MISSOULA — The Missoula Hellgate Knights had one of their best seasons in program history, finishing the regular season with just one loss to an out-of-state Coeur D’Alene team and winning the other 17 games.
The Knights continued that dominance by going unbeaten in the Western AA boys basketball divisional tournament last weekend and securing the No. 1 seed at state.
The Knights had one shaky game against Helena high in the semifinal, where they came out slow but after that looked like the team we’ve seen all year.
“I think we came out slow (Friday) and we talked about it with our coaches and teammates just to come out harder (Saturday) this game and more prepared and that’s what we did,” said junior guard Rollie Worster.
The next game, the Knights took care of the other Helena team, the Capital Bruins, in the championship, winning in convincing style, 51-35.
“We’ve worked hard all season to get where we are at and compete every day, and practice is a huge component to that,” senior Fisher Richardson said. “Feels pretty good to be the one to see if it gives us confidence going in, just because last year we had a way lower seed, or not way lower, but the lower seed. I don’t know, it just feels good to execute the season like we actually should.”
And now headed into state with the No. 1 seed and a head of steam, the Knights just have one goal: bringing the state championship back to Hellgate for the first time in six years.
“Don’t lose, that’s about it. Try to play our game and stick to our guns and hopefully we come out on top,” said Richardson.
The Knights will be playing Billings Skyview in the first round in Butte on Thursday.