MISSOULA — The Missoula Hellgate Knights showed why they belong at the top of the Western AA girls basketball standings with a win over the co-defending state champion Helena Capital Bruins on Saturday.
In the end, Hellgate came away with a 52-50 win that didn't feel quite that close.
From the start, Capital looked like its normal, dominant self, going out to a quick 5-0 lead.
However, Hellgate snapped back into it quickly and went on a 5-0 run of its own to tie things up.
After a low-scoring first quarter, Hellgate started to mesh and pulled away, leading 24-16.
In the third quarter, Hellgate held the lead with two big 3-pointers from Addy Heaphy, but Capital kept it close with a 17-point quarter led by Audry Hofer with five points.
In the fourth quarter, Capital continued to find the bottom of the net with another 17-point quarter and cut the lead to two points within the final seconds, but it wasn't enough.
Hellgate escaped with the 52-50 win after hitting free throws down the stretch.
“We really like to preach that every girl has their role," said Hellgate assistant coach Brady Henthorn. "I think every girl has a good understanding of their role, so they know what they need to do when they get on the floor and they give it their all when they’re out there no matter how much time it is and cheer on their teammates.”
Hellgate takes on Kalispell Flathead next on Thursday, Jan. 14 at home.