With the postseason tournaments drawing closer and closer, regular season games are also growing in importance. And there were plenty of games to go around the Hi-Line this weekend.
Thursday night the Hays-Lodge Pole Thunderbirds and Turner Tornadoes met in 9C action. And it was the Thunderbirds who came away with the always-important conference win, defeating the Tornadoes 66-44.
Turner got off to a slow start offensively, and HLP took advantage. After the Tornadoes posted five first quarter points, the Thunderbirds found themselves up 12 after the first eight minutes. And at the half, the Thunderbirds held a 30-23 lead. The Tornadoes made a push in the second half with 21 points, but the Thunderbirds fended off any comeback with 36 second half points of their own.
Travis Daniels had yet another spectacular game for Turner with a game-high 23 points. But to follow, Gavin Maloney had nine.
For the Thunderbirds, it was Derek Doney who led the way with 13 points. Tyler Roberts and Trent Kirkaldie also helped lead the way with 10 points each. Ty Racine and Scott Bradley also added eight points apiece.
On Friday the 1B Rocky Boy Stars captured another win as well.
On the road in Conrad, the Stars defeated the conference rival Conrad Cowboys 51-45.
But the Stars didn’t jet out of the gates like they are accustomed to, and it was the Cowboys who held the one point lead after the first quarter was in the books. But the Stars outscored the Cowboys 13-2 in the second to take the 22-12 halftime lead.
Overall, it was a tight game all night long. Conrad bounced back with a 22 point third quarter, and trailed the Stars by just four points with one quarter yet to be played. The Stars edged out the Cowboys with a 13-11 fourth quarter for the slight six point victory.
Leisen Oats played a major role in the victory with 20 points, while Kirby Lafromboise pitched in 16. Shane Bacon added six, while Skylar LaForge finished with four points.
The 2B Harlem Wildcats also saw Friday night action. But in a less fortunate series of events, the Wildcats were defeated 68-26 by the hosting Wolf Point Wolves.
Devone LaSarte led the Wildcats with seven points, but the Wolves' defense proved to be too much. Branden Hammond and Cole McCann also scored six points each for the Wildcats.
Friday also saw the 9C Box Elder Bears defeated by Sunburst 66-61, the 9C Chinook Sugarbeeters defeat Geraldine 57-24, the 10C Chester/J-I Hawks defeated by Heart Butte 57-24, the 9C Thunderbirds defeat the 9C Big Sandy Pioneers 67-64 and the 9C Knights defeated by Highwood 52-48.
Saturday also brought plenty of basketball to Hi-Line fans.
The top-ranked Rocky Boy Stars were back in action and won another close matchup. This time the Stars defeated Choteau 55-52 in another 1B matchup. The two weekend wins pushed the Stars to 9-1 overall and 6-0 in league play.
The Stars got off to another slow start and had to play from behind. And after the Bulldogs took a 14-9 first quarter lead, the Stars had to muster a 14-8 second quarter to take a 23-22 lead at intermission. But giving the Stars a run for their money, the Bulldogs had another big quarter, outscoring the Stars 18-12 in the third. It took a 20 point fourth for the Stars to earn the victory.
Oats led the Stars again, this time with a game-high 28 points. Kirby Lafromboise added 14.
The Stars will host Cascade tonight, and will play Fairfield on the road on Friday.
The Harlem Wildcats suffered their second loss of the weekend on Saturday, this time losing 52-44 to Plentywood in another 2B showdown.
The Wildcats fought for the lead all night, but the game came down to the fourth quarter. Harlem was up 13-10 after the first quarter, trailed 26-25 after the second and held a 36-34 lead after three quarters. But after being outscored 18-8 in the fourth, Plentywood ran away with the game and the win.
In a valiant effort, Hammond and Skyler Speaks Thunder both led Harlem with 12 points each. Jimmy Werk also scored nine, while Travis FirstRaised added six. McCann also added five points.
In more 9C action, the Knights and Tornadoes also faced off on Saturday.
The Knights grabbed the 54-43 win and the Tornadoes suffered their second loss of the weekend.
Jordy Donoven led the Knights with 21 points, while Connor Kline added 13. And it was their production that helped the Knights come away with the win after trailing 12-10 to start the game.
The Tornadoes made a push late with a 16 point fourth quarter, but the Knights offense was too much as the went on to put up 13 in the second quarter, 14 in the third and 17 in the fourth.
Daniels had 15 points to lead the Tornadoes and Maloney added 13. Dusty Mohar also had eight points and Levi Humphreys had six.
The Big Sandy Pioneers and Box Elder Bears also faced off in 9C play. And it was the Pioneers who got the upper hand, defeating the Bears 71-61.
The Pioneers got of to a good start; putting the Bears in a hole they couldn’t dig out of. Big Sandy’s 19 point first quarter and 25 point second quarter gave the Pioneers a comfortable 44-26 lead at the half. And though the Bears posted 23 in the third quarter, they came up short at the end of regulation.
Leading the Bears was Jesse Ramos with 20 points and Lance Young with 17. Dakota Standing Rock also added 10.
And for the Pioneers, it was Trevor Lackner leading the way with 17 and C.J. Hanson adding 13. Zack Leader also had 12.
