By Tiffany L. Rehbein
With the district tournament just two games away, the Chinook Sugarbeeters found the winning track during the weekend.
The Sugarbeeters (4-5, 8-8) edged the Poplar Indians 59-58 in conference play on Friday and they handed the Fort Benton Longhorns a 44-36 loss on Saturday.
"Overall, it was a good weekend for the 'Beeters, as each team member found ways to contribute," interim head coach Mark Roseberry said. "We will be working hard in preparation for two tough road games this next weekend."
Adam Gibson and Justin Friede scored 16 points, including two 3-pointers apiece to lead the Sugarbeeters, while Mason Roseberry chipped in 12 in the win.
"I was pleased with our intensity of play in this important conference game," Roseberry said.
Troy Omsberg grabbed eight rebounds to lead Chinook.
"Defensively, we had trouble shutting down Poplar's 3-point shooters, but we were able to control the inside game," Roseberry said.
The Sugarbeeters went 9-for-10 from the foul line in the contest.
"On the offensive end, we were able to run the ball some, and the offense produced some good shots," Roseberry said. "Our shooting percentage from the floor improved and a key to the win was excellent free throw shooting, especially down the stretch."
Chinook shot 39 percent from two-point range and 28 percent from 3-point land.
When the two teams met earlier, Chinook won, 62-54.
Kalled Jaha led the Sugarbeeters with 10 points and 11 rebounds against Fort Benton on Saturday.
"We knew this would be a tough and physically demanding game," Roseberry said. "Obviously, it was a defensive battle. Both teams struggled for high percentage scoring opportunities so patience became a key factor in the game."
The Sugarbeeters shot just 24 percent from the field and 64 percent from the free throw line.
Gibson scored eight points, Omsberg added seven, and Tyler Oehmcke chipped in six in the game.
Chinook defeated Fort Benton 46-38 when the two met on Jan. 15.
The 'Beeters will travel to Wolf Point on Friday for a conference game, and they will play at Cut Bank in non-conference action on Saturday to close the regular season.