CHURCHILL — In a high-profile Class C boys basketball matchup, Manhattan Christian knocked off Melstone, 55-40, Saturday afternoon. Manhattan Christian finished second at last year’s state tournament, while Melstone took home third.
The Eagles looked like they would blow out the Broncs early, building a 14-4 lead in the first quarter, but Melstone kept chipping away.
Then, Manhattan Christian got red hot. Leading 18-15 in the second quarter, Josiah Amunrud hit a triple to start a flurry for the Eagles. Bellach later hit back-to-back 3-pointers, and Amunrud capped the 12-0 spurt with another long-range bomb.
“I felt like we got off to a great start, and then they battled, which we know they’re going to do. They’re well-coached,” Manhattan Christian head coach Jeff Bellach said. “I was happy with our execution. We really try to get great shots every time, and we’re still working on that.”
Caleb Bellach had 20 first-half points, including a shot to beat the first quarter buzzer. Even with Bellach’s big first half, Melstone was able to hang around late into the fourth quarter, not allowing the lead to balloon.
But the Broncs’ offense could not muster enough to keep up with the high-powered Eagles. Melstone star Brody Grebe was hounded by Manhattan Christian sophomore Caidin Hill throughout the night. Grebe finished with 19 points but found nothing easy.
“(Hill) did a great job on (Grebe). (Grebe) is a good player, but (Hill) was just relentless on him all night. I knew he was up for that challenge,” Jeff Bellach said.
Caleb Bellach finished with game-highs of 28 points, including a pair of thunderous dunks, and nine rebounds. Bellach hit five 3-pointers in the contest.
Bellach also became a member of the 1,000-point club, now sitting at 1,011. Manhattan Christian’s record is 1,448 held by Conner VanDyken.
Grebe led Melstone with 19 points and seven rebounds.
Day 2 results
Deer Lodge 63, Townsend 24
Manhattan 48, Columbus 38
Manhattan Christian 55, Melstone 40
Whitehall 56, Ennis 37
Columbus 57, Manhattan 43
Melstone 43, Manhattan Christian 27
Townsend 44, Deer Lodge 39
Whitehall 35, Ennis 29