News you can use

Bears, Hawks advance, Beeters fall

Box Elder's Aricka Wolf Chief (right) drives the ball during a Northern C girls game Thursday afternoon in Great Falls.

Box Elder's Brandi Buffalo (right) takes a shot during the first round of the girls Northern C Thursday in Great Falls.

GREAT FALLS — Thursday's night session at the girls Northern C basketball tournament couldn't have been more beneficial to local teams, as two Hi-Line squads punched their ticket into the semifinals with wins.

Playing at the Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls, both the 9C Box Elder Bears and the 10C Chester/J-I Hawks earned a spot in the semifinals with wins on Thursday. Consequently, the Bears and Hawks will meet in the semis tonight.

The Bears defeated the Geraldine Tigers 58-55, maintaining their flawless record and improving to 21-0 on the season. And the Hawks improved to 19-2 overall with their win over the Roy/Winifred Outlaws.

For the Bears, it was a game of streaks, and fortunately for Box Elder, the most important streak of the game belonged to them. And while it wasn't the prettiest of wins, head coach Joel Rossette and the rest of the squad will take it after a very hard fought, heart filled contest.

"These girls haven't gotten too much credit for their year." Rossette said. "Everybody thought that 20-0 record (now 21-0) came easy, but we have battled through some tough games. But I am very pleased with the effort tonight."

Thursday night's difference maker was the final streak in the game, a 17-9 streak through the fourth quarter by the resilient Bears. Prior to the big run by Box Elder in the final frame, the game was back and forth for the Bears, sometimes up, sometimes down.

Heading into the fourth the Bears trailed 46-41, that coming after the Bears trailed 17-16 after the first quarter, and was knotted up 29-29 at the half. The Bears inconsistencies had a lot to do with the 19 total turnovers, trying to force the ball inside to the post against a stout Geraldine zone.

"We weren't shooting our best," Rossette said. "We missed a lot of shots. But we pulled through and I am happy."

The Bears shot 45 percent from the field and 45 percent from 3-point range, going 5-of-11. The best offensive stretch came in the dominating fourth, as the Bears were 4-of-9 from the field and knocked down 5-of-6 free throws, as they stretched a five pint deficit into a three point win in the final eight minutes of play.

Aricka Wolf Chief led the Bears with 17 points, and Crystal Stamper kicked in 10. Tristan Parisian and Jaylin Parker's eight points each were also welcomed in the win.

But defense was also key for the Bears, as they racked up 19 steals and caused 27 Tiger turnovers. The Bears showed zone and man looks, and did most of their damage with their signature hi-tempo press that resulted in a lot of transition points for the Bears' offense.

"I think that is what got us here," Rossette said. "Pressure defense, full court, trapping, you name it, that is what we rely on."

Hawks edge Outlaws

In the other girl's game on Thursday night, it was the Hawks who advanced into the semis with a win. But in this game, it was back-to-back treys that sparked the Hawks stagnate offense, turning a 31-31 tie, into a quick 41-31 lead.

"It was good to get this win," C/J-I Head coach Pat Goldhahn said. "We were flat in the second quarter, and we talked about coming out with more energy, and I think it was actually our press that helped us pick up some of that energy."

The Hawk defense played very well for the first three quarters especially; as they went on to cause 16 turnovers on the night. They were very solid in the half court, but when the Hawks utilized their full court press in the third quarter was when they proved to be the toughest. They allowed just 16 first half points, and just 10 more in the third, as the Hawks offense slowed down after a first quarter run.

Through the first half, neither team was running away with the game. The Hawks led 15-8 after the first frame, but held just a 17-16 lead at the halfway point. Jenni Ghekiere carried the Hawks with 11 first quarter points in the paint, but the Hawks struggled to get the ball inside in the second quarter, resulting in a less productive eight minutes.

The third quarter was slightly better for the Hawks with 10 points, but the Outlaws' defense was too tough to gain any ground. The Hawks coughed the ball up five times in the frame as the Outlaws stretched their stiff man-to-man defense into an even tough full court press.

But while the Hawk defense kept them in the game through the first three quarters, it was the offense that woke up and did their part in the fourth, racking up 27 total points to double their total on the night. The game was tied 31-31 with five minutes to play, but Nicole Wolf and Katelyn Graff hit back to back treys for the Hawks, giving C/J-I the 37-31 lead. From there it was all Chester/J-I, as they continued to role on the offensive momentum.

"That was huge." Goldhahn said. "But I think even more important than our shooting, was that we went' 22-of-25 from the free throw line during the game. Anytime you can do that, that is fantastic. But (those two threes) were big. We have lived by the three all season long and are used to getting about seven per game. The girls didn't get that many looks tonight, but they took advantage when they did."

C/J-I only took four total treys against the Outlaws, but did take advantage shooting 50 percent by knocking down the two clutch shots that turned the momentum for the Hawks.

Ghekiere led the Hawks with 19 points, but Wolfe added an important 13. Stina Haaland also finished with nine.

Both the Bears and Hawks earned important wins on Thursday night, and now they will face off against each other tonight in the semifinal round at 5:30 p.m.

