Hamilton's Jesse Bartels and Dillon's Austin Carver batle for a loose ball. Jean Schurman photo
It was ugly. That is the first thing coach Toby Stack of Hamilton will tell you about the game between his Broncs and the Dillon Beavers. But while he is telling you this, he is smiling from ear to ear because his upstart Broncs nearly fell the defending state Class A champs.
He summed up the game with this, “one more basket or one more defensive stop and we’re right there with a team that played for the title last year.”
The stop could have come with less than 30 seconds remaining in the game after Kameron Kohn made two free throws to tie the game at 48 all. Dillon missed a basket and Hamilton pulled down the rebound. But a turnover at half court put the ball back in Dillon’s hands. Ben Folsom put up an inside shot that sent the ball spinning and bouncing around the rim for two seconds before it dropped in and gave the Beavers the 50-48 final score.
But the star of the game was the Hamilton defense. Stack said his team had prepared for the Beavers and was confident going into the game.
“Knowing that we struggle offensively and knowing that we don’t have a bunch of returning scorers coming back, we focus on the defensive end, try to make the game ugly and get Dillon out of what they are trying to do,” he said.
Hamilton stuck to their game plan in the first half and played an aggressive, disciplined style of defense. They led by as many as five points in the half before Dillon tied it at the break. The game was tied at the end of three quarters as well. In the fourth quarter, Reese Isherwood dropped a long bomb to give Hamilton a three-point margin but that was as wide as the point spread ever got from either team.
Stack summed up the game saying, “it can be fun to be ugly.”
Dillon 50, Hamilton 48
Dillon – Boyd Jenne 18, Ben Folsom 16, Austin Carver 2, Troy Scott 4, Wyatt Holland 6, Caleb Gillis 4.
Hamilton – Teague Blome 10, Josh Bauder 8, Kameron Kohn 12, Reese Isherwood 12, Jesse Bartels 6.
Stevensville topped the undefeated Hellgate Knights in non-conference action on Friday night. After trailing by four at the end of the first quarter, the Yellowjackets went to town, outscoring Hellgate by 15 points in the second and third quarters and went on to win, 58-45, knocking off the No. 1 ranked Missoula team. The Yellowjackets controlled the boards, pulling down 32 rebounds, 12 by Jesse Sims, compared to Hellgate’s 21 boards. Jared Schultz had 18 points to pace the ‘Jackets and Sims chipped in 12.
Stevensville 58, Hellgate 45
Stevensville – Austin Lords 8, Jesse Sims 13, Zach Gavlak 7, Kadin Beller 7, Jared Schultz 18, Chris Lords 4, Christopher Bergman 1.
Missoula Hellgate – Tinkle 14, Colberg 2, Harvala 8, Brady Henthorn 6, Brendan Jones 5, Bray 8, Mark Lebsock 2.
Florence was knocked out of the undefeated ranks by Bigfork Friday night in Bigfork. The game was close throughout but Florence could never get the edge. Ryno Baerlocher led the Falcons in scoring with 14 points.
Bigfork 48, Florence 44
Florence – Ryno Baerlocher 14, Rhett Baerlocher 4, Ryan Mangun 7, Brad Schaff 11, Aaron Ward 8.
Bigfork – Jordt 7, Roessmann 10, Trent 8, Landon 7, Kirby 4, Evans 13.
Victor improved their record to 6-1 in conference play and 8-1 overall with a couple of wins. The Pirates defeated Philipsburg, 86-50, in a rout on Friday. Victor built up a sizable lead in the first quarter but then faltered a bit in the second and allowed the Prospectors to pull within 10 points in the second. But it was all Victor in the final half. Kyle Ball finished with 29 points while Corey Deering had 21. Derrick Cavill canned three treys for Victor also.
Victor 86, Philipsburg 50
Philipsburg– J. Metesh 8, W. Metesh 2, Stephenson 10, Stephenson 2, Bohrnsen 10, Comings 11, Goff 7.
Victor – Austin Lewis 3, Derrick Cavill 11, Terrell Sherrill 3, Nate Bishop 2, Kyle Ball 29, Corey Deering 21, Matt Kittel 9, Michael O’Leary 2, Jack Pederson 2, GP Monta 4.
It was not a scoring fest but the Pirates held on for a one point win over Seeley-Swan on Saturday. Victor, behind Randy Miller’s 11 points, won 33-32.
Seeley topped Darby, 42-35, on Friday in Darby. Storm Wanstrath had 11 points to lead the Tigers. On Saturday, Darby beat Alberton, 43-25, led by Ryan McCrossin’s 11 points.
Corvallis lost to Butte Central, 69-44. Chase Walker had 11 points and Alma Powell finished with 10 in the game.