HELENA — The 2019 Class B boys and girls basketball tournaments are moving to a new site.
The tournaments were originally scheduled to be played March 7-9, 2019 at Brick Breeden Fieldhouse in Bozeman. They’ll now be played March 6-9, 2019 at Belgrade High School.
The Montana High School Association executive board took official action on the move at Monday’s meeting. Scheduling conflicts at Montana State University prevented the tournaments from being played at the Fieldhouse.
In July, the Big Sky Conference expanded its women’s basketball schedule to 20 conference games. With that, the Bobcats have home games scheduled with Sacramento State and Portland State March 7 and 9, respectively.
State tournament bids are typically determined two-plus years in advance.
The MHSA determined Belgrade was a satisfactory replacement location because of its proximity to Bozeman, which allows teams and fans traveling to the tournament to keep their hotel reservations and other travel plans. Belgrade’s gym seats approximately 5,500 fans — compared to nearly 8,500 at Brick Breeden Fieldhouse — so the MHSA elected to expand the Class B tournaments to include four Wednesday games to hopefully create smaller crowds.
The boys will start the tournament with their four first-round games on Wednesday, and the girls will start their tournament with four first-round games on Thursday. The boys championship is scheduled for Friday night, and the girls championship for Saturday night.
The 2018 Class B state tournaments were at Dahlberg Arena in Missoula and had a gross income of $122,447. After expenses, the Class B state tournaments profited $43,851.80, which was redistributed to the member schools.
Bigfork defeated Shelby for the Class B boys basketball state championship last year, while Three Forks defeated Colstrip for the girls title.