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Mission Valley prep basketball teams fall in divisional rounds

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By Rob Zolman 

Valley Journal

BUTTE – The 2017-18 season came to an end for the Polson Pirates, and Ronan Chiefs and Maidens during the Western A divisional basketball tournament at the Butte Civic Center this past weekend. 

The Ronan Chiefs watched their bid to the state tournament and season close on Saturday, falling to Butte Central 63-56. 

Trailing by two at halftime, Butte Central outscored Ronan 37-28 over the final 16 minutes to get the win. 

Ezekiel Misa scored a game-high 28 points and Anthony Camel added 10 more for the Chiefs.

On Thursday, the Chiefs held at the half-time break a one-point advantage over Dillion, however a 17-9 scoring run in the third quarter gave Dillon the lead and subsequent 67-60 win.

Misa led all scorers with a game-high 27 points.

The Chiefs rebounded from the loss on Thursday with a 51-32 win over Libby on Friday which advanced Ronan into the Saturday morning elimination match-up with Butte Central.

Ronan controlled the game from the opening tip. After a 16-2 first-quarter run, the Chiefs led 30-10 at the break.

Camel led the Chiefs, who finished the season with an overall record 10-14, with a game-high 18 points.

“I am very proud of the way that my young men played this season,” Chiefs’ head coach Mitchell Wassam said. “Throughout all of the adversity, the ups and downs, they continued to battle and stay the course. Unfortunately, we finished a few minutes short of our goal, making it to the state tournament, but the guys fought until the final buzzer of every game.”

Polson’s season ended Friday morning, as the Northwestern A district champions Pirates (11-11) fell to the Browning Indians, 77-70, in a loser out round.

The Pirates got off to a fast start, building a 10-point 25-15 lead in the first quarter, while closing out the half with a 40-34 lead. 

Trailing by six at halftime, Browning outscored the Pirates 18-9 in the third quarter to go up 52-49. The Indians then scored 25 points in the fourth quarter to seal the win. 

Shade Main scored a team-high 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Pirates.

Asa Askan had 18 points for Polson, while Connor Lanier scored 16 and Robin Erickson chipped in 10.

After a 22-8 second-quarter run, Frenchtown led the Pirates 35-21 at the break during Thursday’s first round action. 

A 32-20 second half rally came up short for the Pirates as they fell 55-53. 

Pirates’ Lanier led all scorers with 16 points while Erickson added 12.

On the girl’s side, the Ronan Maidens fell 41-26 to Frenchtown in the tournament opener on Thursday and 71-59 in an elimination game against Columbia Falls on Friday.

The Maidens finish Coach Steve Woll’s inaugural season with an 8-16 overall record.

Micalann McCrea scored a Maiden team high 13 points against Frenchtown and a game-high 25 points against Columbia Falls.

During the Western C Divisional Tournament in Hamilton, both the Arlee Scarlets and the Charlo Lady Vikings made their way into Saturday morning action.

The Arlee Scarlets earned a berth into the divisional tournament by defeating St. Regis 54-43 in a challenge game just days prior to the start of the tournament. 

Alyssia Vanderburg poured in a game-high 31 points to lead the Scarlets.

On Thursday, Vanderburg paced the Scarlets with 30 points and Emily Fiddler scored 11 as Arlee defeated Clark Fork 57-49 in first round action. 

In Friday’s semifinal match up against Twin Bridges, the Scarlets fell 44-35. Twin Bridges jumped out to a 13-7 first-quarter lead and then outpaced the Scarlets the rest of the game.

In a win or go home game on Saturday morning, Manhattan Christian narrowly squeaked by Arlee 44-42. With the loss, the Scarlets wrapped up the season with a 19-7 overall record.

The recently crowned 14C District Champions Charlo Lady Vikings, started their divisional tournament with a 40-26 rout of Seeley-Swan on Thursday. Tyrah Hammond led the Lady Vikings with 11 points, while Sakoya Gaustad followed closely behind with 10 points. 

On Friday, the Lady Vikings fell to Ennis in a low scoring semifinal game, 31-15.

Kaitlin Cox scored 31 points, as she and the Lady Vikings finished their season in a close loser out battle on Saturday, falling to Clark Fork, 50-48. 

“I have had a great time this year with this group.  I’m always proud of my girls ever year,” Lady Vikings head coach Bret Thompson said. “We all want to win and sometimes you do and sometimes you don’t.  But, if there is one thing that these girls have done this season it would be that no one had an easy night playing the Lady Vikings.”

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