle played a lot with Wasson and Erickson growing up,” Boyce said. “So they know each other very well. It'll just be a fun game.”

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Roy-Winifred defeated Melstone 47-26 in the State C semifinals.

Saturday loser-out scores

Roberts 76, Big Sandy 48

Plentywood 41, White Sulphur Springs 30