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Perfection at stake in Helena girls basketball crosstown game

Posted at 10:00 AM, Jan 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-06 09:30:35-04

HELENA – Helena sports fans have been spoiled this season when it comes to crosstown games.

There were two clashes between the Bengals and Bruins on the football field, with their second meeting ultimately propelling Helena High into the State AA championship game.

In boys basketball last week, Capital outlasted Helena just long enough, winning by one point at home.

On Tuesday, the Lady Bruins and Lady Bengals, who are both undefeated, will be playing for, not only Queen City supremacy, ut to be one of the best teams in the state.

“It’s the best game of the year,” said Helena senior Kamden Hilborn. “It’s just the atmosphere is always so great. Everybody’s out there to watch a great basketball game. It’s always close and you never know what’s going to happen. I mean, we’re all excited and we’re raring to go.”

“Helena High is a really good, competitive team,” said Capital sophomore Megan Lindbo. “They have a lot of great players. Jamie (Pickens) and Kam (Hilborn) are really good players, but I think we can match their intensity. And we got a lot of great players ourselves, so I think it’s going to be a great game.”

That’s a pretty safe bet to make with both teams being so skilled on so many fronts.

“Expect good defense,” said Helena head coach Eric Peterson. “Right now we’re (the No. 1- and 2-ranked defensess) in the state for the AA. I think it’s going to be a defensive battle and points are going to be coming at a premium, so for us to win we have to value every possession.”

“It’s not just about one thing. If one girl has a bad night or something, six other girls pick her up and they do their job,” said Capital head coach Bill Pilgeram. “As a coach, I can just get a rotation and keep throwing people in there and keep the intensity up, and it’s really a lot of fun. The girls have been doing a great job with it. I can’t think of a better group of girls to coach.”

Helena High is the defending state champion, and Tuesday night could provide a look at teams competing for this year’s state title.

“It’s a great atmosphere,” said Peterson. “It’s playoff atmosphere no matter what the records are, with the fans being in the stands and both sides of town going crazy, and it’s just really good for both teams to be in that situation and emulate that tournament atmosphere.”

Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Helena High.