Some of Class AA’s top-ranked teams had rough weeks last week, leading to more movement in the MTN Sports Class AA basketball coaches polls.
Billings West and Helena Capital, which were ranked Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, in the girls poll, both suffered their first losses of the season. The Golden Bears dropped a 48-46 game at Butte High. The Bulldogs are now 7-2 overall and 4-0 in the Eastern AA, sitting alone at the top of the conference standings. With the win, Butte inched up the rankings to No. 4, just one point behind West, which slipped from second to third.
Capital, meanwhile, climbed from third to second. The Bruins lost 59-45 at top-ranked Helena High in a matchup of then-unbeatens. The two-time defending state champion Bengals strengthened their hold on the No. 1 ranking. Kalispell Glacier and Bozeman are tied for fifth in the girls poll.
On the boys side, Bozeman is in the midst of a difficult stretch of its Eastern AA schedule, playing at the Great Falls schools last week and hosting Billings West this week. CMR and Great Falls High both handed Bozeman losses last week, with the Rustlers notching a 61-53 win and the Bison earning an impressive 62-47 victory. GFH, which is tied with Missoula Hellgate for the best record in the class, vaulted to second in the boys rankings. Hellgate is still the coaches’ strong No. 1 team.
Bozeman slid to third and will meet No. 5 West on Thursday. CMR, which was unranked last week, is fourth in the updated rankings. Billings Skyview fell out of the top five after a 59-39 loss to crosstown rival West.
The complete Class AA coaches polls are below. Coaches submitted their ballots to MTN Sports, excluding their own teams from the rankings. Five points were rewarded for a first-place vote, four for a second-place vote, three for a third-place vote, two for a fourth-place vote and one for a fifth-place vote.
Class AA boys basketball coaches poll — Jan. 22, 2019
1. Missoula Hellgate (8-1) — 45 points (9 first-place votes)
2. Great Falls High (8-1) — 34 (1)
3. Bozeman (6-3) — 23
4. Great Falls CMR (8-2) — 21
5. Billings West (6-3) — 17
Receiving votes: Missoula Sentinel (5-4), Billings Skyview (6-3).
Class AA girls basketball coaches poll — Jan. 22, 2019
1. Helena High (9-0) — 40 points (8 first-place votes)
2. Helena Capital (8-1) — 31 (1)
3. Billings West (8-1) — 24
4. Butte (7-2) — 23
T5. Kalispell Glacier (6-2) — 8
T5. Bozeman (5-4) — 8
Receiving votes: Missoula Hellgate (5-4).
Previous polls can be found below: