GREAT FALLS — A year ago, the Chinook girls basketball team made a great run to the Northern C consolation game. Fast forward nearly a year, and the Sugarbeeters were right back in the same place.
Saturday night at the Four Se
asons Arena in Great Falls, the Beeters ended another solid showing at the Northern C with a loss to high-powered Winnett-Grass Range in the consolation game. The Rangers beat the Beeters 40-25 in a game that was much closer than the finals core indicated.
“Overall, I thought we did a really good job on defense,” Chinook head coach Charlie Robinson said of Saturday night’s game. “We held them (Rams) to 40 points and they are a very good offensive team.
“But we missed too many shots and I think we were a little tired. We’ve played a lot of games in a short amount of time and that will take its toll. And you add in that we’re missing our top scorer, one of our best defenders and a top rebounder and it makes it pretty tough. But I’m proud of our team. Proud of the way they fought through a lot this year. It was another great season.”
Chinook was forced to go almost the entire Northern C without senior and leading scorer Taryn Norby, who injured her knee in a 9C challenge game a week ago in Havre. But the Beeters still fought hard all the way to then end.
Chinook lost to Belt in the first round, then beat Valier 50-34 behind a whopping 23 points from Makhayla Farmer in Friday’s loser-out contest. Then, on Saturday morning, Chinook took out Chester/J-I 40-39 in a thriller to advance to Saturday night’s consolation game.
Chinook had handed the Hawks their only two losses of the regular season, so that made Saturday morning’s matchup intriguing. And it was a battle right from the opening tip. The Beeters led 16-15 in a defensive first half, then found themselves trailing the Hawks by one point heading into the fourth quarter. But in a seesaw final eight minutes, Farmer came through, banking a shot off the glass and coming up with a key block down the stretch, in turn helping the Beeters knock off the Hawks for the third time this season.
Haley Swank led Chinook with 11 points and Farmer added 10, while C/J-I got 12 points from Jenni Ghekiere and 10 from Nikole Wolfe in a loss that brought the Hawks’ season to an end with a stellar 19-4 overall record.
“I told the girls tonight, I thought that win against Chester (J-I) was the highlight win all year,” Robinson said. “It was a great, tough game. We had to go through a lot with injuries and not winning the 9C and everything. So to come to the divisional tournament and beat them for a third time, it was a special win for this team.”
Chinook then hung in against the Rams on Saturday night but just didn’t have enough gas late. Behind a strong first quarter from Farmer and Alana Smith, the Beeters trailed just 11-9 at the end of the period. The Rams went on a 6-1 run early in the second and were ahead 19-14 in a low-scoring first 16 minutes.
However, a drought between the third and fourth quarter’s did the Beeters in. Chinook went 10 minutes without a point, scoring just three points in the third quarter, and it didn’t end until Kayla Hanson hit a shot to make the score 36-21 with five minutes left in the game. Chinook fought to the end, but was just too far behind.
Farmer paced the Beeters, who finished with a 17-8 record this season, with 13 points and Emily Dennis added five. Chinook did hold the Northern C’s leading scorer, W-G-R’s Martha Dembek to just 12 points.
“I think we just got tired,” Robinson said. “Then you start missing shots and making some mistakes defensively.
“But overall, I’m really pleased,” he added. “It was another great year for a team that had to go through a lot. This team played with heart and determination in this tournament and I am very proud of them for that.”
Chinook 40, Chester/J-I 39 (lo)
Chinook 8 8 11 13 — 40
C/J-I 11 6 9 13 — 39
Chinook — Kaitlyn Neibauer 4, Tayla Johnson 3, Alana Smith 1, Hailey Swank 11, Emily Dennis 4, Makhayla Farmer 10, Kayla Hanson 5, Tavin Schneider 2. Totals: 11 15-22.
C/J-I — Stine Haaland 1, McKinley Sangwin 3, Megan Han 1, Denerey Haaland 2, Nicole Wolfe 10, Haley Harmon 3, Katelyn Graff 7, Jenni Ghekiere 12. Totals: 9 17-23.
Total fouls: Chinook 15, CJI 16. Fouled out: Graff. Technical fouls: None. Three point goals: Johnson 1, Swank 2, Wolfe 2, Harmon 1, Graff 1.
Winnett-Grass Range 40, Chinook 25 (3rd)
W-G-R 11 8 7 14 — 40
Chinook 9 5 3 8 — 25
W-G-R — Martha Dembek 12, KC Duvall 4, Jamie Stahl 4, Katlyn Mornion 2, Tierany Browning 4, Pari Iverson 2, Kaylyn Delany 12. Totals 18 4-10.
Chinook — Katelyn Neibauer 3, Alana Smith 2, Emily Dennis 5, Makhayla Farmer 13, Kayla Hanson 2. Totals 9 6-7.
Total fouls: Winnett-Grass Range 8, Chinook 12. Fouled out: none. Technical fouls: none. 3-point fieldgoals: Dennis.
Chinook 50, Valier 34 (lo)
Chinook 16 13 8 13 — 50
Valier 3 6 5 20 — 34
Chinook — Katelyn Neibauer 2, Alana Smith 4, Haley Swank 3, Emily Dennis 8, Brooke Skoyen 2, Makhayla Farmer 23, Kayla Hanson 4, Tavin Schneider 2, Ashton Niederegger 2. Totals: 21 5-9.
Valier — Maquel Calfrobe 3, Stephanie Bull Dhild 4, Shaunell Davis 10, Turq Eagle Speaker 13, Steena Eagle Speaker 2, Jamie Espeseth 2. Totals: 13 8-17.
Total fouls: Chinook 15, Valier 10. 3-point goals: Swank, Dennis 2.