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Unbeaten Heart Butte boys look to contend for first state title in 22 years

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Posted at 5:18 PM, Feb 01, 2023

HEART BUTTE — It’s been five years since the Heart Butte boys basketball team made an appearance at the state tournament, and more than two decades since it won a state title. The Warriors have been in the top of their conference over the past six years, including a 24-2 finish to their season last year, but have trouble when it comes time for the divisional tournament.

This year they are currently one of the two remaining undefeated teams in Class C and have their eyes on making it to the state title. They have been led by junior Thomas Young Running Crane, who is near the 1,000-point milestone, and senior Riley Reevis, who was an all-state player last season. Those are outstanding personal accomplishments, but they prefer to have team success over their individual awards.

“When I found out I was all-state, I was happy about it,” said Reevis. “But the thing that really killed me was that we got beat out in divisionals last year because I hoped we would make it all the way.”

Although they have a perfect record, the Warriors have been far from perfect this season. Senior guard Casey DeRoche says they have been working hard to get better and focusing on the big picture, especially after “getting exposed” in their previous game. Sixth-year head coach Kellen Hall added that the team still has some growing to do.

“I feel like we've still got a lot of room to grow,” said Hall. “We have growing pains and we are still maturing.”

The last time Heart Butte won the state title was in 2001, the second of a back-to-back titles. That roster consisted of a few fathers to the players on the current roster.

Playing together decades ago has brought them to a lifetime bond, and now that is something they are doing with their children who hope to recreate their level of championship basketball.

“This is going to last a lifetime, this experience. We just want top make the best of it right now and make sure these guys are having fun,” said DeRoche.

The Warriors have just a few remaining games in the regular season before starting their journey toward the state tournament.