Bigfork Overwhelms Huntley Project, Advances to State Championship

By Beacon Staff

BOZEMAN — For the first time in a long time, Bigfork entered the fourth quarter trailing. The boys reacted just fine.

The undefeated season remains intact, and now the Vikings are playing for a Class B state championship.

Josh Sandry scored a game-high 25 points and had 10 rebounds, Christian Evans had 10 points and nine rebounds and the Vikings (25-0) regrouped to beat the Huntley Project Red Devils 68-56 in Friday night’s Class B state semifinal game inside Brick Breeden Fieldhouse in Bozeman.

Ryder Trent hit three treys en route to nine points, Isaac Martel had eight points and six steals and Cameron Nissen had seven points and seven rebounds for the Vikes, who regained their composure late in the second half to seal the semifinal.

Bigfork plays Columbus at 8:30 p.m. Saturday night in the title game. It’s only the second championship appearance for the boys basketball team in school history and the first since 1983, when Bigfork lost to Conrad by one point in the Class B championship. The Vikes had lost in the semifinals two of the past three years.

On Friday night, it became more nerve wracking than usual.

The Vikes jumped ahead 21-9 after the first quarter but watched their lead, and momentum, disappear. By halftime the score was 31-24 and by the end of the third quarter Huntley had its first lead of the game, 46-43.

That’s when Sandry and Co. came back to life. The Vikes ripped off a 15-3 run to start the fourth quarter and put the game away, despite losing Jon Landon to a dislocated shoulder and Cam Nissen fouling out. Huntley’s star, Michael Harris, fouled out late in the game, and the Red Devils’ comeback fizzled out from there. Harris finished with 19 points, Tanner Oblender had 13 and Yancey Fitch added 11 for Huntley Project (20-4).

“We hadn’t been in that position before,” Bigfork head coach Josh Downey said.

Bigfork 21 10 12 25 – 68
H. Project 9 15 22 10 – 56
BIGFORK – Josh Sandry 9-18 6-13 25, Christian Evans 4-8 2-3 10, Cameron Nissen 3-3 1-2 7, Ryder Trent 3-6 0-0 9, Isaac Martel 3-11 0-0 8, Adam Jordt 1-2 2-5 5, Jon Landon 2-9 0-0 4. Totals 25-57 11-3 68.

HUNTLEY PROJECT – Michael Jobman 1-3 2-2 4, Yancey Fitch 3-12 2-2 11, Tanner Oblendr 3-8 7-7 13, Michael Harris 6-12 5-7 19, Kaleb Reynolds 3-12 1-1 8, Chase Mitchell 0-0 1-3 1, Quincy Wittman 0-0 0-2 0, Dallas Mack 0-1 0-0 0, Dakota Brown 0-0 0-0 0, Raymond Strobbe 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-48 18-24 56.

3-point goals – Bigfork 7-23 (Trent 3-6, Martel 2-8, Jordt 1-2, Sandry 1-4, Landon 0-3), Project 6-19 (Fitch 3-7, Harris 2-5, Reynolds 1-5, Jobman 0-1, Mack 0-1). Total fouls – Bigfork 21, Project 20. Fouled out – Nissen, Harris, Oblender. Rebounds – Bigfork 37 (Sandry 10, Evans 9), Proejct 28 (Jobman 7, Oblender 7). Steals – Bigfork 11 (Martel 6), Project 6 (Harris 2). Blocks – Bigfork 6 (Evans 3, Nissen 2, Martel), Project 4 (Mitchell 2, Oblender, Fitch). Turnovers – Bigfork 11, Project 15.

AA Boys State
Capital 63, Glacier 44

The Western AA champs defeated Glacier in the state semifinal round, sending the Wolfpack to the consolation bracket in Billings. Glacier plays Helena at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in loser-out action. The winner advances to the consolation game at 5 p.m. Capital plays Missoula Hellgate at 8:30 p.m. in a rematch of last year’s championship game. Hellgate edged Capital 58-53 in overtime last year.

