The Northern C boys basketball tournament is as tough as they come in the state of Montana. But as hard as it may be, the Hi-Line’s Box Elder Bears and Chinook Sugarbeeters will take their chances this weekend.
Today-Saturday the No. 1 9C Beeters and No. 2 9C Bears will compete in the Northern C basketball tournament at the Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls.
Both squads are coming off of impressive outings at the 9C tournament in Havre last weekend.
The Beeters entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed and defeated the Bears 67-48 in the semifinals and the Big Sandy Pioneers 63-35 in the championships, earning a bid into the Northern C as a No. 1 seed. The Bears took a little bit tougher road as they were sent into the consolation bracket by the Beeters before defeating Hays Lodge-Pole in the consolation game. And after claiming third place, the Bears then challenged the Pioneers and earned the 64-57 win to grab their spot in the Northern C tournament.
But if either team wants to be successful this weekend, they are going to have to battle a tough pool of talent
Also making the Northern C is 8C Fort Benton, 10C Dutton-Brady, 7C Stanford-Geyser, 7C Roy-Winifred, 10C Power and 8C Highwood. And in first round action the Beeters will face Stanford-Geyser and the Bears will face Roy-Winifred.
Both the Bears and Beeters also risk the chance of running into Power, a favorite since the Pirates took second at state behind Big Sandy a year ago.
But if the Beeters and Bears play to their abilities, they should also pull away as a favorite before the weekend ends.
Chinook (16-4), which plays 7C runner-up Stanford-Geyser today at 12:30 made it through the 9C without a loss. They were propelled by a solid defense and solid core on offense. Taylor Erskine and Lane Schmitt have led the offense all season long, but Tyler Molyneaux and Chris Haider have also been a huge part of their success. But as the post season has progressed, Zach Molyneaux has also stepped up as huge threat as an outside shooter for the Beeters.
Box Elder (8-13) also has a solid team all around, but the Bears will be tested tonight against unbeaten 7C champ Winifred-Roy. The Outlaws are the only team in this week's field without a loss and have been ranked atop Class C all season.
Defensively Jacob Parker plays a huge role for the Bears with his size inside and shot blocking ability. He will give the Bears a big advantage size wise and should be a major factor this weekend.
And on offense, Parker will also play a major role with his rebounding and post play. Warren Parisian will also contribute as one of the leading scorers and his ability to play in the post as well as dribble penetrate from outside. Jesse Ramos from the point guard position holds the team together and can also score and put up points in a hurry.
It will be a tough weekend for the Beeters and Bears, but if both teams play to their abilities they should both have a good weekend as well. It will take their best efforts to earn a couple of wins, but if Chinook or Box Elder can play to their best ability, they could very well find themselves in the state tournament.
Chinook and Box Elder will compete in the Northern C boys basketball tournament's first round today. The boys tournament runs through Saturday in Great Falls with the top two teams advancing to the Class C state tournament in two weeks.
Today at the Northern C
11 a.m. -- Fort Benton vs. Dutton-Brady, first round
12:30 p.m. -- Chinook vs. Stanford-Geyser, first round
4 p.m. -- Roy-Winifred vs. Box Elder, first round
5:30 p.m. -- Power vs. Highwood, first round
8 a.m. - Valier vs Winifred-Roy, loser-out
9:30 a.m. - Box Elder vs Chester/J-I, loser-out
7 p.m. - Chinook vs Belt, semifinal
8:30 p.m. Winnett-Grass Range vs Geraldine, semifinal