Hoops Roundup: C-Falls Girls Stay Perfect; Flathead Boys Notch First Win

Bigfork girls rebound to win twice; Vikings boys have five-game winning streak snapped

By Andy Viano
The Wildkats huddle before the start of the game. Columbia Falls defeated Hardin 73-50 to win the Class A state championship in Butte on March 4, 2017. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Columbia Falls began conference play with a pair of lopsided wins, Glacier hung tough with undefeated Missoula Sentinel and Bigfork bounced back with a couple of comfortable victories during the first full week of girls basketball in 2020.

The Wildkats (7-0, 2-0 Northwest A) improved to 32-2 since the start of the 2018-19 season and crushed conference rivals Libby and Polson last week, dropping the Loggers 62-18 on Jan. 9 and running away from the Pirates 61-28 two days later. One of the state’s most consistent programs, Columbia Falls has placed in the top three in the state each of the last six seasons, and the Wildkats boast a win over a Class AA team already this year, beating Glacier 58-49 on Dec. 19.

The Wolfpack, meanwhile, nearly upended one of the top teams in the Western AA on Saturday before falling 61-53 to Missoula Sentinel (6-0, 2-0 Western AA). Glacier (2-4, 1-1) crushed Missoula Big Sky 67-21 on Jan. 7. Across town, Flathead (2-3, 1-1) earned its first conference win on Jan. 11, topping the Eagles 33-19.

In Class B, Bigfork’s girls snapped a modest two-game losing streak with a 51-8 blowout of Troy on Jan. 7 and notched a nonconference win four days later, taking down Deer Lodge 36-22. The Valkyries (6-3, 3-0 District 7B) already own wins over three of their four conference rivals.

On the boys side, two-time defending state champion Bigfork has rallied from a slow start to the season although they came up on the short end of a 43-39 decision against the Wardens on Jan. 11. The Vikings (5-4, 2-1) had won five straight before Saturday’s loss. Eureka (5-3, 3-0) still sits atop District 7B and has won its three conference games by a combined four points, including a 50-49 victory against Thompson Falls on Jan. 11.

Defending league champion Browning appears to once again be the class of Northwest A and the Running Indians showed off their scoring prowess in a 90-39 rout of Cut Bank on Jan. 10. Browning (5-2, 3-0) and Libby (5-1, 2-0) are the only two undefeated teams in league play and were supposed to play on Jan. 11, but that game was postponed.

In Class AA, Flathead broke into the win column for the first time this season, beating Big Sky 60-46 on Saturday. The Braves (1-4, 1-1) lost to Sentinel two days earlier, and the Spartans finished off a weekend sweep of Kalispell teams with a 51-35 win against Glacier (4-2, 1-1) on Jan. 11.

Updated standings in Western AA, Northwest A and District 7B are available here.

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