GREAT FALLS — Roy-Winifred was the first team to punch their ticket to the 2023 Northern C championship game as it looks to repeat its title from last season. The Outlaws took down Chinook in the semifinals and sent the Sugarbeeters to the consolation bracket to face North Star in Saturday’s morning game at 8AM.
The Outlaws will be met in the finals by the Fort Benton Longhorns, who outlasted Highwood to secure their trip to the title game. Highwood will take on Belt at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday while Fort Benton prepares for their date with Roy-Winifred at 5:30.
Roy-Winifred 45, Chinook 38
The Outlaws jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the first quarter but Chinook responded immediately with an 10-0 run of their own to claim a two-point lead at the end of the first frame. The Sugarbeeters led for majority of the second quarter, but just inside of two minutes Laynee Elness came up with a steal and a fast break score for the Outlaws to knot it at 19. Free throws would then give them the lead as Roy Winifred headed to the locker room up 21-19.
The Outlaws slowly began to pull away in the third as they were up by five heading into the final quarter. Chinook was able to get the deficit down to one but a jumper form Hannah Ewen sparked a small run for the Outlaws and that was all they needed to keep their distance.
Roy-Winifred’s defense forced 21 turnovers in the winning effort. Isabelle Heggem finished with a team high 19 points and 10 rebounds. Hallie Neibauer totaled a game high 22 points for Chinook.
Fort Benton 39, Highwood 32
Fort Benton took the lead from the jump but it never grew to be a large one in the first half. They took an 8-4 lead after the opening quarter and that was the biggest lead of the first 16 minutes. Highwood was able to get it down to one as they trailed 11-10 with less than two minutes to go. The Longhorns were able to put up three more points in that time frame as they took a 14-10 half time lead.
The third quarter was where things began to open up for the Longhorns. After making on two 3-pointers in the first half, Hailee Wang, Casha Corder and Ang Reiner each put one in from distance to help them build a 12 point lead by the end of the quarter.
Highwood cut the lead to five with under 15 seconds to play but Fort Benton took care of the ball and sealed the deal. Trinity Tensen finished with a game high 16 points and 11 rebounds for Highwood. Corder and Emerson Giese combined for 21 points to lead the Longhorns.