Havre Daily News - News you can use

Fort Benton repeats as 9C champs; HLP makes history


February 21, 2020

Colin Thompson

The Fort Benton Longhorns captured their second straight 9C girls championship Saturday night in Havre.

The scene was set. Top-seeded Fort Benton and No. 3 Turner fighting it our for a 2020 District 9C girls title in the Havre High Gymnasium Saturday night.

In the case of the Longhorns, it was a three-peat as district champs in their sights, while the Tornadoes were playing in a chipper after a drought lasting over a decade and looked to take the win.

But, Fort Benton weathered the storm to beat Turner 58-41 and claimed the 9C title for a third year in a row, as well as a still-standing undefeated record.

Longhorns head coach Cassie Pimperton was proud of her teams work on the court.

"I'm happy for the girls," Pimperton said. "I'm proud of these girls. It's a great group of kids. They work hard all year and they deserve it. Turner is a great basketball game, too. It was a good basketball game."

Meanwhile, Tornadoes head coach Julie Welsh was proud of the effort her girls put in and is excited to be back at divisionals.

"First of all, we're playing in the district championship in the toughest conference in the state," Welsh said. "We just played good. Even if they were tired, they played well. I'm proud of them."

And Fort Benton kicked off the matchup by going on a unanswered 8-0 run, with four different Longhorns putting up baskets. Shyan Krass and Sarah Billmayer dropped some points of their own, but it was Aspen Giese's three 3-pointers that helped propel Fort Benton to an 18-10 lead after the first quarter.

Giese and McKenna Hanford combined for a 7-0 run to put the Longhorns up 25-10 within the second stanza, while Billmayer and Dakota Krass pushed to keep the Tornadoes in the game, but Fort Benton stayed on top 30-18 at halftime.

In the second half, MeKenzie Clark kept the pace up for the Longhorns, with Billmayer and Shyan Krass fighting back with multiple buckets, but Hanford and Clark just trucked ahead to give Fort Benton a big 51-28 lead after three.

Clark added some more baskets to start the fourth for the Longhorns, which led to some back-and-forth between the two teams. In the end, Shyan Krass and Brooke Reed ended the game on a 8-0 run, but still took second in the 9C, which is still a big accomplishment for Turner.

Giese dropped 26 points to lead the Longhorns alongside six treys, while Shyan Krass put up 14 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Tornadoes.

But before the big game, the No. 4 Hays Lodge-Pole Thunderbirds and the No. 5 Box Elder Bears played for a third place finish and a trip to the Northern C Divisionals along with Fort Benton and Turner

HLP was fighting for a big reason Saturday night in the Havre High Gymnasium. The T-Birds had not been to divisionals since 1987. Meanwhile, the Bears were looking to get back to the Northern C Divisionals for a third time in a row.

And HLP completed their quest for the spot in the Northern C Divisionals with a hard-fought 65-49 win over Box Elder.

In the case of Thunderbirds head coach Corey Morgan, he was glad of his team for working hard to make it to divisionals.

"We had the same game plan as Thursday," Morgan said. "Keep the tempo up, them rushing and most importantly, keep the pressure on Box Elder. I'm proud of these girls."

At the same time, Bears head coach Jerome Gopher was proud to see his team work hard all season long.

"This whole year has been a really good experience for the girls," Gopher said. "Hays Lodge-Pole came out and beat us four times this year. But, I'm proud of my girls."

Sarah Parisian opened the bout with a field goal, but HLP responded with a huge 15-0 run to grab the lead early. Parisian dropped some more baskets for Box Elder, while Aysia LaMere pushed for her own, but the T-Birds still led 21-8 after the first quarter.

Colin Thompson

Action from Saturday night's 9C girls championship game.

The second stanza started with a Parisian 3-pointer, followed by a Ella Messerly and Nashone Shambo 12-0 run to keep HLP trucking. Parisian kept added points for the Bears in the last part of the first half, but the Thunderbirds still led 39-22 at intermission.

Mulleeah Stiffarm brought the thunder in the third period to help HLP go on a 6-0 run throughout the quarter, while Parisian and Brielle Sunchild pushed to help Box Elder up the score. As the second half continued the teams would go to and fro, but the T-Birds kept at it and claimed the third place trophy.

Parisian had 23 points to lead the Bears, while Messerly led the T-Birds with 14, followed by Stiffarm with 12.

Now, Fort Benton (No. 1), Turner (No. 2) and Hays Lodge-Pole (No. 3) will all take a trip to the Northern C Divisionals next week at the Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls to try and punch a ticket to the Class C State Tournament.


Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019