The Class C houses some of the smallest basketball programs in the state, but this weekend in Havre, the Class C also proved that they house some of the biggest talent.
Over the weekend, the Armory Gymnasium on the campus of Montana State University-Northern was home of the 25th annual Hi-Line Invitational Tournament (HIT). And on the girls side of the action, it was the Class C squad coached by Jeff Graham claiming the championship for the second straight year.
In the championship game the Class C defeated the Class A 115-82 in dominating fashion. And in the consolation game, it was the Class AA girls who defeated the Class B girls 103-84.
On Friday the Class C defeated the Class A 115-103, while the Class AA defeated the Class B 88-75 and the Class A defeated the class B 101-81. And in Saturday morning’s matchup, the Class C defeated the Class AA 105-80 in another dominating victory.
In the championship game the Class C got off to a fast start and never looked back. And defense isn’t normally a factor in the HIT tournament, but the Class C squad proved that theory wrong time and time again.
In the opening minute and a half of the championship game, the Class C went on an 11-2 run. And in that same amount of time, the Class C forced the Class A into four turnovers with pressure and trap defense. The pressure continued throughout the game by the C squad and the Class A ended up committing 21 turnovers. 15 of those 21 turnovers were Class C steals, with Peyton Ferris of Twin Bridges and Bailey Snelling of Harlowtown-Ryegate combining for six.
The Class A would eventually claw their way back into contention, but never as far as to scare the Class C. the Class C held a 25-17 lead after the first quarter and stretched it to a 46-56 lead at the half. And after the third quarter they held an 81-57 lead before grabbing the 115-82 victory.
Senior Quinn Peoples (Butte Central) did her best to carry the Class A with 37 points, but every time Peoples hit a big shot, the Class C’s junior Peyton Ferris (Twin Bridges) would answer with a big shot of her own. Ferris ended the game with 33 points.
The Class C simply outshot the Class A. The Class C finished the game shooting over 50 percent while the Class A finished shooting just over 37 percent. The Class A did however go 14-of-31from behind the 3-point arc for 45 percent. The Class C was 7-of-15 for a slightly better average at 46 percent.
After Peoples’ 37 points, Alex Brammer (Beaverhead) followed with 19, while Kacie Mckeon (Butte Central) added 12.
Ferris’s 33 points led the Class C, while Brianne DePuydt (Saco-Whitewater) with 18, Mariah Gondeiro (Belt) with 16 and Martha Dembek (Winnett-Grass Range) with 14. Bailey Snelling (Harlowton-Ryegate), Rachelle Bennett (Joliet) and Mikayla Sullivan (Ennis) all had nine a piece, while Emily Urick (Belt) finished with seven.
Dembek also led all players with 15 rebounds while Ferris led all players with three assists in the game.
After the dust of the championship game settled, the girls awards were also handed out. Making the All-Star team was Brammer, Bennett, Genna Banks (Bozeman), Jill Barta (Fairfield), Monica Grimsrud (Helena), Kaylee Goggins (Shepherd), DePuydt, Gondeiro, Snelling, Peoples and Ferris. Ferris was named the always-coveted tournament MVP.
Peoples was the girls 3-point champion, while Snelling won the assists award, DePuydt won the rebound award, Courtney Henry (Malta) won the Miss Hustle award and Bennett won the Miss Defense award. Peoples was also named the scoring champion of the tournament.
Class C Girls 115, Class A Girls 103
Class C — Mariah Gondeiro 18, Morgan Klose 15, Brianne DePuydt 16, Bailey Snelling 16, Bennett 14, Peyton Ferris 14, Martha Dembek 10.
Class A — Kacie McKeon 14, Alex Brammer 21, Brynne Kambich 13, McCalle Feller 14, Quinn Peoples 28, Janae Moore 13.
Class AA Girls 88, Class B Girls 75
Class B — Kayleen Goggins 32, Molly Klinker 11, Jill Barta 12.
Class AA —Diondra Denton 33, Monica Grimsrud 24, Jordan Johnson 12.
Class A Girls 101, Class B Girls 81
Class B — Ashley Malmquist 11, Kayleen Goggins 16, Molly Klinker 16, Jill Barta 12.
Class A — Kacie McKeon 11, Alex Brammer 24, Brynne Kambich 12, McCalle Feller 11, Quinn Peoples 23, Janae Moore 16.
Class C Girls 105, Class AA Girls 80
Class C — Peyton Ferris 20, Mariah Gondeiro 19, Brianne DePuydt 18, Bailey Snelling 16, Rachelle Bennett 11.
Class AA — Monica Grimsrud 20, Briana Robinson 17, Kate Patenaude 15, Sara Weir 13.
Class AA Girls 103, Class B Girls 84
Class AA — Monica Grimsrud 29, Sara Weir 27, Jordan Johnston 24, Kate patenaude 16.
Class B — Kori Kindle 19, Jill Barta 18, Amanda Sansaver 18, Shayla Mack 12, Ashley Malmquist 10.
Class C Girls 115, Class A Girls 82
Class C — Peyton Ferris 33, Brianne DePuydt 18, Mariah Gondeiro 16, Martha Dembek 14.
Class A — Quinn Peoples 37, Alex Brammer 19, Kacie Mckeon 12.