Chinook girls oust the Outlaws
GREAT FALLS — To say the Chinook girls basketball team is on a roll right now would be an understatement of epic proportions.
First the Beeters had never won a 9C tournament before — until last Saturday night. Then, they had never played in a Northern C Divisional before — until Wednesday afternoon. Now, they have a win in the Northern C.
On Wednesday afternoon, in the first round of the Northern C tournament at the Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls, the Sugarbeeters captured a narrow win over favored Winifred-Roy, 43-42, advancing to tonight's semifinal round where they'll face top-ranked Belt at 7.
And Chinook's first Northern C win came in thrilling fashion as the Beeters' Haley Swank calmly hit two game-winning free throws with 29 seconds left to lift the Beeters to the win.
"I'm very proud of this whole team," Chinook senior Ashley Bower said. "Coach Robinson told us when we got behind to just go out and keep our composure and do our best, and that's we did. We didn't panic at the end and it all worked out. Haley (Swank) and Taryn (Norby) made some huge shots and all the girls really did a good job of sticking together, and it worked out. This is very exciting."
Exciting to say the least.
The Beeters clung to a slim 19-18 lead at halftime, but quickly fell behind 25-21 in the third quarter. That's when Swank and Norby combined to hit three 3-pointers on three straight trips down the floor, as the Beeters took the lead back, eventually leading 32-28 heading into the final stanza.
"Those were big 3-pointers," Chinook head coach Charlie Robinson said. "We had made some mistakes, maybe our inexperience at the divisional tournament had caught up with us, but we let them (Outlaws) hang around, and we might have panicked at that points. But instead, the kids got their composure and those two (Swank, Norby) made some big shots for us."
But as big as the 9-0 run by Chinook was, the game was far from over.
From the free-throw-line, the Outlaws came roaring back to lead 40-39 with 1:55 to play. But Norby stepped up first with a driving score to give the Beeters the lead back. Then, the Outlaws made two more free throws to take a 42-41 lead with 1:03 to play. And that's when Swank delivered on more time.
After being fouled with just :29 left, Swank a junior reserve, came up clutch one more time, nailing to foul shots and sending the Beeters into the semifinals, and one win away from a possible state tournament berth.
"We didn't just want to come here, lose two games by 50 points and say we were happy we were here," Robinson said. "We came here to win and we felt like we matched up pretty well with Winifred. They are a good team, but we liked the matchup and this team believed they could win tonight.
"So I'm very proud and happy for these kids," he added. "They've done everything I've asked of them this year, and they're finding success. They've worked very hard and they deserve this. And I'm really proud of the way they played tonight, especially the way they did the little things (like make free throws) necessary to win this game."
The Outlaws took away freshman sensation Makhayla Farmer for the most part, but Norby poured in a game-high 18 points and Swank chipped in with 11. Kayla Hanson added six points and made some key free throws for the Beeters in their thrilling win, which moves them on to face powerful Belt tonight. The Huskies are unbeaten at 21-0 after thrashing Valier on Wednesday afternoon.
"We've got a big challenge ahead of us," Robinson said. "But we're playing with a lot of confidence right now, and the kids beleive in themselves. Belt is a very good team, they are well-coached and very talented across the board. But we'll be excited for the opportunity to play them, and we'll give it our best tomorrow (Thursday) night.
"Being the only senior on the team, this is a very exciting time for me," Bower added. "We have a great group of girls who stick together and play hard every game. And coach Robinson beleives in us. So to make it this far, it's just been an amazing year."
The Beeters (13-8) and Huskies will play in the first girls semifinal tonight at 7. Winnett-Grass Range faces Geraldine at 8:30 in the second semifinal.
Winnett-Grass Range 83, Box Elder 50
During the regular season, the Box Elder girls basketball team lost just one game.
After Wednesday night, the Bears have lost two in a row, and their dreams of reaching the Class C state tournament are in serious jeopardy.
On Wednesday night at the Northern C tournament in Great Falls, the Bears were trounced by 7C champion and unbeaten Winnett-Grass Range, 83-50, dropping Box Elder into this morning's loser-out game against Hi-Line rival Chester/J-I.
