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Wildcats advance to state

by BRANDON HANSEN
| February 28, 2024 2:00 AM

The Wildcats won two games at the Western A Divisional Tournament in Butte, qualifying for the state tournament on March 7-9 at the same site.

The journey through the bracket had plenty of twists and turns, just like the road to Butte, as Columbia Falls lost two games by a total of six points as well. 

In its first game of divisionals, Columbia Falls downed Dillon 51-49 in a close and hard-fought game on Thursday, February 22. 

The Wildcats trailed by two points in the first quarter but battled back for a 25-23 halftime lead. Dillon would then take the 37-36 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Momentum would change again, and Columbia Falls outscored Dillon by three points in the final stanza.

Cody Schweikert led the Wildcats with 16 points, while Jace Hill notched 11 points, and Hunter Goodman had ten. 

The win moved Columbia Falls in the divisional semifinals, where they played another thriller but fell to Hamilton 57-55 on Friday, February 23. 

Hamilton had a 31-30 halftime lead and then went on a 12-7 run in the third quarter for the 43-37 lead. Columbia Falls wasn’t done, however, and outscored the Broncs by four points in the fourth but couldn’t quite come away with the win. 

Jace Hill and Cody Schweikert each dropped 21 points in the game. 

The loss dropped Columbia Falls into the consolation semifinals, where the Wildcats dismantled Frenchtown 77-47 on Saturday, February 24. 

Columbia Falls led 23-9 after one quarter and 41-18 at halftime. The Wildcats shot 61 percent as a team in the first half. Scoring was more even in the second half, but the Wildcats continued to add to their lead. Jace Hill dropped 33 points for Columbia Falls. Hill was unstoppable from the three-point range, hitting 7-of-9 from beyond the arc and finishing the game 13-for-15 overall. 

Alihn Anderson had 12 and Cody Schweikert notched ten. The game punched Columbia Falls’ ticket to state. 

In the consolation finals, Columbia Falls matched up with Dillon again, but this time around, they fell 63-59 to take fourth in the divisional tournament. 

Dillon led 36-30 at halftime, and that lead grew to seven points in the third. Columbia Falls did carve into the lead by three points in the final stanza, pulling to within 56-55 with just 1:42 left in the matchup. 

Two Dillon free throws, followed by a bucket from the post and then two throws lifted the Southwest A team to the victory over the Wildcats. 

Cody Schweikert led the Wildcats with 20 points, while Jace Hill had 14 points. Alihn Anderson and Hunter Goodman each had eight. 

Columbia Falls goes into the state tournament with the west’s No. 4 seed, a 10-2 conference record, and a 14-8 overall record. 



Saturday, February 24

At Butte

DILLON 63, COLUMBIA FALLS 59

C-Falls - 13 - 17 - 13 - 16 - 59

Dillon - 17 - 19 - 14 - 13 - 63

COLUMBIA FALLS SCORING - Cody Schweikert 20, Jace Hill 14, Alihn Anderson 8, Hunter Goodman 8, Mark Robison 5, Dane Tu 4

Saturday, February 24 - 

At Butte

COLUMBIA FALLS 77, FRENCHTOWN 47

Frenchtown - 9 - 9 - 18 - 11 - 47

C-Falls - 23 - 18 - 20 - 16 - 77 

COLUMBIA FALLS - Jace Hill 33, Alihn Anderson 12, Cody Schweikert 10, Easton Brooks 6, Hunter Goodman 5, Reggie Sapa 5, Mark Robison 4, Silas Ypma 2 

Friday, February 23

HAMILTON 57, COLUMBIA FALLS 55

Hamilton - 14 - 17 - 12 - 14 - 57

C-Falls - 13 - 17 - 7 - 18 - 55

COLUMBIA FALLS - Jace Hill 21, Cody Schweikert 21, Hunter Goodman 4, Mark Robison 3, Dane Tu 2, Alihn Anderson 2, Easton Brooks 2

Thursday, February 22

At Butte 

COLUMBIA FALLS 51, DILLON 49

Dillon - 13 - 10 - 14 - 12 - 49

C-Falls - 11 - 14 - 11 - 15 - 51

COLUMBIA FALLS SCORING - Cody Schweikert 16, Jace Hill 11, Hunter Goodman 10, Alihn Anderson 8, Dane Tu 3, Mark Robison 2, Easton Brooks 1