Glacier Topples Defending State Co-champion Hellgate in Play-in Game

No. 7 Wolfpack takes down No. 2 Hellgate to advance to state tournament

Will Salonen of the Glacier Wolfpack takes a shot against the Flathead Braves at Glacier High School in Kalispell on Jan. 22, 2021. The Braves beat the Wolfpack 62-48. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Keifer Spohnhauer scored on a fastbreak layup with time running out to give Glacier a 45-43 road win over the Hellgate boys basketball team in a Western AA state play-in game Tuesday.

Glacier (7-8) entered the game as a No. 7 seed and fourth-ranked Hellgate (10-5) as a No. 2 seed. The Wolfpack advanced to play in the state tournament, which will start next Wednesday in Great Falls.

With under 10 seconds left and the score tied, a Hellgate player drove in for a potential game-winning layup but it hit hard off the backboard and was rebounded by a Glacier player. He passed the ball to a teammate who saw Spohnhauer darting way down the court and he hit him in stride with a long pass.

The game was the close the whole way. The score was tied at 35-35 after three quarters and Glacier held a slim 24-22 lead at halftime.

The finish was particularly gratifying for the senior Spohnhauer, who missed almost three weeks of the season in January with an ankle injury. Hellgate beat Glacier twice in the regular season, 59-29 and 54-40. 

Beckett Arthur and Brogan Callaghan each scored 11 points to lead the Knights. Jaxson Olsen led the Wolfpack with 10 points.

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