High School basketball always seems to get underway with a bang. But never quite like this.
In Havre a
nd surrounding areas over the weekend, 44 high school basketball games will be played between the Native American Classic, the Big Sandy Tournament and the Chester/J-I Tournament. In short, when it comes to high school hoops, the Hi-Line is the place to be this weekend.
Havre’s MSU-Northern Fieldhouse will once again be the site of the Native American Classic Friday and Saturday. The tournament features area teams like Rocky Boy, Box Elder, Harlem and Hays-Lodge Pole, as well as Valier, Heart Butte, Kainai, AB and the Browning JV teams. The action should be awesome too, as many teams will be favored to do very well this season. On the boys side this weekend, teams to watch include the Box Elder boys, which went to the Northern C Divisional a season ago, the Rocky Boy boys, which were one game shy of reaching the Class B state tournament and the Heart Butte Warriors, who could be a strong contender in District 10C this season. The Harlem and HLP boys are also considered up-and-comers this season.
Several area boys teams will go head-to-head this weekend too. There are four boys games on Friday and four on Saturday, with key matchups being Rocky Boy and Box Elder renewing that rivalry at 9:45 a.m. on Friday, as well as the Harlem boys taking on the HLP boys to close out the tournament at 8 p.m. on Saturday night.
The girls tournament also features the high-octane Box Elder Bears, who advanced to the Northern C a year ago. HLP also has a strong girls team as does the Valier Panthers. The Rocky Boy girls should be much-improved this season as well. Big girls matchups include Harlem against HLP at 11:15 a.m. and Box Elder and Rocky Boy at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday night.
The season really gets going tonight when the Big Sandy boys and girls open the Big Sandy Tournament with games against the Highwood Mountaineers. The Big Sandy tourney also features 9C powers Chinook and North Star, as well as Denton, Dutton-Brady, Winifred and Power. The boys and girls tournaments combined feature seven squads who competed at last year’s Northern C tournament in Great Falls.
The Chinook boys play Dutton-Brady at 1 p.m. on Friday and the always-tough Winifred Red Raiders at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday. The North Star boys face the Red Raiders at 2:30 p.m. on Friday and the Mountaineers at 7 p.m. on Saturday. The North Star girls take on Highwood at 5:30 p.m. on Friday and Dutton-Brady at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. The Big Sandy girls close out day one action against Power at 8:30 p.m. on Friday and the Pioneers boys renew their rivalry with Power at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday.
And if loads of basketball wasn’t enough in Havre and Big Sandy, fans can get their fill in Chester too. The C/J-I tournament features the Hawks, Augusta, Sunburst and Fort Benton, all teams which have a chance to be very good this season.
The C/J-I boys open the season Friday against Fort Benton at 5:30 p.m. with the girls taking on the Longhorns at 7. On Saturday at 5:30 p.m., the C/J-I girls battle Augusta, with the Hawks and Elks to follow in a boys game at 7 p.m. There will be four varsity games on Friday and four on Saturday, while there are four JV games each day at the Old Chester/J-I Gym.