George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor firstname.lastname@example.org
It probably isn't a surprise to any one that the Rocky Boy Stars are now in tonight's Class C semifinals where they'll face the Plenty Coups Warriors at the Butte Civic Center with a trip to the state championship game on the line. But how much gas is left in Rocky Boy's tank, well that's anybody's guess. Rocky Boy had to play twice on Thursday's first round of the state tournament in Butte just to get into the semifinals, and play well the Stars did. In the Thursday morning's play-in game, the Stars forced District 9C rival Big Sandy into a season-high 33 turnovers in a 74-65 win over the Pioneers to advance into the first round of the tournament. The win over the Pioneers was the fourth this year for the Stars, but Thursday's wasn't easy. Big Sandy played a strong first quarter, jumping out to a 15-14 lead. Rocky Boy rallied behind its pressure defense and some hot shooting by Jarod Parker and Mike Sangrey Jr. On its way to a 38-32 halftime lead. In the second half, the Pioneers went to their star players Blake Brumwell and Corbin Pearson, and after a 3-pointer by Ryne LaBuda at the 1:47 mark of the third quarter, the Pioneers led 49-47. But Rocky Boy responded by scoring seven unanswered points to close out the period, and then the Stars outscored Big Sandy 20-16 in the final eight minutes to win by nine points. Despite committing 21 turnovers themselves, the Stars got 17 points from Rodney Turn Toes and 15 from Erik Schildt in the win. Parker added 12 points and Chad Taylor, who missed the Northern C championship game with an injury, came off the bench to score 12 points as well. Rocky Boy also overcame monster outings from Brumwell and Pearson. Brumwell poured in a game-high 27 points, while Pearson added 19 points in the loss. The win over Big Sandy in the morning pushed Rocky Boy into Thursday night's final game against Eastern C champion Scobey. And the Stars showed no signs of slowing down as they raced past the Spartans 75-56. Again, Rocky Boy trailed early, but the Stars went on an 11-0 run in the second quarter to lead 24-18, and by halftime, the Stars had outscored Scobey 24-9 to lead 32-23, and they never looked back. Turn Toes again paced Rocky Boy with 15 points, while Sangrey Jr. Added 14 points and Schildt and Parker chipped in with 10 points each. Scobey got 15 points from Michael Dighans in the loss. The two wins on Thursday puts Rocky Boy one game away from the state championship game, where, if they beat Plenty Coups tonight, will face either unbeaten Winifred (24-0) or unbeaten Twin Bridges (25-0). On Thursday, the Northern C champion Red Raiders ousted Fairview 45-38 and Twin Bridges knocked off Wibaux 46-39. In the other first round game, Plenty Coups got past Shields Valley 64-60, setting up tonight's meeting with the Stars (20-4). The semifinals get under way tonight at 6:30 with Winifred and Twin Bridges and Rocky Boy and Plenty Coups, the two highest scoring teams in the tournament, will tip off at 8. Meanwhile, Big Sandy (16-11) will try to keep its season alive when it plays Wibaux in a loser-out game this morning. The Class C state tournament continues through Saturday night at the Butte Civic Center.