DEER LODGE — The Blackhawks are heading for state with a perfect record.
Sariah Maughn scored a game-high 20 points and Bethany Hoag added 12 as the Seeley-Swan girls basketball team had a big first quarter and then held on for a 57-51 win over Manhattan Christian in the Western C divisional championship on Friday evening in Deer Lodge.
"We didn't even know at the beginning of the season if we were going to make it this far," said Maughn, a junior. "We made it our goal to win every game in case it was our last."
With the win, the Blackhawks ran their record to 17-0 while handing the Eagles (21-1) their first loss of the season. Manhattan Christian will also head to state as the West's No. 2 seed.
"I talk to the girls a lot of the time about how hard work beats talent," said Blackhawks coach David Cahoon. "But I've told them the past couple of weeks that 'I don't know when talent works hard.' They're showing that they're talented but they're also willing to put in the time."
Seeley-Swan bolted to an 18-3 lead in the first quarter. Manhattan Christian cut the lead to 55-49 with less than a minute remaining but couldn't close the gap.
Eliana Kuperas and Kiersten Van Kirk led the Eagles with 12 points each and Ava Bellach added 11.
Seeley-Swan's win also denied Charlo, which topped Twin Bridges in the third-place game, a chance at a challenge game. The Vikings would have gotten to play the Blackhawks for a trip to state if the Eagles had won the title game.