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FRIDAY'S PREP BASKETBALL: 9C teams stay alive


Last updated 2/19/2021 at 9:11pm

Colin Thompson

Action from Friday's boys loser-out game between Big Sandy and CJI in Havre.

Both the District 9C Boys and Girls Basketball Tournaments continued on Friday at the Havre High Gymnasium and like most of the past year, was full of uncertainty and excitement. One team had to forfeit their game on Friday while another team did not know until the morning of if they would even play. Two teams had to go to overtime to see who would move on to the consolation game.

Only one game seemed to avoid its share of drama. Five and half minutes into the game, Box Elder had failed to score a single point and trailed by eight points to Chinook. It looked like the loser-out game in the District 9C Girls' Basketball Tournament would either go Chinook's way or at least be competitive with how Chinook came out. Instead, Box Elder went on a 65-34 run the rest of the way for the 65-42 win at the Havre High School Gymnasium on Friday morning.

"We just came out flat," said Box Elder head coach Jerome Gopher. "It all picks up on the defensive end. From there, the defense will take care of its own."

A key contributor to the Bears' dominance was Kyla Momberg, who tied for the team lead with 18 points and led the team with 11 rebounds.

"We really jumped into the game with high energy," Momberg said. "We led really good in our assists but it really started from our rebounds."

Box Elder will next play Turner in the consolation game on Saturday. Turner had a loser-out game scheduled for Friday as well, but their opponent, Hays Lodgepole, had to forfeit because of COVID-19 issues. Turner came into the tournament as the no. 2 seed and have a top player in Shyan Krass, who Gopher hopes to limit.

"We just have to defend Krass. She's one of the top players in the district," Gopher said. "All we got to do is rebound, defend and I think we'll be fine."

Box Elder and Turner will play for the consolation trophy and a bid to the divisional tournament on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at the Havre High Gymnasium.

The District 9C Boys Basketball Tournament opened with a bang on Friday at the Havre High Gymnasium as Chester-Joplin-Inverness and Big Sandy had to go to overtime to decide the winner of the loser-out game. It looked like Big Sandy would win as they had a two-point lead with just under a minute remaining in the game. However, the Hawks refused to lose as junior Kyle Harmon hit a 3-pointer to take the lead in the final minute.

"We were looking for threes. We knew we're good shooters and we got to show it tonight," Harmon said.

Senior Kealy Haaland added to the Hawks' lead with two free throws to make the final score 52-49 in favor of CJI to advance to the tournament's consolation game for a chance at a bid to the divisional tournament next week.

CJI head coach Joe Horel believes that his team's combination of strong defense and clutch shooting picked up the victory for them.

"The kids came out, put on good ball pressure and we turned them a couple times," Horel said. "That was what got us into overtime and it was still defense right on through overtime. We picked our shots well late into the game and boy we hit some big ones."

The Hawks advance to the consolation game on Saturday where they will face Box Elder. CJI opened tournament play on Tuesday night against Box Elder, but suffered a 74-60 loss. However, Horel is confident that his team can challenge the Bears.

"The first time we played them, we were up a dozen at halftime and then we let them back in," Horel said. "The kids know what's coming."

Their opponent, Box Elder, had quite the journey making it to the consolation game on Saturday. They had to forfeit their game against Chinook on Thursday night that would have given them the opportunity to compete for the tournament championship. They did not know if they would be able to compete for the consolation trophy until this morning. Yet, Box Elder took care of business with a 57-48 win against North Star at the Havre High Gymnasium in a loser-out game.

"It's been an emotional rollercoaster for us. Had to deal with not getting an opportunity to compete, outside our control," said Box Elder head coach Jeremy MacDonald. "Tonight, we got an opportunity to control what we can control and the boys played well, responded well emotionally and maintained their composure."

One such player who kept their composure was Tayce St. Pierre, who started the game on fire by scoring 15 of his game-leading 23 points in the first quarter. Despite the emotional rollercoaster that he had been on the previous 24 hours, he knew he had to focus on the game.

"There have been ups and downs but you got to come out and keep playing," St. Pierre said.

Box Elder will next face Chester-Joplin-Inverness in the consolation game tomorrow afternoon with a bid to the divisional tournament on the line. After defeating CJI to open the tournament, MacDonald hopes that his team is ready for the rematch.

"We know that they're going to play hard and give us everything they got," MacDonald said. "Hopefully our boys are ready to come back."

Box Elder and CJI face off for the consolation trophy at the Havre High Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon at 1:00 p.m.

District 9C Girls' Basketball Tournament:

Box Elder 65, Chinook 42, LO

Chinook 13 7 10 12 - 42

Box Elder 13 19 22 11 - 65

Chinook - Jade Cecrle 0, Bree Swanson 4, Britton Elliot 6, Torin Cecrle 0, Anna Terry 0, Hallie Neibauer 12, Jayden Miller 6, Teagan Richman 0, Jenna Liddle 0, Allison Powell 14.

Box Elder - Annalise Johnson 2, Angela Gopher 18, Neferti Standing Rock 3, Kendra Gopher 3, Mariah Arkinson 8, Tayleigh Sutherland 2, Abria Small Boy 1, Tayleigha Sun Child 0, Arial Gopher 7, Kyla Momberg 18, Breanna Bacon 3.

District 9C Boys' Basketball Tournament:

Chester-Joplin-Inverness 52, Big Sandy 49, LO

Big Sandy 10 8 13 13 5 - 49

CJI 10 11 10 13 8 - 52

Big Sandy - Rusty Gasvoda 0, Lane Demontiney 7, Kody Strutz 7, Brayden Cline 12, Wylee Snapp 4, Cooper Taylor 9, Ryder Galbavy 0, Kade Strutz 10.

Colin Thompson

Box Elder's Kyla Momberg races up the floor during Friday's loser-out game against Chinook.

CJI - Bryce Ghekiere 0, Braden Mattson 3, Kyle Harmon 14, Jordan Bender 0, Bryce Kammerzell 14, Blake Harmon 15, Trevin Grammer 0, Kealy Haaland 6.

Box Elder 57, North Star 48, LO

North Star 13 6 15 14 - 48

Box Elder 21 11 14 11 - 57

North Star - Joey Wendland 2, Garrett Spicher 10, Payne Ditmar 1, Gavin Spicher 10, Jaden Sargent 8, Ty Hansen 3, Rhett Wolery 14, Gavin Clawson 0.

Box Elder - Jayden Jilot 2, Gabe Saddler 16, Malique Rosette 4, Kadyn Duran 4, Tyrus LaMere 6, Tayce St. Pierre 23, Jayden Gopher 2.


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