GREAT FALLS – The highly anticipated first crosstown boys basketball game of the season between Great Falls High and Great Falls CMR went down at the CMR Fieldhouse on Thursday.
It was a defensive battle throughout the game. CMR led most of the way, but in the fourth quarter Great Falls High switched to a full-court pressure defense to slow down the Rustlers. The strategy worked, as the Bison collected turnover after turnover. Great Falls High closed the game on an 11-2 run and picked up a crucial road win over its crosstown rival, 43-41.
Seniors Blake Thelen and Kyle Torgerson led the way for the Bison with 12 points each. Brendan Lindseth and Keegan Barnes led the Rustlers with 12 points each, as well.
“I think one of the things we take seriously as a team is our heart,” Thelen said. “We take pride and passion in that. So when we saw we were down in the fourth quarter, we just said, ‘Hey, guys, we need to buckle down and get a couple steals here and make some shots.’ I mean, those came tough (Thursday), but we beared down at the end and got those to go. I think we really stuck in there and played hard there at the end.”
“We obviously knew we had to be scrappy and get on every loose ball there was every chance,” said senior Keegan Bistodeau. “We had to throw different defense at (CMR) to catch a good team like that off guard.”
Great Falls High’s record improves to 6-1 on the year, while CMR’s drops to 6-2. The Bison will head on the road to play Butte next on Jan. 12. The Rustlers will next host Bozeman on Jan. 18.