March Madness came a couple weeks early. In the week since we last unveiled our MontanaSports.com girls basketball power polls, the top-ranked Class AA team lost, a Class A team ranked in the top five lost twice, and three teams ranked in Class C’s top five lost close district championships.
It’s been a frantic February, indeed.
This week’s polls feature two new No. 1s, as Helena High vaults past Missoula Sentinel by virtue of its head-to-head win and Belt leap-frogs Box Elder by virtue of Box Elder’s last-second loss to Fort Benton. The Spartans and Bears are both still ranked second — after all, one loss does not a season make.
Behind Helena High and Missoula Sentinel in the Class AA rankings sits Helena Capital, which will go for the season sweep of the Bengals on Monday. Billings West overcame a 17-0 deficit against Billings Senior to snap the Broncs’ 11-game win streak, so the Bears are up to No. 4 and the Broncs are down to No. 5.
Havre continues to be the most consistent team in Class A. The Blue Ponies are yet again ranked No. 1, while Browning shot up the rankings to No. 2 after another win over Columbia Falls, this time in the Northwestern A championship. Hamilton suffered two losses at the Southwestern A district tournament, so the Broncs are out of the top five. In their place: Billings Central, which has quietly put together a solid season in the Eastern A.
Three Forks is still the lone undefeated team in Class B, and little changed in those rankings. Townsend suffered its third loss of the season to the Wolves, so the Bulldogs slid from their previous No. 5 ranking. Rocky Boy makes its debut after winning the District 1B title.
Undefeated Belt is back to its familiar perch atop the Class C rankings, taking the top spot from Box Elder. The Bears slipped to No. 2, but they’re still a team to be reckoned with at the loaded Northern C divisional tournament next week. Alberton-Superior, Class C’s only other undefeated team, continues to climb up the rankings to third this week, and Twin Bridges and Savage are back in the top five after losses by Plentywood and Harlowton in their respective district championships.
The full MontanaSports.com girls basketball power polls are below. For the boys rankings, please click here.
1. Helena High
2. Missoula Sentinel
3. Helena Capital
4. Billings West
5. Billings Senior
4. Columbia Falls
5. Billings Central
1. Three Forks
5. Rocky Boy
2. Box Elder
4. Twin Bridges