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Bozeman reflects on dramatic state championship win

Posted: 6:34 PM, Mar 13, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-14 00:47:01-04

BOZEMAN – It’s been a few days since Bozeman won the Class AA state title on Saturday. And the players have finally had a chance to process just how crazy the win was.

“It’s amazing, I’ve dreamed about it my whole life. It’s something we’ve all been working for forever and to finally say that I’m a state champion, it’s pretty surreal,” said Brett Clark, a junior on the Hawks.

Clark was a big part of that state championship win, scoring 18 points against Missoula Hellgate as they won 55-53 in overtime on his buzzer beater layup. But he almost didn’t get the pass for Carter Ash.

“Originally I went up for the shot, but then just last second I saw Brett down there,” said Ash, a junior guard. “It was pretty deep and I was definitely off balance. I don’t think I would’ve made it.”

A lucky bounce and Ash’s split second decision making all culminated to make the perfect ending. Especially for the seniors.

“It was a great feeling knowing we’ve been there three years before that and can out on the wrong end. Finally, me and Ryan’s last go, we wanted to come out on top and we did so it was an amazing feeling for all of us,” said Bozeman senior Ryan Simpson, who almost didn’t play the tournament because of a fractured wrist.

And it was even sweeter for head coach Wes Holmquist, who has felt heart break as a state-runner up finish the past three seasons. And even a second place at state as a player in 1996.

“I literally didn’t touch my phone until I got home and I didn’t want to because I knew what it was going to be like. There was 237 text messages when I got home, I don’t know how many different notifications on different things. It took me most of the Sunday to try to respond to the people,” said Holmquist.

“I’m so glad we got one for him,” said senior Ryan Lonergan about Holmquist. “He’s been through a lot of championships and he’s come up short handed. And I’m just glad we got what he deserved because he’s coached us, Ryan (Simpson) and I since sophomore year, he’s but in a lot of work to make us the best basketball players we can be.”