Saturday, April 01, 2023

Boys take fifth, play in game for shot at State

| March 1, 2023 2:00 AM

Like the girls, the Columbia Falls boys basketball team will have one last shot at a state tournament berth.

The Wildcats took fifth at the Western A tournament in Ronan last week.

They opened with a 69-50 loss to Frenchtown on Thursday, but bounced back Friday with a 66-61 win over Polson.

Then on Saturday the boys lost to Dillon, 60-50, but beat Browning in a dominant performance, 69-50.

“Everyone contributed some way, somehow,” noted coach Chris Finberg of the Browning game. “It was a good team win.”

Guard Jace Hill had a standout tourney for the Wildcats, with 18 against Polson, 16 against Dillon and 25 against Browning.

The Dillon game was closer than the score would suggest — the Cats were down just 41-39 at one point in the third quarter and 44-41 early in the fourth quarter, but Dillon tightened down their defense and simply did a good job of keeping the Cats at bay.

“We battled to the end,” Finberg said. “A few breaks didn’t go our way.”

The boys now face Havre in a play-in game Saturday at the Butte Civic Center at 2:30 p.m. The winner goes to the state tournament in Bozeman the following week.

“We put ourselves in a position to win and go to state,” coach Chris Finberg said.

Havre is led by Xavier Butler, who averages just under 19 points a game and Trey Gary, who averages about 10.

“They’ve got some good shooters,” Finberg noted.


Junior Mark Robison takes a shot against Polson in the Western A Divisional Tournament on Friday in Ronan. (JP Edge photo)

If the Cats win the play-in, they’d face top-ranked Butte Central in the opener. Butte beat Frenchtown 72-65 for the Western A title.

Browning 14 9 9 18 - 50

C-Falls 16 13 20 20 - 69

BROWNING — Maurice Redhorn III 19, Payton Grant 2, Brayds Vielle 6, Tommy Runningrabbit 6, Robert Reagan 15, Tristan Crawford 2.

COLUMBIA FALLS — Mark Robison 7, Alihn Anderson 7, Jace Hill 25, Bryce Dunham 5, Reggie Sapa 2, Cody Schweikert 13, Hunter Goodman 10.


Junior Jace Hill jumps towards the basket on Friday in the Western A Divisional Tournament. (JP Edge photo)


Senior Bryce Dunham takes a shot against Polson in the Western A Divisional Tournament in Ronan on Friday. (JP Edge photo)


Junior Jace Hill shoots against Polson on Friday in the Western A Divisional Tournament in Ronan. (JP Edge photo)


Junior Cody Schweikert goes for a lay up in Ronan in the Western A Divisional Tournament on Friday. (JP Edge photo)

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