Area teams take on district tournaments
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It's that time of year. The time when area boys and girls basketball teams put everything on the line for a shot at a state championship. No matter a team's regular season record, the postseason gives every team in the state a chance to start over, and the trek begins this week with district boys and basketball tournaments. While the District 9C boys and girls tournament begins today in Havre, the District 10C boys and girls tourney will be held in Cut Bank, the District 1B in Shelby and the 2B in Glasgow. At the 10C, the boys start today and the girls take to the floor Thursday. For the Chester/J-I boys, the 10C tournament will be about redemption. Last season, the Hawks won the 10C regular season title but didn't get out of the district tournament. It's been a different kind of year for the Hawks (7-11) as they went just 5-7 in league play. C/J-I will open tournament play tonight 7 against Sunburst, which also went 5-7 in conference play this season. The two teams split their regular season meetings. The 10C tournament features a state championship contender in the Power Pirates. Power is the top seed this week in Shelby and came within a game of making the state tournament a year ago. Power has a firstround bye, while second-seeded Dutton- Brady takes on Heart Butte at 4 to open the tournament. Third-seeded Valier battles Simms in the other first-round game tonight. Meanwhile, the girls 10C tournament takes center state on Thursday with C/J-I entering as the top seed. The Hawks went 10-2 in league play and will receive a first-round bye into Friday's semifinals. C/J-I has gotten a boost this season from senior Jessica VanDyke who returned from two years with of injuries to lead Montana girls in scoring. The 10C is perhaps the deepest conference in the Northern C this season with Simms, Valier and Dutton-Brady all capable of advancing. In Thursday's first-round action, Simms will face winless heart Butte at 4 p.m., Valier takes on Power at 5:30 p.m. and Dutton-Brady battles Sunburst at 7. The top two teams from both the 10C boys and 10C girls tournaments will advance to next week's Northern C Divisional in Great Falls. Thursday will also be a busy day for Hi-Line Class B teams, including the No. 1 Rocky Boy Stars. Rocky Boy will enter its first District 1B tournament in history as the top seed. The 1B boys and girls will battle it out this weekend in Shelby. The Stars (18-0) have yet to lose a game in the their inaugural season in Class B boys basketball, and will have a bye in the first round. Rocky Boy is as a deep and talented as ever with veteran guards Lyndsey Eagleman and Jared Parker, as well as inside stars like 6-7 Erik Schildt. The 1B is typically the toughest league in all of Class B basketball, so although the Stars went undefeated during the regular season, head coach Tim Henry's team won't take anything lightly this weekend. The 1B boys start Thursday afternoon with Fairfield taking on Cut Bank at 3:30 p.m. Conrad will face Cascade at 5 p.m. and Shelby plays Choteau at 6:30 p.m. On the girls side on Thursday, Rocky Boy had a strong first season in the 1B and will enter the tournament with a solid chance of making it to the Northern B divisional. The Morning Stars (9-9) are led by Falene Russette and Shawna Small, and will face Shelby in the opening round Thursday at 2 p.m. The 1B is again an extremely tough district with top-ranked Fairfield going 17-1 on the season. The Eagles, the defending champions will have a bye in the first round Thursday. The rest of the 1B girls field will see Conrad take on Cut Bank at 11 a.m. followed by Choteau and Cascade at 12:30 p.m. The top four teams from the 1B will fill out half of the Northern B divisional. The other half of the Northern B boys and girls fields will come from the 2B District tournament this week in Glasgow. The 2B gets underway Thursday where the Harlem boys will be underdogs. Harlem struggled to a 4-14 record this season and will take on Plentywood at 2:30 p.m. Thursday. The other boys first-round game features host Glasgow taking on Poplar. Top seeds Malta and Wolf Point have first-round byes. On the girls side in Glasgow, Harlem (13-5) comes in having had its best regular season in almost 15 years. The Wildcats are the third seed in the tough 2B and will look to advance to the divisional tourney for the first time in four years. The Wildcats start their journey Thursday at 1 p.m. against Plentywood. The other first-round game pits Glasgow against Poplar at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday. Malta and Wolf Point are the top seeds and will have byes in Friday's semifinals. The top four teams from the 2B boys and girls tourneys move on the Northern B Divisional.