Evan Epperly and Bryan Michaels both had nine points for Glacier and Tanner Olsen added eight for the Wolfpack.

Glacier 13 10 6 15 — 44
Capital 14 20 10 19 — 63

GLACIER (12-11) — Sam McCamley 1-3 2-2 5, Greg Jones 0-1 0-0 0, Evan Epperly 4-13 0-0 9, Bryan Michaels 3-8 3-3 9, Kyler Harkins 1-6 0-0 3, Tanner Olsen 3-7 0-0 8, Cain Boschee 1-1 0-0 3, Taden Gillman 1-2 1-1 3, Jaxen Hashley 1-1 0-0 2, Kevin Malloy 1-1 0-0 2, Truman Pisk 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-43 6-6 44. 3-point goals: 6-16 (Olsen 2-3, Boschee 1-1, McCamley 1-2, Epperly 1-3, Harkins 1-5, Michaels 0-1, Gillman 0-1). Fouls: 14. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 25 (Michaels 7). Assists: 9 (three with 2). Blocks: 3 (Michaels 2). Steals: 4 (four with 1). Turnovers: 15.

HELENA CAPITAL (21-1) — Kyle Nickol 3-8 0-0 8, Casey Ebelt 1-3 0-0 2, Keegan Syvrud 0-0 0-0 0, Keeley Larson 0-1 0-0 0, Kyle Harrington 2-3 4-5 9, Sean Mulcahy 3-5 0-2 6, Hunter Beto 3-9 2-2 11, Gus Chancy 0-0 1-2 1, Jason Corne 3-7 0-1 6, Carson Dummer 8-12 2-3 18, Bradley Haller 1-1 0-0 2, Sam Bryggman 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 24-50 9-15 63. 3-point goals: 6-15 (Beto 3-8, Nickol 2-4, Harrington 1-2, Larson 0-1). Fouls: 12. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 32 (Dummer 11). Assists: 15 (Harrington 5). Blocks: 1 (Dummer 1). Steals: 8 (Beto 3). Turnovers: 10.

A Girls State
Hamilton 44, Columbia Falls 39

The Wildkats nearly pulled off an amazing comeback that fell just short in the state semifinal round in Great Falls. Columbia Falls trailed 22-7 in the first half but battled back to within a basket late in the game. The Wildkats drop to loser-out action on Saturday against conference rival Frenchtown at 9:30 a.m. The winner advances to the consolation game at 6:30 p.m.

Ciera Finberg had 13 points, Haley Belgarde added 10 and Cydney Finberg had nine for the Wildkats.

Columbia Falls 4 11 8 16 — 39
Hamilton 19 9 7 9 — 44

COLUMBIA FALLS – Summer Burlage 0-2 3-4 3, Ciera Finberg 4-10 2-3 13, Cydney Finberg 3-8 3-5 9, Andrea Getts 0-3 0-0 0, Winter Kemppainen 1-6 0-4 2, Miranda Livingston 0-2 0-0 0, Kiara Brulage 1-1 0-0 2, Haley Belgarde 5-8 0-0 10. Totals: 14-40 8-16.

HAMILTON – McKayl Rothie 0-2 0-0 0, Taylor Goligoski 4-6 5-10 14, Ellie Hurlbert 2-2 0-0 4, Jaylee Albert 5-9 7-8 21, Brianna Huggans 0-2 1-4 1, Sami Kratofil 0-4 4-5 4. Totals: 11-25 17-27.

Total fouls – Columbia Falls 20, Hamilton 22. Fouled out – Huggans. Three pointers – Columbia Falls 3-10 (S. Burlage 0-1, Ciera Finberg 3-7, Cydney Finberg 0-2); Hamilton 5-12 (Rothie 0-2, Goligoski 1-2, Albert 4-6, Huggans 0-2). Rebounds – Columbia Falls 26 (Belgarde 7); Hamilton 25 (Goligoski 4, Kratofil 4). Assists – Columbia Falls 10 (Cydney Finberg 5); Hamilton 8 (Rothie 3). Turnovers – Columbia Falls 12 (Ciera Finberg 3, Cydney Finberg 3); Hamilton 18 (Albert 6). Steals – Columbia Falls 8 (Kemppainen 3, Belgarde 3); Hamilton 8 (Albert 5). Technical fouls – Columbia Falls Bench.

