KALISPELL — The Western AA divisional basketball tournament held its championship games for the girls and boys at Flathead High School on Saturday. Here are the recaps along with highlights in the video above:
Kalispell Flathead girls 46, Missoula Hellgate 45
In the girls championship it was a battle from start to finish between the No. 1 seed Missoula Hellgate Knights and No. 2 seed Kalispell Flathead Bravettes that came down to the final second of the game.
After a scoreless first three minutes for the two teams it was Flathead who took control of the first quarter and closed it out with an 11-5 lead over the Knights. Hellgate woke up in the second quarter and outscored the Bravettes 16-11 to make it a one point game, but it was Flathead who still led at the half, 22-21.
Flathead outscored Hellgate 12-10 in the third quarter to head into the fourth quarter up 34-31. The Bravettes led or were tied with Hellgate for almost the entire fourth quarter.
With under three minutes to play the Knights leading scorer and top defensive player, Alex Covill, fouled out of the game. Hellgate called a timeout and following the break it was Chloe Larsen who took over for the Knights with back-to-back buckets that helped put them up 45-43 over Flathead with under 30 seconds to play.
Flathead got possession still down 45-43 and called a timeout with 7.4 seconds to play. After an inbound pass at half-court and a brief passing sequence, senior Akilah Kubi found senior Avery Chouinard who barely got off a three-point shot that bounced not once, not twice, but three times off the rim, and once off the backboard, before rattling it's way through the net to give the Bravettes an absolutely thrilling 46-45 win over the Knights to become the 2023 girls Western AA Divisional champions.
The Bravettes were led by Kennedy Moore who finished with 13 points and led the team with eight rebounds as well. Hellgate was led by Alex Covill who finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double.
Missoula Hellgate boys 57, Kalispell Glacier 33
In the boys championship game it was the No. 1 seed Missoula Hellgate Knights and the No. 3 seed Kalispell Glacier Wolfpack, and it was all Hellgate.
It was Glacier who jumped out to an early 8-2 lead in the opening three minutes, but after that point the Knights went on a 12-0 run to close out the quarter on top 14-8. The Knights continued to roll in the second quarter outscoring Glacier 22-7 to make it a 34-7 run after starting the game down six, they led 36-15 at the half and it seemed like the writing was on the wall early for the Wolfpack.
Hellgate kept piling it on in the third quarter outscoring Glacier 13-6 to make it 49-21 heading into the fourth quarter. In the fourth quarter the Knights brought in their bench and rode out their massive lead to a monstrous 57-33 win over Glacier to be crowned the boys Western AA Divisional champions in style.
Hellgate was led by the senior duo of Asher Topp and Connor Dick who each finished with 15 points and combined for over half of the teams points. Glacier was led by Ty Olsen who finished with nine points.
Next all four teams will be competing at the Class AA state tournament in Butte starting Thursday.