BUTTE – The Hamilton boys basketball team ran their perfect record to 23-0 by knocking off Southwestern A rival Frenchtown for the third time this season, 54-37, in the Western A boys divisional championship game in Butte on Saturday night.
“We haven’t really talked about being undefeated, haven’t talked about results much,” Hamilton head coach Travis Blome said. “As long as we stay together and play as a team, whatever the results (are) we can live with it.”
“It’s a dream,” Hamilton Senior forward Carter Kearns said of the unblemished record. “To be undefeated, I never thought we could do that, but it’s been a dream season and I’ve loved every moment of it.”
Hamilton led by three, 23-20, at halftime, but put the clamps down defensively on Frenchtown, holding the Broncs to 26 percent shooting, and outscoring Frenchtown 31-17 in the second half to pull away for a convincing win.
“I’m really proud of our kids,” said Blome. “The first half was a little slow, but that second half they came out really hard on the defensive end, and that led to our offense.”
“We had to come out with a lot more intensity in the second half,” Kearns said. “Once we did that, we just started running, getting up and down the floor, it really helped us to get that win.”
Once again, it was a balanced scoring attack that got the job done for Hamilton. Tyler Choiunard (13), Carter Kearns (12), and Carson Rostad (10) all finished in double-digits. Frenchtown got 11 points from Senior forward Adam Botkin.
Both Hamilton and Frenchtown will move on to next weekend’s State A tournament in Bozeman at Brick Breeden Fieldhouse. Frenchtown will take on Fergus on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. Hamilton will face off with Billings Central in the final first round game of the day at 3:30 p.m.
“Billings Central that first round is going to be a very tough matchup,” Blome said. “They’re probably one of the best teams in the state, all classes, so it’s going to be a good game.”
The consolation game featured a rematch between first round opponents Butte Central Browning. Both the Maroons and Indians locked in a trip to the State A tournament next weekend in Bozeman with Saturday morning wins.
Browning trailed by as many as 11 in the fourth quarter, but rallied and finished the game on a 17-2 run in the final minutes to claim third place at the Western A boys divisional tournament with a 66-62 win over Butte Central
Leading by two with under ten seconds to play, Browning’s Brandon Aimsback blocked a shot by Butte Central’s Cade Holter, knocking the ball off Holter to give the Indians possession. Browning buried both attempts at the free throw line to thwart any chance at a miracle by the Maroons.