AA Girls State
Sentinel 37, Glacier 26

The two-time defending state champs were too much for the Wolfpack. In a low-scoring state semifinal game on Friday afternoon, the Lady Spartans outpaced Glacier 19-13 in the second half and cruised into Saturday’s Class AA state championship for the fourth consecutive year.

Olivia Roberts scored 16 points for Sentinel, who will play the winner of tonight’s Helena Capital and Billings West matchup.

Cassi Hashley led Glacier with 10 points. The Wolfpack drop to loser-out action and play Billings Senior at 9 a.m. Saturday. The winner advances to the consolation game at 3:30.

Glacier 5 8 7 6 — 26
Sentinel 8 10 12 7 — 37
GLACIER (16-7) — Taylor Salonen 0-0 0-0 0, Hailee Bennett 2-9 0-0 5, Taylor Loomis 0-6 1-2 1, Hannah Atlee 1-3 0-2 2, Cassi Hashley 3-5 4-8 10, Hailey Ruggles 0-0 0-0 0, Katie Thomas 1-2 0-0 3, Katie Wiley 1-3 0-0 2, Tessa Krueger 1-2 0-0 2, Ali Williams 0-0 1-2 1. Totals: 9-30 6-14 26. 3-point goals: 2-11 (Thomas 1-2, Bennett 1-4, Atlee 0-1, Loomis 0-2, Wiley 0-2). Fouls: 19. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 20 (Hashley 11). Assists: 8 (Bennett 4). Blocks: 3 (three with 1). Steals: 5 (Hashley 2). Turnovers: 14.

MISSOULA SENTINEL (21-1) — Haley Rogers 0-0 1-2 1, Jill Madsen 0-0 2-2 2, Maddie Keast 0-4 0-0 0, Jess Henning 0-0 0-0 0, Lexi Steele 1-3 2-5 5, Shannon Worster 1-1 0-0 3, Olivia Roberts 5-12 5-7 16, Sam Harper 3-5 0-2 6, Emily Beach 1-5 2-2 4. Totals: 11-30 12-20 37. 3-point goals: 3-7 (Worster 1-1, Roberts 1-2, Steele 1-3, Keast 0-1). Fouls: 11. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 31 (Roberts 7). Assists: 7 (Steele 3). Blocks: 3 (Harper 2). Steals: 9 (Roberts 4). Turnovers: 11.

State Scores
Updated 9 p.m.
BOYS BASKETBALL
State AA at Billings (Metra)
Semifinal

Helena Capital 63, Glacier 44
Loser Out
Great Falls Russell 62, Great Falls 57
Helena 62, Billings Skyview 60

State B at Bozeman
Semifinal

Bigfork 68, Huntley Project 56
Loser Out
Florence 44, Jefferson (Boulder) 37
Malta 66, Joliet 52

GIRLS BASKETBALL
State AA at Billings (Metra)
Semifinal

Billings West 46, Helena Capital 45, OT
Missoula Sentinel 37, Glacier 26
Loser Out
Billings Senior 69, Missoula Big Sky 40
Great Falls 51, Bozeman 40

State A at Great Falls
Semifinal

Hamilton 44, Columbia Falls 39
Loser Out
Miles City 59, Belgrade 46
Frenchtown 65, Anaconda 52

State B at Bozeman
Semifinal

Fairfield 59, Shepherd 33
Malta 51, Deer Lodge 34
Loser Out
Forsyth 45, Columbus 43
Manhattan 48, Missoula Loyola 43

State C at Hamilton
Semifinal

Belt 44, Saco-Whitewater 34
Loser Out
Winnet-Grass Range 47, Jordan 29
Harlowton-Ryegate 45, Gardiner 36

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