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Western B girls: Anaconda topples rival Missoula Loyola in OT to claim championship

Anaconda girls
Posted at 10:50 PM, Feb 24, 2024

PABLO — For the first time in program history, the Anaconda girls basketball team is the Western B divisional champion.

Anaconda, which moved from Class A to Class B in 2015, edged District 6B rival Missoula Loyola 64-59 in overtime Saturday at Salish Kootenai College to win the Western B title. The Copperheads had lost the teams' previous three meetings this season, including a 61-29 demolition at Loyola on Jan. 29.

Saturday's championship game appeared to be headed the same direction as the earlier games between the two, with Loyola building a 20-9 lead in the first quarter. The Breakers led 34-21 at halftime, but Anaconda started to chip away in the third quarter, trimming the deficit to 41-37 going to the fourth.

The Copperheads kept the pressure on in the fourth, ultimately taking a 55-52 lead with less than a minute remaining. Loyola's Drew Lamb hit a difficult 3-pointer with 8 seconds to play to tie the game and force overtime.

Anaconda outscored Loyola 9-4 in the extra frame.

Anaconda's duo of Makena Patrick and Meela Mitchell again carried the bulk of the scoring load, with each scoring 21 points. Maniyah Lunceford added 11 points, and Larkin Galle had eight.

Loyola was led by Gio Horner with 18 points, Spencer Laird with 16 and Lamb with 10.

With the win, Anaconda will take the Western B's No. 1 seed to the Class B state tournament, which is March 7-9 at Billings. Loyola will be the division's second seed.

Florence 53, St. Ignatius 43 (third place)

Florence will join Anaconda and Missoula Loyola at the state tournament after the Falcons earned a 53-43 win over St. Ignatius in the third-place game.

The Falcons took control in the second quarter, holding the Bulldogs scoreless in the period. Florence took a 29-14 lead at halftime and held a 44-22 advantage after three quarters.

Maggie Schneiter scored 20 points to lead Florence, which also got 12 points from Emory Ralston.

Cora Matt paced St. Ignatius with 14 points.

Saturday loser-out scores

Florence 50, Eureka 34

St. Ignatius 61, Thompson Falls 35