GREAT FALLS — Hays-Lodgepole is heading to the state tournament.
The Thunderbirds defeated Winnett-Grass Range 65-56 in a Northern C division boys basketball challenge game Sunday at Four Seasons Arena to punch their ticket. Hays-Lodgepole will join undefeated Chinook as the Northern C’s representatives at the state tournament March 7-9 at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark in Billings. Chinook defeated the Thunderbirds 66-45 in Saturday’s championship game.
Hays-Lodgepole jumped out to a 15-7 lead after the first quarter on Sunday and maintained the advantage all afternoon, leading by as many as 13 points in the win. Gilbert Snow paced the Thunderbirds with 22 points on 10-of-15 shooting, including a 2-for-2 effort from behind the 3-point line. Kenneth Blackcrow added 14 points and Kyle Young had 10. As a team, Hays-Lodgepole shot 54.2 percent (26 of 48) for the game.
Winnett-Grass Range, which forced the challenge game with a 32-31 overtime win over Belt in the consolation final on Saturday, got 27 points from Charlie Keith and 13 from Jacob Jessen on Sunday.
Sunday’s game, which was slated for Sunday ahead an impending snow storm, was the first of five divisional challenge games. The challenge game winners secure berths at their respective state tournaments.
A schedule for the divisional challenge games is below.
Tuesday at Ronan
Girls: Missoula Loyola 52, Deer Lodge 34, challenge
Boys: Missoula Loyola 84, St. Ignatius 41, challenge
Monday at Laurel
Girls: Wibaux 47, Bridger 41, challenge
Sunday at Great Falls
Boys: Hays-Lodgepole 65, Winnett-Grass Range 56, challenge
Wednesday at Deer Lodge
Boys: Arlee 52, Twin Bridges 51, challenge