Bigfork, Columbia Falls Seeking Divisional Crowns

By Beacon Staff

Once again, both the boys and girls basketball teams from Columbia Falls High School have ended the regular season as conference champions. And, like last year, their stiffest competition at the divisional tournament will likely come from second-place Polson.

Last season, the Columbia Falls boys and girls used their No. 1 seeds to run through the Northwestern A divisional tourney, each claiming a top seed at the Class A state tournament. To win divisionals, they both beat Polson in the championship game.

The girls secured the conference’s top seed this year by beating Polson 73-64 on the road on Feb. 18. The Wildkats were led by senior Kayla DeWit’s 29 points and 13 rebounds. The boys won the regular season crown the same night by beating Polson 34-29 at home.

The girls ended the regular season with an 11-7 (8-0) record, while the boys only lost one game overall and finished 17-1 (7-1). They each earned first-round byes at this week’s divisional tournament, held Feb. 24-26 in Ronan.

Because of Northwestern A’s five-team structure, the Polson Lady Pirates, 11-7 (6-2), also earned a first-round bye with the No. 2 seed, as did Libby at No. 3. Libby is 8-10 (4-4).

The only first-round game scheduled for girls on Thursday is between the fourth and fifth seeds, Ronan and Whitefish, at 8 p.m. Ronan’s record is 1-17 (1-7) and Whitefish’s is 2-16 (1-7). The winner of that game will take on Columbia Falls at 6 p.m. on Friday. Polson and Libby square off at 8 p.m. Friday night.

The championship game will be held at 8 p.m. Saturday night.

In boys, Polson finished the season 13-5 (6-2) and was the only team to defeat Columbia Falls. The Pirates, led by the conference’s leading scorer Louis Mohr, take on No. 3 Whitefish at 4 p.m. on Friday. Whitefish is 11-7 (3-5).

Thursday’s first-round game is between No. 4 Libby and No. 5 Ronan. Libby’s record is 9-9 (3-5), while Ronan is 8-10 (1-7). The winner of that game advances to play No. 1 Columbia Falls 2 p.m. on Friday afternoon.

The championship game will be held at 6 p.m. on Saturday, just before the girls’ title game.

The top two teams advance to the Class A state tournament, held March 3-5 in Belgrade for girls and March 3-5 in Bozeman for boys.

In Class B, the Bigfork High School girls continued their run of dominance by defeating St. Ignatius 53-19 in the District 7-B title game. The Valkyries, 19-1, have a top seed at the Western B divisional tournament on Feb. 23-26 in Pablo.

Bigfork’s boys bounced back from a surprising 62-57 upset to Troy and defeated Plains 66-25 to claim third place in District 7-B. The top four teams advance to the Western B divisionals on Feb. 23-26 in Pablo, meaning the 15-6 Vikings will be battling alongside the girls for a chance to go to the state tournament.

Class B state for girls is March 3-5 in Butte. The boys’ tournament will be held March 10-12 in Great Falls.

Divisional tournaments are scheduled this week across the state for Class A, B and C, while Class AA is wrapping up its regular season. Glacier and Flathead play each other on Feb. 25 in the last regular season game of the year. The girls square off at 6 p.m. and the boys battle at 8 p.m. Both games are at Glacier High School.

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