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Great Falls High boys continue chasing Missoula Hellgate in Class AA coaches poll

Posted at 7:07 PM, Jan 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-30 21:07:08-05
Great Falls High’s Blake Thelen goes up for a dunk during the 2017-18 season. (TOM WYLIE/MTN Sports)

The Great Falls High boys basketball team continues to inch up the Class AA coaches poll.

Bob Howard’s Bison have improved to 10-1 on the strength of a six-game winning streak. They’re still second in the coaches poll, which is compiled weekly by MTN sports, but GFH stole another first-place vote from top-ranked Missoula Hellgate this week. The Knights are ranked first for the third consecutive week and have looked like Class AA’s dominant team, cruising through their in-state schedule. Hellgate’s only loss came against Coeur d’Alene, Idaho back in December.

Defending champion Great Falls CMR is third behind the Knights and Bison. Bozeman and Billings West round out the top five, and a trio of teams — Missoula Sentinel, Helena High and Billings Skyview — also received votes. The Great Falls schools are in Billings this weekend for intriguing matchups with West and Skyview.

In the girls poll, Helena High, which has won the past two Class AA state girls championships and is undefeated this season, is still ranked first ahead of one-loss teams Helena Capital and Billings West. Butte is fourth and Bozeman fifth. Coaches cast their ballots before Tuesday’s game that saw the Hawks snap Butte’s eight-game winning streak.

The Missoula Hellgate and Kalispell Glacier girls both received votes ahead of their Western AA showdown on Saturday.

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. 29, 2019

  1. Missoula Hellgate (9-1) — 49 points (9 first-place votes)
  2. Great Falls High (10-1) — 42 (2)
  3. Great Falls CMR (9-2) — 29
  4. Bozeman (7-3) — 26
  5. Billings West (6-5) — 9

Receiving votes: Missoula Sentinel (6-4), Helena High (6-5), Billings Skyview (7-4).

Class AA girls basketball coaches poll — Jan. 29, 2019

  1. Helena High (11-0) — 35 points (7 first-place votes)
  2. Helena Capital (10-1) — 29 (1)
  3. Billings West (10-1) — 21
  4. Butte (9-2) — 19
  5. Bozeman (5-5) — 7

Receiving votes: Missoula Hellgate (6-4), Kalispell Glacier (6-4).

Previous polls can be found below:

Jan. 22, 2019
Jan. 16, 2019
Jan. 8, 2019