By George Ferguson
The Harlem Wildcats may have forgotten what it was like to lose a basketball game - it has been that long since they actually lost.
Harlem, riding a 14-game winning streak into this past weekend's District 2B tournament in Malta, emerged unscathed as they defeated the Glasgow Scotties for the third time this season in Saturday night's championship game at the Malta Gymnasium.
The Wildcats knocked off the Scotties in the final tilt, 55-47. to capture the 2B crown. The Wildcats and Scotties went back and forth in the first half. Harlem raced out to an a 16-9 first quarter lead, but the Scotties were able to take the momentum by going on a 18-6 surge in the second quarter that gave them a 27-22 halftime lead. The Scotties maintained a slim one-point lead after a close third quarter. But the Wildcats went on a one of their classic scoring runs in the fourth quarter to take the lead and ultimately put the Scotties away.
Harlem was led by the trio of Hank Brockie, Chris Cole and Colby Fetter, who scored 14 points apiece. The Scotties were led in the loss by Sam Brelje's game-high 16 points.
The Wildcats reached the championship game by way of a first-round bye and a semifinal win over Plentywood, 79-63, on Friday night. Harlem got 28 points from Chris Cole and 20 from Ben Carrywater while Jim Kennedy also chipped in with 15 points in the win.
Harlem (19-1) will have a week of rest before they travel to Shelby for the North-East B Divisional tournament. The Wildcats will open the tourney on Feb. 27 when they take on the Fort Benton Longhorns.
The District 2B tournament was not as kind to the Chinook Sugarbeeters. The Beeters opened district play on Thursday night with a close 57-51 loss at the hands of the third-seeded Malta Mustangs. The Beeters outscored Malta, 17-13, in the second quarter to take a 25-24 lead at halftime. The two teams then played an even third quarter that gave Chinook a one-point lead going into the fourth quarter. However, the Mustangs outscored the Beeters 20-13 down the stretch to grab the seven-point win.
Chinook got 15 points from Casey Schmitt and nine from Kelan Broadhead in the losing effort.
On Friday afternoon, the Beeters were not able to stave off elimination as they were upset by Wolf Point, 57-49, in loser-out action. The Beeters trailed 38-31 going into the fourth quarter and could not overcome the six-point deficit despite an 18-point fourth quarter.
The Beeters got 21 points from Schmitt and seven from Matt Roseberry in the loss. With the two losses, the Beeters season comes to and end with a 4-16 overall record.
It was also tough going for Hi-Line teams at this weekend's District 10C tournament in Shelby. The second-seeded Chester Coyotes received a first-round bye on Thursday, but were then upset Friday night, 81-76, by the Heart Butte Warriors in semifinal action.
The first half was very closely contested as the Warriors held a slim 37-34 lead at halftime. The third quarter however spelled doom for Chester as Heart Butte went on a 23-13 run that opened up a 60-47 lead with eight minutes remaining in the contest. Chester rallied late by outscoring the Warriors 30-21 in the final stanza, but still came up short.
The Coyotes were led by Travis VanDyke's game-high 25 points while Nick Lasorte also chipped in with 15 points in the losing effort.
Chester did manage to bounce back from Friday night's loss to Heart Butte by defeating Valier, 60-50, in Saturday morning loser-out action. The Coyotes got a game-high 23 points from VanDyke in that victory.
The win over Valier then set up a Saturday night consolation final with the J-I Rams which Chester won 56-52. The game was close throughout as the Coyotes held a 27-24 lead at intermission. Chester added to its lead by going on a 19-10 run in the third quarter. J-I rallied with a 19-10 run of its own in the fourth quarter but could not get the win. Despite the win, the Coyotes and Rams season came to an end thanks to Dutton-Brady's win over Heart Butte in Saturday night's championship game.
The Rams reached the consolation final with a first-round 76-57 route of Valier. The Rams got 22 points from Justin Johnson and 21 from Craig Miller in the win. The Rams were then defeated by Dutton-Brady in the semifinals, 79-48. Zach Ramberg led the way for J-I in the loss with 17 points and Johnson added 14. The loss to Dutton-Brady set up their meeting with Chester in Saturday night's consolation final.