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Northern C: Roy-Winifred girls, Belt boys capture division titles

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Posted at 11:41 PM, Feb 25, 2023

GREAT FALLS — The Roy-Winifred girls claimed their second of a back to back Northern C divisional titles Saturday after a convincing win over Fort Benton. Roy-Winifred automatically qualifies for the State C tournament, where it will also enter as the defending champions.

After falling short in the divisional championship for three straight years, Belt got over the hump and secured a ticket to the state tournament with a win over Big Sandy. The state tournament for Class C will begin on March 8 in Billings.

Roy-Winifred girls 54, Fort Benton 36

Outlaws junior Isabelle Heggem played an all-around opening quarter to put her team out in front 15-7. Not only did she score multiple times inside, but she also knocked down a turnaround jumper and a 3-pointer. Her stellar play didn’t stop on the offensive side. Heggem was a pest on the defensive end, getting deflections and diving on the floor for loose balls.

The Longhorns made strides behind scoring from Casha Corder, Emerson Giese and Kylynn Nack but it wasn’t enough to keep up with the Outlaws. Heggem and Laynee Elness combines for 25 of Roy-Winifred’s 32 first-half points and the team collected six steals as they led by 17 at the break. That lead was enough cushion to sit on as they cruised through the second half to claim the title.

Heggem finished with a game-high 24 points and 12 rebounds. Laynee Elness added 16 points and five assist for the Outlaws in their winning effort. Corder and Nack combined for 25 points for Fort Benton, which will meet Chinook in a challenge game on Monday.

Belt boys 64, Big Sandy 54

Big Sandy jumped out ahead in a fast-paced first quarter and held a three-point lead at the end of it. Just as it began to look like they could create some space on the scoreboard, Belt’s Garrett Metrione got hot from beyond the arc.

He hit three 3-pointers in the second quarter, and it was the third that evened the score at 25 inside of two minutes to play in the half. With three seconds left on the clock, Kody Strutz sank two free throws to put the Pioneers ahead but a buzzer beating put-back from Ethan Triplett made it a tie game at 29 as they headed into the locker room.

The Huskies came out the locker room and gained the upper hand as they went on a run and never looked back. Bridger Vogl and Metrione continued to pour it on as they built a 15-point lead midway through the fourth. But the Pioneers’ Isaac Pedraza and Braydon Cline got them within seven by the one minute mark. Late-game free throws and high basketball IQ kept Belt out in front as they finished the job.

Metrione finished with a game high 24 points and Vogl added another 20 for the Huskies. Pedraza led the Pioneers with 18.