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Playing high school hoops in eighth grade has helped the Turner girls forge a new era of success in the 9C, and hopefully beyond


February 16, 2018

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

The Turner girls basketball team poses for a photo while watching a District 9C girls game Thursday afternoon inside the HHS gymnasium. After many years of girls basketball being a struggle in Turner, things have started to turn around, and a big reason why is the Montana High School Association's rule that allows eighth-graders to play varsity high school basketball if needed. Many of the girls on Turner's 2017-18 team, which is having the best season Turner has had in two decades, played while still in eighth grade. The Tornadoes, play for a spot in the Northern C Divisional Tournament tonight against Fort Benton. Turner hasn't reached the Northern C since 1978. The Tornadoes beat Hays-Lodge Pole Thursday, giving them their first semifinal berth in 20 years.

The Turner Tornadoes are one win away from playing for the District 9C championship - a place the girls program in Turner hasn't been for a long, long time. Another place Turner hasn't been, at least to play basketball games, is the famed Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls - and the Northern C Divisional Tournament.

The Tornadoes are one win away from getting there, too.

For many years, playing for 9C championships and advancing beyond the Havre High gymnasium just weren't realistic in Turner. In fact, there was a brief period in time when, having enough players to field a varsity basketba...

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