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Lights visit Warriors with title game berth on the line

 

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Montana State University-Northern's Devin Bray, left, drives the ball during Wednesday's Frontier Conference playoff game in the Armory Gymnasium. Northern is in the Frontier semifinals, where the Lights will play Lewis-Clark State Saturday night in Lewiston, Idaho.

If Wednesday night's win over the University of Providence was the last game the Montana State University-Northern Lights will play in the Armory Gymnasium, they sure went out with a bang.

But as exciting as the 101-93 victory over the Argos was, the win ensured the Lights also got to play at least one more game. And that game comes Saturday night when Northern (18-13) travels to Lewiston, Idaho, to face the No. 13 Lewis-Clark State Warriors in the Frontier Conference semifinals.

"We're excited," Adam Huse said Wednesday night. "We're still playing. Now, we'll try and go do it again."

Do it again would mean beating the Warriors (25-6) on their home floor, something the Lights weren't able to do in their only regular-season trip to Lewiston last month.

However, Northern has had three really good battles with LC State this season, including an overtime win in January in Havre, and a close loss to the Warriors last weekend in Havre.

"Certainly, this will be a tough game," Northern head coach Shawn Huse said. "They're playing great. They have a long winning streak going right now. We know very well how talented and dangerous they are offensively, so we're going to have to do some things to try and disrupt them, we've got to slow them down."

The Lights did that pretty well in a tough, five-point loss to the Warriors last Friday night in the Armory. But, as Huse mentioned, LC is extremely talented, and they come into Saturday's semifinal on a nine-game winning streak, including a quarterfinal win over Montana Western Wednesday night.

The Warriors aren't just winning either, they've been impressive in doing so. They average 89 points per game, and have the top defense in the Frontier, allowing just 66 points per night. Dana Abe, Damek Mitchell, Corey Dollarhide and Race Martin all score in double figures for a deep LC squad that has nine players who average five or more points per game.

And yet, the Lights are riding high, having won their last two games, including Wednesday night's playoff win in which they shot 54 percent from the field, made 14 3-pointers and got a pair of 26-point outings from Mascio McCadney and Adam Huse.

So while MSU-N will be underdogs in Lewiston, they don't intend on playing like one. Instead, the Lights have their sites firmly set on winning Saturday night, and moving on to the Frontier championship game against either top-seeded Carroll College or Montana Tech.

"We do feel like we match up well with them (Warriors)," Huse said. "Our guys are very confident right now. They know what they're capable of. So we're excited, we're looking forward to this opportunity, and there's no reason why we can't go down there and give ourselves a great chances to be successful."

Saturday night's Frontier semifinal between Northern and LC State is set for 8 p.m. in Lewiston, Idaho. The Frontier championship game will be played Tuesday night at the site of the highest remaining seed.

 

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