By Rob Everingham
SHELBY -- The Chinook Sugarbeeters, after just barely making it out of district, fought their way to win the consolation game on Saturday at the North-East B Divisional girls' basketball tournament.
The win gives the 'Beeters a spot at the Class B state tournament in Belgrade Dec. 2-4.
Chinook picked up a 51-40 win over Fort Benton to advance to state.
The Longhorns came out on fire and held Chinook to just 3 points in the first quarter to take a 17-3 lead. The 'Beeters started their comeback in the the second, but still trailed 27-20 at halftime.
The 'Beeters came out of the locker room and scored 23 third-quarter points and took a 43-35 lead. Chinook held on in the fourth quarter to get the win.
Chinook was led in scoring by Renda Birky and Amanda Schoen, who each had 11 points.
The 'Beeters advanced to the consolation final after a loser-out 65-49 win over Glasgow.
Chinook took a 13-8 lead after one quarter. By halftime, the 'Beeters had pushed their lead out to 28-19.
Chinook outscored the Scotties 17-9 in the third quarter and cruised through the fourth to pick up the victory.
Katie Malsam led all Chinook scorers with 14, while Katie Hoffman and Birky each had 13 points.
Chinook head coach Bill Keller said it was a pretty exciting weekend.
"They just went out and did what was needed to win," Keller said.
Keller said his team just wanted to move on and it showed in their play.
The turning point for Keller's team was against Fairfield when they were able to put the game in overtime and get the win. Keller said after that they just executed the system and handled Glasgow and Fort Benton.
It has been 13 years since the 'Beeters have been at the state tournament. And the last time they were there they won it.
"It's new ground for all of us," Keller said.
Keller said everyone is unsure of how to act right know, but they are all excited to be going and will give it their best shot.
The 'Beeters will square off against Frenchtown in the first round of the Class B state tournament on Thursday, Dec. 2 in Belgrade.