CHINOOK — If records are meant to be broken, Chinook’s Isaac Bell did that and then some on Thursday.
The 6-foot-5 junior made eight 3-pointers on his way to 51 points in the Sugarbeeters’ 94-80 win over visiting Harlem. Chinook’s previous single-game scoring record was a 42-point showing by Doug Watson in the late 1960s.
“I had no idea until we got into the locker room. We were kind of looking at the stats to award our defensive chain to our defensive player of the game, and I saw saw he scored 51 and it was like, ‘Wow,'” said Chinook head coach Mike Seymour. “It was a shootout. It was a fun game. It had to be a fun game to watch. … I had no idea. I knew he was on fire. I think he had six 3-pointers in the first half, and he ended up with a total of eight. What a humble kid. He didn’t have any idea either.”
Chinook jumped out to a 22-6 first-quarter lead, with Bell scoring 15 points — including three 3s — in the opening quarter. He added 11 points — with three more 3s — in the second quarter as the Sugarbeeters built a 55-30 advantage.
Bell, who also made nine of 11 free throw attempts, put the finishing touches on his sensational performance with a 16-point fourth quarter as the Beeters held off Harlem’s comeback attempt. The Wildcats closed within 67-60 early in the fourth quarter, but Chinook was able to extend the margin back to double-digits and hang on for the 14-point win.
“I took a timeout at 5:51 of the fourth quarter. … At that point in time in the game, we were trying to do things too much on our own,” Seymour said. “I just reminded the team that you’ve got to continue to play for each other, try to set each other up, not try to do too much, play within yourself, and obviously get back on defense. It wasn’t like we made it a point to go through him. He’s one of our better players, but I feel very comfortable with the seven guys I’m playing, any of them taking a shot.”
Cord Schneider contributed 12 points for Chinook, which improved to 14-1 with the win. Brendan Edwards added nine points, Riley Kellam had eight, and Trajan Hannum and Ethan Bell, Isaac’s younger brother, each had seven.
“(The team) was very enthusiastic, very energetic. They were all happy for him,” Seymour said. “One thing that we talked about, it takes everybody to win a game. The 51 is quite a record. … The kids were very happy for him, very energetic locker room. It was really neat.”
The 51 points are the most scored by a Montana high school basketball player this season. Philip Malatare of Arlee scored 48 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and dished out nine assists in a 98-49 win over Seeley-Swan in December.