If it seems like the Chinook Sugarbeeters are winning everything right now, it’s because they are.
In fact, it seems like if it’s a sport played with a ball, the Beeters will have success with it.
And it was no different Saturday night at the District 9C basketball tournament in Havre where both the Chinook boys and girls captured 9C championships.
The Chinook girl’s victory over Box Elder was somewhat of a surprise. But examining things closer, maybe it shouldn’t be.
First, the Beeters had plenty of talent returning this season, and add to that fact a polished 6-0 freshman post player in Makhalya Farmer. Then there’s new-old head coach Charlie Robinson, who came over from the North Star boys program this season. Robinson is one of the deans of Montana high school basketball, so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that he was able to take a talented, tall and athletic team and mold them into district champions.
Chinook’s upset of the ultra-talented Box Elder Bears on Saturday night is just another in a long line of recent Sugarbeeter triumphs, triumphs which began on the girls side last spring with a state championship in tennis.
And it didn’t stop with the girls trophy.
One of the most celebrated senior classes in recent Chinook history on the boys side ran away with the 9C boys title on Saturday night, just as many predicted.
In a rematch of last year’s 9C championship game, a new-look Big Sandy team was no match for the powerful Beeters. And while veterans like Chris Haider, Taylor Erskine, Layne Schmitt and Tyler Molyneaux were just carrying over Chinook’s success from its football state championship, and it’s magical run to a runner-up finish at the Northern C a year ago, some new Beeters helped too. Zach Molyneaux, Grant Tilleman and Brandon Riphenburg got into the act against the Pioneers on Saturday night, showing that Chinook boys basketball is here to stay.
What’s more impressive is, for the first time in a long time, the Chinook boys were picked to do what they’ve done this season, and they’ve backed up those predictions with their play on the floor. Teams with high expectations don’t always meet them, but Chinook has pretty much run through every challenge put in front of it this season.
And while Saturday night at the Havre High gymnasium turned into another celebration of just how successful sports are in Chinook right now, the Northern C is just a few days away, and if the Beeters succeed in Great Falls too, it won’t come as a surprise to this sports writer.
It won’t be a surprise because Chinook is just that good right now. If you’re a Sugarbeeter and you play a sport with a ball these days, chances are, a trophy is in your future.
In other words, it’s good to wear the black and orange these days.