BILLINGS — For the first time in eight years, Great Falls CMR brought a State AA boys basketball championship back to the Electric City. The Rustlers also boasted the most valuable player according to media members who voted on the all-tournament team.
Garrison Rothwell earned the MVP honor, after leading the Rustlers to a 81-69 win over Bozeman in Saturday’s State AA championship. Rothwell scored 17 points, dished out eight assists and grabbed five rebounds in the program’s first state title since 2010.
Rothwell opened the weekend’s state tournament with a quiet performance against Kalispell Glacier — four points and one rebound, while fouling out in a 51-49 overtime win over the Wolfpack — but made up for it in the final two games of the tournament. The sensational scorer poured in 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting in the first half of Friday’s game against crosstown rival Great Falls High, outscoring the Bison on his own in the first 16 minutes. He finished with 19 points, six rebounds and two steals in the win.
He and teammate Sam Vining put on an incredible scoring performance in the tournament, keeping the Rustlers over 50 percent from the field while knocking down big shots in key moments. Vining was right behind Rothwell in the voting, earning first-team all-tournament honors.
Bozeman standout Mack Anderson was honored with a first-team selection after leading the Hawks to their third consecutive State AA championship appearance. Missoula Sentinel’s Sam Beighle, Montana’s Gatorade player of the year, and Billings Senior’s Connor Kieckbusch were also named first-team selections. Senior had four athletes selected to the all-tournament team.
The complete list of all-tournament athletes from the 2017-2018 State AA tournament can be found below.
2017-2018 State AA boys basketball
Garrison Rothwell, Great Falls CMR (MVP)
Sam Vining, Great Falls CMR
Mack Anderson, Bozeman
Sam Beighle, Missoula Sentinel
Connor Kieckbusch, Billings Senior
Kendall Kynett, Great Falls High
Ryan Lonergan, Bozeman
Rollie Worster, Missoula Hellgate
Robbie Simpson, Bozeman
Braxton Haws, Billings Senior
Kyle Torgerson, Great Falls High
Blake Thelen, Great Falls High
Collin Kazmier, Kalispell Glacier
Sam Evenson, Billings Senior
Caleb Ferguson, Helena High
Gaige DeShazer, Missoula Sentinel
Latrell McCutcheon, Bozeman
Nick Whitman, Kalispell Glacier
Brooks Zimmer, Billings Senior