GREAT FALLS – What a year it’s been for the Great Falls CMR boys basketball team.
After winning a combined 19 games in the past three seasons, the team shocked the entire state by not only making an appearance in the title game, but winning it all. The Rustlers defeated Bozeman, 81-69, on Saturday to win the school’s first state title since 2010.
The surprising run is a tribute to a solid senior class led by Sam Vining, who scored 25 points in the title game; Garrison Rothwell, who had 17 points, eight assists and five rebounds; Jake Olsen, who knocked down multiple big shots; and so many more key players.
“I think this title is a little bit more special, just the fact that we hadn’t been to the state tournament in three to four years,” said head coach John Cislo. “These kids worked their tails off, they had a lot of adversity and stepped up. State champs.”
“We locked in, we did what we had to do and we shot well,” said Rothwell. “Sam Vining shot great, in-and-out 3s. Off the dribble, he was doing amazing and everyone was just knocking them down. I think it’s especially great having eight seniors and having just a ton of support from our students, families, friends, just everybody. I love it.”