George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor email@example.com
For the second straight season, Havre and Montana State University- Northern will be the sight of some of the best season-opening high school basketball around. On Friday morning, the Northern Native American Classic will get under way at the MSU-Northern Fieldhouse, with eight teams set to the make their season debuts. The tournament, which features both boys and girls games, includes three District 9C schools in Rocky Boy, Box Elder and Hays-Lodge Pole. On the boys side, Rocky Boy is the defending 9C champion and the Class C state runner-up from a year ago. The Stars return most of that group and should be one of the favorites to capture the Class C state title this season. Hays-Lodge Pole, under the guidance of head coach Charlie Ereaux, captured a state championship back in 2006, and still has plenty of firepower coming into this season. Box Elder, a surprise team at last year's 9C tournament, is considered a young squad, but the Bears have talent and should be exciting to watch. The boys tournament also features the Browning junior varsity team, as well as Kainai, Alberta and three strong Class C teams in Heart Butte, Dodson and Two Eagle River. Heart Butte should be a strong contender in the District 10C this season. The boys tourney gets under at 9:45 a. m. on Friday with Box Elder taking on the Browning JV's. HLP faces Heart Butte at 12:45 and Dodson take on Two Eagle at 3:45. Friday's night session includes Rocky Boy playing Kainai at 6:45. The boys tourney continues on Saturday with games at 11 a.m. and 2 p. m. The winners bracket games will be played at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturday night. The girls tournament should also be exciting. Rocky Boy and Box Elder are going to be two teams that could make some noise in the 9C this season, but both are a little on the young side. Still, neither is short on talent. HLP is also young and inexperienced in places, but the T-Birds return their top two scorers from a year ago. The girls tourney kicks off Friday at 11:15 a.m. with Rocky Boy squaring off against Two Eagle River, followed by Kainai and HLP at 2:15 p.m. Dodson and the Browning JV's start the night session at 5:15 p.m. and Heart Butte and Box Elder will end the first day's action at 8:15 p.m. The girls tourney starts back up at 9:30 a.m. Saturday with a pair of loser-out games. The girls winners bracket games will be played at 3:30 p. m. and 6:30 p.m. Once again, all of the action at the Native American Classic will take place at the MSU-Northern Fieldhouse Friday and Saturday in Havre.