For 23 games this season, the Bigfork Vikings have been peerless. Now the boys are hoping to keep it that way for three more games.
The Class B state championship tournament tips off Thursday in Bozeman with eight teams vying for the title. Bigfork, Glasgow and Huntley Project are the three top seeds from the west, north and south divisions, respectively.
The top-ranked Vikings open action against Joliet (17-9), the fourth seed from the south, at noon on Thursday.
Huntley Project (19-3) takes on the two-time defending state champs, Malta (17-6), at 1:30 p.m. Boulder (21-3) opens action against Glasgow (20-3) at 6:30 p.m. Columbus (18-5) takes on Florence (13-10) at 8 p.m.
Joliet lost to Boulder, 49-39, in the third-place game of the Southern B divisional tournament. Huntley Project beat Columbus 44-35 in the divisional championship. Boulder ousted Forsyth, the No. 2-ranked team in the state, at the divisional tournament.
Bigfork is chasing history and seeking its first basketball championship. The school’s lone appearance in the title game came in 1983, when Bigfork lost to Conrad 75-74.
This year’s bracket features a few new contenders. Among the field of tournament teams, only Malta and Huntley Project (2007) have won a championship in the last decade. Malta outlasted Wolf Point 66-62 in overtime last year, and defeated Manhattan 67-62 in the 2012 title game.
Of the current alignment, no team from the West has won a Class B boys basketball state championship since 1987, when Plains edged Wolf Point, 85-81.
Brick Breeden Field House, Bozeman
Noon – Joliet (17-9) vs. Bigfork (23-0)
1:30 p.m. – Huntley Project (19-3) vs. Malta (17-6)
6:30 p.m. – Glasgow (20-3) vs. Boulder (21-3)
8 p.m. – Columbus (18-5) vs. Florence-Carlton (13-10)
6:30 p.m. – Bigfork-Joliet winner vs. Huntley Project-Malta winner
8 p.m. – Glasgow-Boulder winner vs. Columbus-Florence-Carlton winner
8:30 p.m. – Championship
RELATED: Above the Rim
Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.
Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.