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District 6B: Missoula Loyola staves off Anaconda run to remain unbeaten; Deer Lodge boys take title

Posted at 11:26 PM, Feb 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-23 11:25:18-05

MISSOULA -- There was a moment it seemed Missoula Loyola's unbeaten record might actually fall on Saturday evening.

The Anaconda Copperheads went into halftime up by 11 points on the Breakers thanks to pressure defense that caused turnovers which inevitably turned into points.

But the Breakers turned it on late in the third and fourth quarters to improve to 20-0 on the season with a 49-44 win over the Copperheads for the District 6B girls basketball championship.

Sam Clevenger led Loyola with 19 points while Natalie Clevenger added 15 and Syd Koppang tallied 10.

"We were pretty stale offensively, we kind of stood a lot that first half," Loyola coach Travis Walker said. "And then made a little bit of adjustments of trying to be a little more active and positioning-wise. When we did that, even the shots that weren't going down, were still good shots.

"Anaconda, Andy (Saltenberger) does a great job with those girls and they're a tough out. Fortunately we made a run when we needed to make a run tonight."

Loyola retook the lead 32-31 in the third quarter after Koppang grabbed an offensive board and knocked down a jumper. However, the Copperheads went into the final frame up 36-32 after Logan Stetzner drilled a 3-pointer. Stetzner led Anaconda with 12 points.

But with the game tied 40-all, Sam Clevenger knocked down a layup for Loyola with 2:26 to go and the Breakers never trailed again.

"It's an unreal feeling," Koppang said of the win. "This whole season, we've been working for getting three plaques. We're one down, we have two to go, and we're pretty excited about that."

Deer Lodge 73, Anaconda 55 (boys final)

Just before that, Deer Lodge earned the boys 6B title with a victory over Anaconda. Ben Anderson scored 23 points for the Wardens and Logan Nicholson added 16.

Deer Lodge led 19-7 at the end of the first quarter thanks to finding its rhythm offensively. The Wardens quickly ballooned their lead to 20 points in the second quarter but a 3 at the buzzer by Kylar Gochanour gave Anaconda some life despite trailing 37-21 at the break.

The Copperheads couldn't quite recover though and the Wardens took the 6B championship with the victory. Aidan Thompson added 14 for Deer Lodge while Michael Galle had 21 for Anaconda.