GREAT FALLS – Ben Iron Eyes poured in 39 points and hit two crucial free throws with 2.4 seconds left to lift the Rocky Boys Stars over Fairfield, 79-76, in a Northern B challenge game Monday night at the CMR Fieldhouse.
Rocky Boy started the game on fire, leading Fairfield 22-11 in the first quarter and making it look like it could be a runaway win. Fairfield responded in the second behind big plays from Keeley Bake, Ethan Schenk and Dawson Allen. The Eagles outscored the Stars 27-14 in the frame to head to the locker room up 38-36.
The second half played out like a dual between Iron Eyes and Bake. Each went back and forth hitting tough shot after tough shot, with neither team able to create separation. The fourth quarter began with Fairfield leading, 60-59.
With Rocky Boy leading 76-73 with 11.6 second left, Kendall Windy Boy made 1-of-2 free throws to make it 77-73. Dawson Allen hit a three point shot to cut the lead to one before sending Iron Eyes to the line for two shots with 2.4 seconds left. Iron Eyes converted both and Kolbe Pitcher’s desperation three as time expired was off the mark, giving Rocky Boy the win.
“It feels really good to come in here and knock off Fairfield,” said Iron Eyes. “A real confidence booster, and now we’re going to go to state. I’m proud of these boys. We all worked hard. We’re here.”
Small finished the game with 17 points for Rocky Boy, Bake scored a team-high 27 for Fairfield. Dawson Allen and Ethan Schenk also added 19 apiece for the Eagles.
“I’ll tell you the truth; it’s the strongest and it’s the hardest district to get out of,” said Small of the Northern B. “Those boys are big, I ain’t going to lie. We’re short but we’re fast.”
The Stars will have to wait until after this weekend’s Southern B divisional to learn their opponent for the first round of the State tournament next weekend in Missoula.
“We need lots of film and preparation,” said head coach Adam Demontiney. “I’ll get straight to the drawing board and get some film and take it from there. We’ll do the same thing we’ve done all year. Get the ball out and go, and defense, defense, defense.”