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Fort Benton excited to be back at state volleyball


November 14, 2019

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Mckenna Hanford and the Fort Benton Longhorns begin play at the Class C state tournament today against Charlo. The Longhorns won last week's Northern C championship to reach the state tourney, which runs today through Saturday in Bozeman.

There were a lot of really good high school volleyball teams along the Hi-Line and in our area this fall. But at the end of the divisonal tournament weekend, only one was left standing.

Starting today in Bozeman, the Fort Benton Longhorns will compete in the Class C state tournament, as the champion of the Northern C.

Fort Benton lost just two regular season matches this season, and only two teams all year have beaten the Longhorns - District 7C rival Belt, and Chinook. However, when it mattered most, neither the Sugarbeeters or Belt, could stop the Longhorns from claiming a coveted Northern C title.

Of course, a loaded roster helps, too.

Fort Benton has an outstanding amount of talent all over its rotation, led by a standout group of seniors. McKenzie Clark has been a dynamic attacker for the Longhorns all season long, while McKenna Hanford has been the catalyst at setter. Add in senior Cassie Nack playing well at multiple positions, as well as the likes of Nicole Axtman and Abby Clark, and so much depth, and it's no wonder why the Longhorns are riding high heading to Bozeman.

Of course, Fort Benton's first state tourney appearance in some time won't be easy. The Class C field is fully loaded with great teams, including the Longhorn's rival Belt. The Huskies come into the tourney as the defending state champions and will still be a favorite this weekend. Belt does have a tough first-round match against Eastern C champion Plentywood.

Belt's side of the bracket also contains Western C champion Manhattan-Christian, which takes on Roy-Winifred in the first round.

On the other side of the bracket, Southern C champion Bridger will battle Eastern C runner-up Westby-Grenora today at 2 p.m., while the Longhorns close out the first round against Western C runner-up Charlo today at 4 p.m.

The four winners of the first round will play in the quarterfinals tonight at 6 and 8 p.m., respectively. The loser-out round will be held Friday morning, followed by the undefeated semifinal, two more loser-out matches, and the fourth-place match, which is set for 8 p.m. Friday. The tournament continues Saturday with the third-place match at 10 a.m., the championship at noon and an if-necessary match at 2 p.m.

The 2010 All-Class State Volleyball Tournament will take place at the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse on the campus of Montana State University in Bozeman.


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