And the Bears know just how important it will be to make game time adjustments if they hope to get past the 10C champions.

"During these games we have to be able to make the necessary adjustments," Rossette said. "I am curious to see how we do against (Chester/J-I). We have had common opponents; we just haven't played each other. It will just be interesting to see how we match up."

And for the Hawks, they now have the daunting task of dealing with one of the best up-tempo full court pressure teams in the state.

"I hope we are ready." Goldhahn said. "If you aren't ready by this point in the season we will be. We are looking forward to this game, it should be a challenge. We have to look at this as a great opportunity. We are playing a great Box Elder team, now we just have to take advantage of it."

Belt too much for Beeters

By George Ferguson

In the 2011 Northern C girls semifinals, the Chinook Sugarbeeters gave the Belt Huskies a tough, tough game.

A year later, the two teams met in the opening round of the 2012 Northern C, and again, Chinook looked strong. But a combination of a long scoring drought, and the inability of senior guard Taryn Norby to be able to play left Chinook in too much of a hole as the top-ranked Huskies prevailed 57=35 Thursday afternoon at the Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls.

Norby, who has led Chinook in scoring all season injured herself in a Monday night challenge game against North Star. She tried to play Thursday but just couldn't be effective, and against the No. 1 team in Class C, squads will need all their weapons.

"She wanted to try it, but was hurting," said Chinook head coach Charlie Robinson. "She's scoring 15-plus a game; she's our leading ballhandler and second-best rebounder. If we're healthy, I think we can give Belt a game, but not today."

Chinook did look sharp early, trailing the Huskies only 17-13 at the end of a fast-paced first quarter. But then came a scoring drought of proportions you can't have and expect to advance in the Northern C. The Huskies went on a 13-0 run, a run in which Chinook didn't score a single point in the second period, and a run that would last until the 5:44 mark of the third quarter. And the damage was done.

Chinook trailed 30-14 at halftime, then scoring just six points in the third period, the Huskies had a commanding 45-20 lead with just eight minutes to play.

In the loss, Chinook (19-5) got nine points from senior Kayla Hanson, who scored seven of those in the first eight minutes of the game. Makhayla Farmer added eight points and nine rebounds, while Katelyn Neibauer scored six for Beeters, who shot just 29 percent from the field for the game. The Huskies (21-1) of head coach Jeff Graham, got 16 points from Holly Croff. Belt is on to a huge semifinal showdown with Winnett-Grass Range today at 4 p.m. Chinook fell into loser-out play against Valier this morning.

Tonight's second girls semifinal is the big one for the Hi-Line, pitting Box Elder against Chester/J-I at 5:30 p.m. at the Four Seasons Arena.

Belt 57, Chinook 35

Belt 17 13 15 12 — 57

Chinook 14 0 6 15 — 35

Belt — Kara Gerke 4, Holly Croff 16, Hannah Croff 4, Katie Fertterer 6, Josie Stinson 3, Kelsey Permann 8, Danielle Meissner 12, Maggie Croff 7. Totals: 21 11-19.

Chinook — Katelyn Neibauer 6, Emily Dennis 2, Haley Swank 3, Makhayla Farmer 8, Kayla Hanson 9, Madison McCann 2, Tavin Schneider 5. Totals: 12 10-14.

Total fouls: Belt 11, Chinook 17. Fouled out: none. 3-point goals: Holly Croff 3, Meissner 1, Maggie Croff 1, Swank 1.

Box Elder 58, Geraldine 55

Geraldine 17 12 17 9 55

Box Elder 16 13 12 17 58

Geraldine — Raymi Burtchett 3, Heather Wishman 9, Brielle McKinlay 13, Taylor Duvall 12, Alexandra Rowland 8, Morgan Leistiko 2. Totals: 21 8-13.

Box Elder — Brandi Buffalo 7, Crystal Stamper 10, Aricka Wolf Chief 17, Tristan Parisian 8, Jaylin Parker 3, Caitlyn Gamble 8, Breanna Matt 1, Kylee Raining Bird 4. Totals: 21 11-16.

Total fouls: Geraldine 17, Box Elder 11. Fouled out: 3-point goals: Burchette, Duvall 2, Wolf Chief, Parisian, Parker, Stamper 2.

Chester/J-I 54, Roy-Winifred 46

C/J-I 15 2 10 27 — 54

Roy-Winifred 8 8 10 20 — 46

C/J-I — Stine Haaland 9, McKinley Sangwin 8, Nicole Wolfe 13, Katelyn Graff 5, Jenni Ghekiere 19. Totals: 15 22-25.

Roy-Winifred — Shelby Smith 15, Hayley Siroki 4, Randi Wichman 2, Arley Knerr 7, Danyce McClure 14, Emily Bergum 4. Totals: 16 12-15.

Total fouls: C/J-I 11, Roy-Winifred 18. Fouled out: Wichman. 3-point goals: Wolfe, Graff, McClure 2.

C/J-I's Jocelyn Wooods (left) dribbles around a Winifred-Roy defender during a Northern C girls first round game Thursday in Great Falls.


Reader Comments(0)