Northwestern A Divisional: Columbia Falls Claims Sixth Straight Title

By Beacon Staff

Make it six.

The Columbia Falls Wildcats powered past rival Whitefish 51-37 to win their sixth consecutive Northwestern A conference championship on Sunday night at Glacier High School.

Senior forward Jared Trinastich scored a game-high 14 points and senior guard Alex Presnell netted 11 as the Wildcats dismantled the Bulldogs with confident sharp shooting and a stingy defense.

Columbia Falls (16-4) cruises into the Class A state tournament and will play Havre at 2 p.m. Thursday in the opening round in Great Falls. Last year the Wildcats brought home a third-place trophy from the state tournament. Since 2009, Columbia Falls not finished below third place. Cary Finberg’s squad won the title in 2011, placed second both in 2012 and 2009 and earned third in 2010 and 2013.

Whitefish (11-9) will play Polson (5-15) on Monday night at 7:30 p.m. at Glacier High School in a challenge game to see which team advances to state. The Bulldogs are hoping to punch their ticket for the first time in five years.

Facing a tough test against their rivals, who swept the Bulldogs during the regular season, seniors EJ Havens and Arthur Doorn both scored 13 points apiece for Whitefish, which trailed by double digits the entire second half. Havens scored five points in a matter of seconds in the fourth quarter to cut Columbia Falls’ lead to 10 early in the fourth. But the Bulldogs’ offense fell flat after that, scoring only five points in the final five minutes of the game.

Senior Nakia Alexander scored nine points for the Wildcats, junior Ty Morgan had six and Jayce Fagerland and Grant Wallace each added four.

AJ Wetsch chipped in seven for Whitefish.

Consolation Game
Polson 58, Frenchtown 38

Cedrick Smith scored 18 points, Andrew Weltz had 15 and the Pirates eliminated Frenchtown in the consolation game of Sunday’s Northwestern A tournament, keeping their hopes of playing at state alive.

Andrew Curley chipped in 11 for Polson, which outscored Frenchtown 32-18 in the second half.

Bridger Truett scored 18 for the Broncs (13-8).

Frenchtown 13 7 6 12 – 38
Polson 11 15 16 16 – 58

FRENCHTOWN – John Chapman 0 1-3 1, Quintin Mazzola 1 0-0 3, Andrew Honken 3 1-2 7, Bridger Truett 6 2-2 18, Jordan Moe 2 2-2 7, Andrew King 1 0-1 2. Totals 13 6-10 38.

POLSON – Hudson Smith 2 1-2 5, Cedrick Smith 6 4-4 18, Andrew Weltz 3 9-12 15, Andrew Curley 4 1-1 11, Tanner Wilson 1 0-2 3, Matthew Rensvold 2 2-2 6. Totals 18 17-23 58.

3-pointers – Frenchtown 6 (Truett 4, Moe, Mazzola); Polson 5 (Smith 2, Curley 2, Wilson); Team fouls – Frenchtown 14, Polson 10. Fouled out – Truett.

Earlier Loser-Out Game

Frenchtown 13 19 21 20 – 73
Libby 4 2 17 17 – 40

FRENCHTOWN – John Chapman 6 0-3 13, Quintin Mazzola 4 0-1 8, DJ Dimmick 2 2-4 6, Andrew Honken 5 4-4 15, Bridger Truett 4 2-2 11, Jacob Price 2 0-0 4, Levi Lind 2 0-0 4, Jordan Moe 1 0-0 2, Bobby Erbaugh 3 0-0 6, Austin Means 0 1-2 1, Andrew King 1 1-2 3. Totals 30 10-18 73.

LIBBY – Luke Adamson 0 1-2 1, Jonny Cielak 1 1-2 3, Collin Johnson 1 1-2 4, Jared Winslow 7 3-5 20, Michael Curtiss 1 4-4 6, Quinn Sullivan 2 2-2 6. Totals 12 12-17 40.

3-pointers – Frenchtown 3 (Honken, Truett, Chapman); Libby 4 (Winslow 3, Johnson); Team fouls – Frenchtown 14, Libby 13. Fouled out – None.

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