GREAT FALLS — The Chinook Sugarbeeters and Box Elder Bears represented the 9C well this weekend. But as both of their seasons wound down and came to an end, they will have to wait until next year if they hope to make it to the state tournament.
Both the Beeters and Bears spent the weekend in Great Falls at the Four Seasons Arena at the Northern C girls basketball tournament.
On Friday the Beeters and Bears faced off for yet another time this season. And once again it was the Beeters who got the best of the Bears with a 63-49 consolation semifinal win. The Beeters used a big third quarter to lock up the win. They led 28-20 at the half, but posted 25 points in the third. The Bears scored 13 points in the third and trailed 53-33. But the Bears went on a god run in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t dig themselves out of the hole they found themselves in early on. The Bears outscored the Beeters 16-10 in the fourth.
Aricka Wolf Chief did her best to keep the Bears alive with 23 points. And Crystal Stamper added nine. Taryn Norby led the Beeters with 21 points and Alana Smith followed with 11, while Makhayla Farmer finished with 10.
The Beeters were very young and inexperienced this season and nobody expected them to do much. But after surviving the Bears yet again, the Beeters moved into the consolation championship game Friday night.
And though the Beeters suffered a 34-30 loss to the Outlaws for a fourth-place finish, they were still very proud of how their season turned out.
“I am very proud of what the girls accomplished this year,” Chinook head coach Charlie Robinson said.
“We were the underdogs and we surprised everybody,” Chinook’s Norby added. “We worked hard in practices and it was team effort, even the girls on the bench, we wouldn’t be here without them. None of us imagined us getting here (consolation game). And a lot of other teams in our league didn’t think we would be here and we proved them wrong. We just have to keep working hard and hopefully next year we will be pretty good.”
The Beeters came out and controlled the tempo of the game for the most part. They were working the clock on every possession and took over 30 second off the clock before attempting a shot on several occasions.
They took a 12-10 lead after the first eight minutes, but found themselves locked in a defensive battle for the next two periods.
“Their defense played a box and one on us and put a chaser on Taryn Norby and it took us a while to adjust to that,” Robinson said. “We haven’t played against that a lot this season and I think that was a major factor. Fatigue was also a little factor, but I think that affected both teams a little bit.”
In the second quarter the Outlaws outscored the Beeters 7-5. And in the third Chinook returned the favor, outscoring the Outlaws 7-5. But even with the offense struggling to put up big points, the falling point for the Beeters came in the fourth quarter. In the first six minutes of the fourth frame the Beeters had six turnovers and just four points. In the same time the Outlaws put up seven points and took the 29-28 lead. In the final minutes the Outlaws went on a 5-2 run and iced the Beeters season.
Robinson really saw the inexperience and youthfulness of the Beeters shining through in that fourth quarter.
“We don’t have much experience at the level higher than the district tournament.” Robinson said. “And we were just up against a well experienced team that never quit. They have been here something like 16 out of 17 years.”
In their final game of a season which saw Chinook capture its first 9C championship, Chinook fell, but it was still one of the best years of Chinook girls basketball in the last decade.
Chinook 63, Box Elder 49 (lo)
Chinook 12 16 25 10 – 63
Box Elder 7 13 13 16 – 49
Chinook — Ashley Bower 2, Makhayla Farmer 10, Emily Dennis 8, Kayla Hanson 4, Tavin Schneider 2, Taryn Norby 21, Alana Smith 11, Hayley Swank 5.
Box Elder — Brandi Buffalo 8, Crystal Stamper 9, Frankie Raining Bird 1, Megan Parker 1, Rebecca Rosette 7, Aricka Wolf Chief 23.
Roy-Winifred 34, Chinook 30 (3rd)
Roy-Winifred 10 7 5 12 — 34
Chinook 12 5 7 6 — 30
Roy-Winifred — Shelby Smith 11, Regan Bold 13, Danyce McClure 4, Alexandra Bold 6.
Chinook — Emily Dennis 2, Ashley Bower 2, Makhayla Farmer 4, Hayley Swank 3, Alana Smith 6, Taryn Norby 7, Kayla Hanson 6.