(2N) Box Elder 58, (2E) Saco-Whitewater-Hinsdale 53
GREAT FALLS — Kyla Momberg scored 30 points and the Box Elder girls topped Saco-Whitewater-Hinsdale 58-53 in an instant classic to secure a spot in Saturday’s State C championship.
It marks Box Elder’s third trip to the title game in the last five seasons.
“It was a great game from start to finish, I thought both teams battled hard,” said Box Elder coach Joel Rosette. “It’s tough. Both teams deserved to win, but there’s got to be a loser. We’re fortunate to come out on top.”
The game was close through out with Box Elder’s shot-making matching up against North Country’s size and athleticism.
Momberg, who was a freshman when Box Elder won a title in 2019, was instant offense for the Bears defense. The senior guard scored 21 points in the first half alone, keeping Box Elder in the game when the Mavericks went on some early runs.
“Thursday (against Melstone) she wasn’t able to do what she liked,” Rosette said. “She came out pretty hungry to prove herself and I think she did that tonight.”
Though Momberg was the offensive star, the rest of the Bears contributed to the gritty win. Angela Goper scored 10 points, and the bench provided a defensive spark against the balanced Mavericks team.
“We usually run 10 deep, every one of our girls that was in there did something,” Rosette said. “We talk about it all year, that’s what championship teams do. Everybody gets their chance, they make a play.”
The Mavericks, state runners-up in 2021, were led by 6-2 sophomore Teagan Erickson who scored 14 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. Jaycee Erickson led North Country in scoring with 16 points, converting 10-of-13 free throws. Paige Wasson scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds.
North Country is one of the top defensive teams in the state, but it didn’t matter what they threw at Momberg whose fearless drives into the paint usually ended with a basket or a pass to an open teammate.
(1N) Roy-Winifred 34, (1E) Plentywood 31
Roy-Winifred rallied from a fourth quarter deficit to beat Plentywood 34-31 and clinched a spot in the State C championship game.
With four minutes left in the game, and Roy-WInifred down by seven - Outlaws star guard Laynee Elness fouled out. To that point, she had scored 14 points and things looked bleak for Roy-Winifred in what had been an uphill battle against the Wildcats.
But Megan Bergum hit back to back threes and the Outlaws cut the lead to one with 2:22 left. From there, stout defense and timely free throws allowed Roy-Winifred to advance to the title game for the third time in four seasons.
“They know when they have to step up,” said Outlaws co-coach Mauri Elness. “I don’t know, I can’t even explain it, they keep their composure. They looked a little deflated a couple of times, but they kept their composure and they executed. We ran a different defense and that bothered them. I’m so proud of those girls.”
Roy-Winifred held Plentywood to just 11 total field goals. Liv Wangerin and Emma Brensdal led the Wildcats with eight points each. Bergum scored nine for the Outlaws on 3-for-4 from three points range, and Isabella Heggem scored eight points, grabbed a 11 rebounds and blocked four shots.
The undefeated Outlaws advance to Saturday’s championship against Northern C rival Box Elder, who they defeated two weeks ago on this same floor in the Divisional championship.
“Our motto is always respect all, fear none,” Bergum said. “Box Elder is a really good team so we just have to come together like we did tonight.”
Saturday’s title will be a rematch of the 2019 Class C championship, which Box Elder won 48-42 for their second of back to back titles. Tip off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Ekalaka 68, Manhattan Christian 63
Twin Bridges 48, Meltsone 40