The Bears kept things close through a half, but in the end, the Rams were just too powerful, and Box Elder's 32 turnovers proved to be its undoing.
The Bears trailed just 4-3 midway through the first quarter, but the Rams went on a 9-2 run behind several shots from sophomore Martha Dembek, who scored a whopping 31 points.
And by the time the first period ended, the Bears were in catch-up mode, trailing 13-7.
But Box Elder jumped right back in the game with three baskets by Brandi Buffalo in the second quarter. However, the Rams went on runs of 11-0 and 9-2 late in the period to lead 35-24 at the break.
Box Elder had life left in it, as the Bears cut the lead down to four points at 39-35 with 4:48 left in the third quarter. But the spurt, sparked by a Crystal Stamper 3-pointer and two steals and scores by Megan Parker would be Box Elder's last.
The Rams closed the third quarter on a 15-5 run and led 53-38 heading into the final stanza. And things only got worse for Box Elder from there as the Rams reeled off a 12-0 run in the fourth and turned the game into a blowout.
Aricka Wolf Chief paced the Bears with 16 points, while Stamper added 11 and Buffalo scored 10. But Box Elder shot just 31 percent from the floor and made only three triples. The poor shooting, combined with turnovers which led to easy transition layups for the athletic Rams was just too much for Box Elder to endure.
And with the loss, the Bears (18-3) will now have to fight for their postseason lives as they take on Chester/J-I this morning with the loser's season ending. C/J-I lost a tough first-round game to Geraldine late Wednesday night. The winner of this morning's game between the Bears and Hawks will advance to another loser-out game on Friday at 11 a.m.
Geraldine 47, Chester/J-I 36
It was a valiant effort put forth by the Chester/J-I girls basketball team, but a sluggish fourth quarter put a halt to a first round win.
Wednesday night at the Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls, the 10C Chester/J-I Hawks faced off against the 8C Geraldine Tigers in first round action of the Northern C girls divisional basketball tournament. But even after overcoming a slow start, fourth quarter set backs resulted in the Tigers defeating the Hawks 47-36.
"I just think our defensive intensity wasn't there and we had too many costly turnovers," C/J-I head coach Pat Goldhahn said. "We just didn't have the energy in the fourth quarter to finish. But we have to give credit to Geraldine, they looked a little winded when we put the pressure on them, but they hit some big free throws down the stretch when we tried to stretch those last two minutes into 10 minutes."
Entering the fourth quarter the Hawks trailed by just two points, 26-24. But in the opening five minutes of the final frame the Tigers went on a 15-4 run to take a 41-28 lead. In the final three minutes the Hawks outscored the Tigers 8-6, but after trailing by 13 points, the damage had already been done which resulted in the 11 point first round loss. The Tigers also went 4-of-6 from the free throw line in the final minutes to keep the game out of reach.
And it was a tough loss for the Hawks, especially after how they battled back from a slow start.
The Hawks went 0-for-11 from the field in the first quarter and scored just three points on free throws from Jenni Ghekiere and Larisa Lybeck. The Hawks trailed 9-3, but put together a much better stretch through the second and third quarters. At the half the the game was knotted at 16-16 and the Hawks trailed by just two heading into the fourth.
During that stretch, the Hawks were led by Ghekiere who combined for eight points in the second and third quarter. Jocelyn Wood also sparked the Hawks with her three point shooting, including a trey at the 3:10 mark in the second quarter to give the Hawks their first lead at 13-11.
"I think we just needed to be more patient offensively in that first quarter," Goldhahn said. "We were turning the ball over and we were getting good looks and they just weren't falling for us. We knew eventually that we had good enough players and we would get back in it, and we did."
Turnovers did come into play as the Hawks committed 18 total, but they also forced the Tigers in 17. The Hawks also out rebounded the Tigers 28-23, but shot just 22 percent from the field compared to the 40 percent by the Tigers.
