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North Star and Chinook challenge tonight, twice

Chinook's Barry Murnion (right) looks for a shot during Saturday night's District 9C boys title game at the HHS gymnasium.

There is always the possibility of a challenge game, as teams scramble to extend their basketball season. This year in the 9C, fans will be treated to not just one, but two extra tournament games.

Tonight at the Havre High gymnasium, there will be a challenge game in 9C boys and girls action. And with both games housing the Chinook Sugarbeeters and North Star Knights, Hi-Line fans should be in full force. At 6 p.m. the currently third-place Knights will take on the second-place Sugarbeeters in girls action, and at 7:30 p.m., the currently third-place Knights will take on the No. 2 Sugarbeeters in boys action.

The winners of those games will extend their season with a trip to the Northern C, while the losers will find their seasons at an end.

In the girls, the Sugarbeeters were the defending 9C champions from a year ago. They put together another solid season and even wound up in the title game on Saturday night. But the Box Elder Bears proved to be a 9C powerhouse this season and knocked off the Beeters 47-42.

The Beeters loss opened the door for the Knights, who battled their way through the consolation bracket. The Knights made the semifinals with a win over Hays-Lodge Pole, but lost to Box Elder once they got there. The Knights then went on to beat Big Sandy 53-52 in the consolation finals, earning themselves a shot at the No. 2 seed.

On the boys side of the bracket, the Beeters are also attempting to make the Northern C after a strong appearance last season. They had a first round bye over the weekend as the No. 2 seed, and earned their way into the title game after defeating Box Elder in the semis. But losing to Big Sandy 63-44 in the chipper, they must now rebound in the hopes of keeping their season alive.

For the Knights, they are on a role. After defeating Hays-Lodge Pole in the opening round, they suffered a tough loss to Big Sandy in the Semifinals. But from there, they have come alive. The Knights took down Turner in the consolation semis, then on the back of Jordy Donoven's 37 points, took down Box Elder for the second time in the consolation finals.

Both games should prove to be thrillers, just as the 9C tourney has been all this past week. All four teams are hungry for a Northern C berth, and showed they can play well over the weekend with some good wins. But with everything on the table, tonight's games are more important than any other game this season.

At 6 p.m. the Chinook girls will take on North Star, while at 7:30 p.m., the Chinook boys will face North Star as well.


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