GREAT FALLS — After three straight years of losing in the divisional championship game, the Belt seniors rallied together to win a title in their final season.
The Huskies defeated Big Sandy 64-54 in the Northern C championship game to claim a No. 1 seed heading into the state tournament this week in Billings Having the experience of being in the championship game for three straight years helped Belt in the moments where they needed it the most.
“We’ve got some great senior boys,” said coach Kyle Paulson. “Probably some of those second place finishes with some of these same guys…that experience is valuable when getting to this spot.”
Senior Garrett Metrione scored a game high 24 points in in the championship game and averaged 15 points throughout the tournament. After walking away from this game with nothing to show for three straight years, he showed up and showed out.
“It’s awesome,” said Metrione. “We been in this four years and this group of seniors and our whole team finally got it done so it’s just an awesome feeling.”
The senior leadership showed in late game situation as they kept their composure. During the semifinal game, a tough Box Elder team came back to make it a one-point game with under a minute left, but Bridger Vogl stepped up and baked in a runner to send the Huskies to the championship.
“Seems like the last few games we didn’t handle it with the type of composure and execution that we probably should’ve,” said Paulson. “You just hope that fundamentally your kids will be pretty solid when they are getting sped up and can make good decisions. I think for the most part, our kids did that the last couple nights.”
The Husky basketball team contains multiple athletes who were apart of Belt’s state championship football team this past season. That was the first state title for Belt’s football program in over two decades. Now the two-sport athletes will chase their second state title within the same school year. If they can get the job done, it would be their first basketball state title since 2015.
“This tournaments momentum will give us energy but the win doesn’t matter,” said Vogl. “We have to come to the state tournament with a record of 0-0. Everyone is going to be as good as us if not better so we have to come out ready to play.”
Belt lost in the first round of the state tournament in each of the past three years, but was still able to finish third in 2022. It now looks to break that current streak and will focus on going deeper into the championship bracket. It's first game will come against Fairview on Thursday at 1:30 p.m.