BILLINGS — Kendall Kynett was still feeling the sting from Friday night, but fans at Rimrock Auto Arena wouldn’t have known any better.
The Great Falls High guard poured in 24 points, finishing an impressive 10-13 from the floor, as the Bison took down Billings Senior 65-51 to finish with the third-place trophy at the State AA tournament.
“Before the game, obviously third isn’t really where we wanted to be, but we’ll take it I guess. We came out, the last game, gave it all we had and I think we did that pretty well,” said Kynett. “I just think that we played how we can play. It’s too bad we were so inconsistent that we couldn’t do that (Friday), but it is what it is.”
Friday’s blowout loss to crosstown rival Great Falls CMR in the semifinals was clearly still on Kynett’s mind, but the sensational guard dazzled the crowd on numerous occasions Saturday. He scored seven points in the first quarter, lifting the Bison to a 23-13 advantage, then added a big triple to start the second period as the Bison went up double digits.
Kynett finished with 24 points, five rebounds, two assists and a steal in the win.
“I feel like I played pretty well, but I missed a couple shots here and there,” he said. “I had a couple turnovers, but I cleaned that up. I think I played pretty well overall. Our team did, too.”
Senior ended the half on a 5-0 run, eventually getting within six midway through the fourth quarter after a Connor Kieckbusch baseline jump shot. The bucket trimmed the lead to 53-47 in favor the Bison, but Kynett responded, netting four straight points on his own before a Kyle Torgerson basket and foul. The successful free throw attempt put the Bison back up 10 and Senior never got back within single digits.
Torgerson added 13 points, four assists and two steals for Bob Howard’s Bison, which earned a 20-win season.
“It’s nice to be somewhere in the record books, I guess, and have our names somewhere at the school so someone remembers (this team),” Kynett said. “(Coach Howard) said, ‘20 wins, that’s a pretty good season.’ I think it was a pretty good season overall, even though we didn’t end up quite where we wanted to be.”
Kieckbusch led Senior with 14 points, while Braxton Haws added 11 points and four assists. Brooks Zimmer capped his impressive state tournament with four points, six rebounds, two assists and a block for coach Drew Haws.