Now that the regular season has ended, several area schools will soon be flooded with prep basketball action. The end of the regular season means one thing, the beginning of district, divisional, and state tournaments. This week, several local teams will try to extend their seasons with top finishes district tournaments.
In District 10C, the Chester/J-I Hawks will face the rest of the district competition in Conrad. No. 1 Dutton-Brady, No. 2 Heart Butte, No. 3 Valier, No. 5 Power, No. 6 Simms and No. 7 Sunburst will join the Hawks Thursday through Saturday, all with the hopes of earning a trip to the Northern C tournament in Great Falls next week. Only two teams will advance.
C/J-I will open its tournament on Thursday night at 7 p.m., facing the Power Pirates. If the Hawks can get past Power in the opening round, they would meet up with top ranked Dutton-Brady in the semifinal on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
The Hawks got off to a great start this season and even found themselves ranked early on. And the Hawks should be able to get past Power for the third time this season, and should be able to challenge Dutton-Brady in the semis if they play well.
If the Hawks are going to cruise into the title game, or into the Northern C, they have to get a balanced attack. When the Hawks are at their best, they have a balanced scoring attack, getting contributions from Jordan Oraw, Dell Harmon, Mike Henke, Steven May, Dustin Romain, Justin May and Klayton Lohr.
Also running Thursday- Saturday is the District 1B tournament in Shelby.
There, the Rocky Boy Stars will attempt to get back on track after one of the school’s worse seasons in recent history last year. A year ago, the Stars went 0-2 at the 1B tournament and ended their season prematurely. This week, they will attempt to avoid the same result, as they enter the postseason the No. 1 seed with a first-round bye.
Looking to upset the Stars will be No. 2 Choteau, No. 3 Fairfield, No. 4 Conrad, No. 5 Cut Bank and No. 6 Shelby. After the bye, the Stars will face the winner of the Cut Bank-Conrad matchup on Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the semifinals.
Rocky Boy has found success over the entire 1B this season. The Stars went undefeated in district play, and dropped just two games all season long, one to the reigning state champion Malta Mustangs late in the season and one to rival Harlem. The Stars are a favorite to move onto the Class B state tournament this season. They are back to being a very deep squad and can get scoring from all over the lineup.
Junior Day Child, Desmond Parker, and Darian LaFromboise will be key in the Stars success. But Cecil LaFromboise, Elijah Gopher, Isaiah Murie, and Justin Raining Bird add to the Rocky Boy arsenal, and give the Stars a great shot at running over anybody in its way this week.
The Harlem Wildcats are also going to be in tournament play this week, as they face the rest of the 2B field in Glasgow. The Wildcats enter the postseason as the No. 5 seed, and will open the tournament with a winnable game against the No. 4 Glasgow Scotties. But it will be a very tough matchup for the Wildcats if they do manage a first-round win, as they would find themselves up against the defending Class B state champion Malta Mustangs in the semifinals Friday. Wolf Point, Plentywood, and Poplar will also be in action in Glasgow this week.
The Wildcats have had a tough season. They won just three district games, and just seven games overall. But near the end of the season the Wildcats did defeat Glasgow 46-44, as well as a 1B favorite Rocky Boy 73-62. Teams always want to play their best basketball come tournament time, but that is a must for the Wildcats. Micah Shawl has the ability to put up 20-plus points in a game for the Wildcats, and will be crucial to the team’s success. But if Stanley Irvine, Isaiah Lawrence, Tristan Gone and Clay Doney can also have big-time outings, the Wildcats can be a very completive team.
The top four teams from the 2B will join the top four teams from the 1B for the Northern B Divisional next week back in Glasgow.