Daniel Horton Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
The 22nd annual Hi-Line Invitational took place at the Montana State University-Northern Armory gymnasium this weekend, and with all the talent in attendance, the girls’ basketball tournament lived up to any and all expectations. The HIT started early Saturday morning and went through Sunday afternoon. And making the trip to Havre were some of the better girls from across the state, making up a Class AA, Class A, Class B and Class C team. On Saturday, the Class C defeated the Class B 93-79, the Class A defeated the Class AA 73-69, the Class AA defeated the Class B 70-58 and the Class A defeated the Class C 98-66. And on Sunday, the Class C defeated the Class AA 83-77 and the Class A defeated the Class B 77-66. In the consolation matchup Class B barely edged out Class AA and got a 75-72 overtime victory. And in another close game, the Class A defeated the Class C 96-93 in a come-from-behind victory for the championship. When the Class B and Class AA teams met on Saturday, the Class AA walked away with a 12-point victory. But when the two teams would meet again in the consolation game on Sunday, things were much closer. Great Falls High’s Brittany Kumm led the AA with 13 points on Sunday, but it was Malta’s Bobbi Knudsen’s 14 points that led all scoring, and led the Class B to a third-place finish. The second meeting between Class A and Class C was also much closer than the first. After the Class A got a dominating 98-66 win over Class C on Saturday, Class C came back and led most of the way during Sunday’s championship matchup. At the end of the first quarter it was all knotted up at 17-17, but in the last minute of the second frame the Class C squad pulled away once again. Bailey Snelling (Harlowton High School) and Sydnee Burke (Sheridan High School) led the Class C to an 8-2 run to close out the half. After both Snelling and Sydnee hit big 3-point shots for the Class C, they entered the half up 46-40. And the second half started how the first half ended for the Class C. Sacarra Molina (Hinsdale High School) knocked down a three to get things started, and on the following possession Kelcy Lott (Twin Bridges High School) followed with a three of her own to put the Class C up 52-44. The lead for Class C was as big as 12 points, and as small as four in the third quarter, but good defense and consistent shooting kept them ahead, and put them up 74-66 heading into the final quarter of play. But with the talent head coach Bill Hill from Anaconda was housing on the Class A squad it was only a matter of time before they made their move. After slowly chipping away at the Class C lead throughout the fourth quarter it was Shanae Gilham’s (Browning High School) pull-up three with :18 seconds to play that gave the Class A the 94-92 lead. Laci Keller (Big Sandy High School) brought the Class C to within one after a 1-of-2 trip to the line, but after McKenzie Scofield (Livingston High School) knocked down her two foul attempts she put the Class A back up by three. Snelling had one last shot attempt for the Class C to send the game into overtime, but when her last second three was blocked the Class A captured the come-from-behind win, 96-93 for the HIT championship. There were four girls who ended with double figures for the Class C, including Keller who led with 23 points. Molina knocked down 14 and Bailey followed with 13 and Sydnee with 12. But they were slightly outdone by the five girls scoring in double figures for the Class A. Jordan Sullivan (Sidney High School) led with 22 points, while Jackie Mee (Libby High School) accounted for 19. Scofield and Torry Hill (Anaconda High School) both pitched in with 16 points each, and Gilham knocked down 13 including her game winner. From the large talent pool that was at the Armory gymnasium this weekend the HIT All-Tournament team was also picked on Sunday. Making the team was Class AA’s Alex Dawkins (Bozeman High School) and Monica Grimsrud (Helena High School), the Class C’s Snelling (Harlowton High School), Laci Keller (Big Sandy High School) and Molina (Hinsdale High School), the Class B’s Kylee Denham (Malta High School), McKenzie Foster (Sweet Grass County High School) and Kassie Barta (Fairfield High School), and the Class A’s Gilham (Browning High School), McKenzie Scofield (Livingston High School) and Sullivan (Sidney High School). After the weekend’s eight matchups, there were also some much-earned awards handed out to a select few. Sullivan achieved the highest honor as the HIT Most Valuable Player but also earned leading rebounder with 53. Snelling was the winner of Saturday’s 3-point contest and Lott earned the Miss Hustle award. Miss Defense was awarded to Grimsrud, while Knudsen led in steals and Keller led in scoring with 80 points over her four games.