Big Sandy will face North Star on Friday, and Box Elder will host Chinook on Thursday.
The 9C Chinook Sugarbeeters and 10C Chester/J-I Hawks rounded off the weekend’s matchups.
And in a big nonconference win, it was the Beeters who defeated the Hawks 53-39 in Chester.
Both teams were pretty even at the start of the game but a big second half boosted the Beeters to victory. Chinook held a 12-10 lead after the first quarter, but the Hawks held a 25-22 lead at the half. But as the Beeters heated up, they posted a 31-14 second half.
Ryne Tyler put up 14 points in the Hawks efforts and Ceddy Pogue and Lane Harmon combined for 18. But Chinook’s Chris Haider led the Beeters to victory with 14. Lane Schmitt and Taylor Erskine also put up 11 each, while Tyler Molyneaux added eight.
Thursday the Beeters will travel to Box Elder and C/J-I will travel to Sunburst.
Hays-Lodge Pole 66, Turner 44
Turner 5 18 11 10—44
Hays-Lodge Pole 12 18 16 20—66
Turner — Travis Daniels 23, Action Matthews 1, Levi Humphreys 2, Aaron Van Valkane 6, Dusty Mohar 3, Gavin Maloney 9.
Hays-Lodge Pole — Ty Racine 8, Scott Bradley 8, Jeff Sarrell 4, Derek Doney 13, Clifford Black Elk 3, Bruce Denny 4, Nolan Werk 6, Tyler Roberts 10, Trent Kirkaldie 10.
Rocky Boy 51, Conrad 45
Rocky Boy 9 13 16 13 – 51
Conrad 10 2 22 11 – 45
Rocky Boy — Leisen Oats 20, Skylar LaForge 4, Shane Bacon 6, Dusty Standing Rock 2, Colby Abbott 3, Kirby Lafromboise 16.
Conrad — Graham Grubb 14, Grant Grubb 12, Clay Winters 9, Sam Larson 3, Ben Moerkerke 7.
Wolf Point 68, Harlem 26
Harlem 10 7 7 2 – 26
Wolf Point 13 31 20 4 - 68
Harlem — Lex Molina 2, Devone LaSarte 7, Bud Buck 3, Travis First Raised 1, Brandon Hammond 6, Jimmy Werk 1, Cole McCann 6.
Wolf Point — Matthew Weeks 6, Tucker Toavs 2, Jesse Driftwood 5, Easton Copenhaver 6, Layne Nelson 2, Martin Weeks 4, Mechiah Zilkoski 29, Jacob Bauer 14.
Rocky Boy 55, Choteau 52
Choteau 14 8 18 12 — 52
Rocky Boy 9 14 12 20 — 55
Choteau — Chase Crabtree 6, David Lithtner 11, Nate Durocher 6, Austin Walker 8, Isaac Howard 12, Chris Schlesser 9, Totals: 19 12-13.
Rocky Boy — Leisin Oats 28, Garrett Anderson 3, Skyler LaForge 2, Shane Bacon 2, Dusty Standingrock 3, Colby Abbott 3, Kirby Lafromboise 14. Totals: 20 12-14.
Plentywood 52, Harlem 44
Plentywood 10 16 8 18 — 52
Harlem 13 12 11 8 — 44
Plenywood — Brady Osksa 11, Rob Nyby 11, Cody Lindblom 14, Matt McCoy 8, Jackson Marsh 4, Pres Harris 4. Totals: 19 11-17.
Harlem — Skyler SpeaksThunder 12, Travis FirstRaised 6, Cole McCann 5, Brandon Hammond 12, Jimmy Werk 9. Totals: 17 9-17.
North Star 54, Turner 42
Turner 12 10 5 16 — 42
North Star 10 13 14 17 — 54
Turner — Travis Daniels 15, Alton Mathews 1, Levi Humphreys 6, Dusty Mohar 8, Gavin Maloney 13. Totals: 15 11-15.
North Star — Cooer Spicher 2, Jordy Donoven 21, Quinn Spinler 4, Connor Kline 13, Zach Anderson 1, Dylan Crittenden 8, Karston Donoven 5. Totals: 24 4-15
Big Sandy boys 71, Box Elder 61
Big Sandy 19 25 15 12 — 71
Box Elder 11 15 23 12 — 61
Big Sandy — CJ Hanson 13, D. Briese 5, C. Darlington 9, T. Lackner 17, J. Bailey 9, Z. Leader 12, J. Stevens 6. Totals: 26 16-40.
Box Elder — L. Young 17, J. Ramos 20, J. Burns 8, D. Standingrock 10, T. Parisian 4, I. Bigknife 2. Totals: 23 10-18.
Chinook 53, Chester/J-I 39
C/J-I 10 15 4 10 — 39
Chinook 12 10 14 17 — 53
C/J-I — Grant Lakey 6, Ryne Tyler 14, Ceddy Pogue 9, Lane Harmon 9. Totals: 12 10-14.
Chinook — Lane Schmitt 11, Tyler Molyneaux 8, Taylor Erskine 11, Chris Haider 14, Brandon Riplenburg 2, Grant Tilleman 7. Totals: 17 15-21.