BUTTE — A rematch of the Class C boys basketball state championship game from last season takes place Saturday as Arlee and Manhattan Christian square off for the Western C divisional crown.
Both squads picked up big wins in the semifinals Friday. Arlee beat Gardiner and the Eagles took down Twin bridges in a battle of the unbeatens. All that led to Saturday’s matchup, which pins familiar foes against each other, and by now both teams are more than familiar with each other.
Four of the past five divisional title games have been between Arlee and Manhattan Christian, and the past two state title games have been between the schools. Despite the recent history between the two schools, the amount of respect each school has for one another is unmatched.
“You get reminded of it everywhere you go, and I don’t do too much social media, but it’s all over it all year long that there’s gonna be a rematch,” said Arlee head coach Zanen Pitts. “They’re No. 1. I wanna beat the best team in the state, so apparently it’s them.”
“We know them well, they are a little different team this year. There’s some people who say they’re not as good as they have been. You know what? They’re No. 1. They won the state title two years in a row. Until someone knocks them off, it’s them,” said Eagles head coach Jeff Bellach. “So we’ll step up to the challenge, and I think we’re ready for it, but should be a fun night. It’s gonna be a great game. I have nothing but respect for them.”