Ghekiere led the Hawks with 13 points, while Stine Haaland and Katelyn Graff both scored seven each. Lybeck and Woods also combined for six points.
The loss knocked the Hawks into loser-out action where they will face Box Elder this morning.
"Loser out games are tough in any tournament," Goldhahn said. "And we are going to have to come back with a lot more energy than we had tonight (Wednesday) and we are going to have to execute much better. I expect that Box Elder is going to play an up and down game and we are going to have to be opportunistic and we just have to finish."
It will be a tough game as the Hawks (16-5) will have to work to handle the continuous full court pressure from Box Elder, but they will have to find away if they hope to keep their post season alive.
Note: Havre Daily News sports writer Daniel Horton contributed to this story.
Chinook 43, Winifred-Roy 42
Chinook 6 13 13 11 — 43
Winifred-Roy 8 10 7 17 — 42
Chinook — Kayla Hanson 2-8 2-3 6, Alana Smith 1-1 2-2 4, Taryn Norby 6-11 3-4 18, Ashley Bower 1-1 0-0 2, Makhayla Farmer 1-7 3-4 5, Haley Swank 4-5 2-2 11. Totals: 14-33 12-15.
Winifred-Roy — Arley Kerr 3-7 0-1 7, Regan Bold 1-6 4-7 6, Shelbi Smith 4-9 2-2 10, Dancye McClure 3-11 5-6 13, Alexandra Bold 1-5 4-5 6. Totals: 12-39 15-31.
3-pointers: Swank 2, Norby 1, Kerr 1, A. Bold 1, R. Bold 1. Fouls: Chinook 16, Winifred-Roy 14. Fouled out: None.
Winnett-Grass Range 83, Box Elder 50
Box Elder 7 17 14 12 — 50
Winnett-Grass Range 13 22 18 30 — 83
Box Elder — Aricka Wolf Chief 5-15 4-5 16, Franke Raining Bird 1-1 0-0 2, Rebecca Rosette 0-5 1-1 1, Megan Parker 3-7 2-4 8, Shelbi Eagleman 1-1 0-0 2, Crystal Stamper 4-13 2-2 11, Brandi Buffalo 4-9 2-2 10. Totals: 18-56 11-14.
Winnett-Grass Range — Karlyn Delaney 2-6 4-5 8, Jamie Stahl 2-6 1-2 5, K.C. Duvall 0-2 5-5 5, Lacey Styer 7-11 2-4 16, Martha Dembek 12-17 7-9 31, Katlyn Murnion 1-2 0-0 2, Tiernay Browning 1-3 0-3 2, Shelby Martinez 3-11 4-4 10, Megan Flint 2-5 0-0 4. Totals: 30-63 23-32.
3-pointers: Wolf Chief 2, Stamper 1. Fouls: Box Elder 25, Winnett-Grass Range 14. Fouled out: Parker, Buffalo.
Geraldine 47, Chester/J-I 36
Chester/J-I 3 13 8 13 — 36
Geraldine 9 7 10 20 — 47
Chester/J-I — Jenni Ghekiere 3-14 7-9 13, Denerey Haaland 1-1 0-0 2, Nicole Wolfe 0-2 1-2 0, Mckinley Sangwin 0-4 0-0 0, Stine Haaland 3-8 1-2 7, Larisa Lybeck 1-4 1-2 3, Jocelyn Woods 1-3 0-0 3, Kylie Richter 0-1 1-1 1, Katelyn Graff 2-11 2-2 7
Geraldine — Korbin Duvall 0-0 2-2 2, Kendra Joyce 4-6 1-2 9, Alexandra Rowland 0-1 1-2 1, Tayler Duvall 7-16 0-0 17, Kayla Wishman 0-1 0-1 0, Elaina Juedman 0-1 0-0 0, Tory Scribner 1-1 0-0 2, Heather Whishman 0-3 0-0 0, Hallie Bronec 1-4 1-2 3, Brielle McKinlay 5-12 2-3 12
3-pointers: Duvall 3, Woods 1, Graff 1. Fouls: C/J-I 15, Geraldine 14. Fouled Out: Scribner.