Montana’s high school basketball season officially ended with the State basketball tournaments last week. In Class B, the outcome was one I don’t think I’ve seen in many years: Teams from the Southern division, which includes Jefferson High, captured all three trophies in both girls’ and boys’ brackets.

Sweet Grass County’s girls, who went undefeated on the year, took the Class B title by beating Anaconda, 63-58; Malta, 56-43; and Columbus, 46-26. Columbus got to the title game by defeating Fairfield, 45-37; and Roundup, 41-34. Roundup took third by by routing Malta in the consolation final, 46-24. 

On the boys’ side, Lodge Grass won the Class B crown by defeating Florence-Carlton, 62-50; Huntley Project, 67-49; and Manhattan, 64-47. Manhattan’s path to the final included wins over Powell County, 53-39; and Thompson Falls, 60-55, in overtime. Huntley Project defeated Thompson Falls for third, 44-37. 

In Class AA, Helena Capital took the girls’ title over Missoula Hellgate in a defensive battle, 33-31, while Billings Skyview defeated Great Falls High, 62-60, for the boys’ championship. Class C saw Scobey defeat Twin Bridges, 64-27, for the boys’ crown, and Fort Benton bested Saco-Whitewater-Hinsdale, 74-60, on the girls’ side.

So, Jefferson High fans will start thinking about next year. The Panthers’ boys and girls teams will both return a lot of players, promising strong squads with the potential to make deep runs. The Sweet Grass County and Whitehall girls’ teams are also young, so the basketball action should be very exciting. Hopefully, schools can start packing the house again by then.

Congratulations to Jefferson’s Rachel Van Blaricom for being voted All-State and first team All-Conference in District 5B. Panthers Dakota Edmisten and Cia Stuber made second team All-Conference. For the boys, Trent McMaster was voted first team All-Conference and Joey Visser second team. Coaches cannot vote for their own players.

Track, tennis and golf practices started this week. It looks like the weather will be nicer this spring than in the last couple of years. Schedules should be complete this week.

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