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Montana boys win, girls lose on first night of basketball series - KRTV News in Great Falls, Montana

Montana boys win, girls lose on first night of basketball series with Wyoming

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After wrapping up one of the most impressive careers in Class B girls basketball history, Janie McRae is hanging up her jersey for the final time after this weekend’s Montana-Wyoming all-star basketball series.

McRae, who has her name all over the Shepherd High School career record books, won’t continue her playing career at the college level. Despite holding the single-game and season records for points and rebounds at Shepherd, as well as the career marks for rebounds and blocks, McRae never figured herself for a college athlete.

But there’s a little more to it than that. She played her entire high school career with two stress fractures in her lower vertebrae, which doctors discovered when McRae was in seventh grade.

“I remember (the Southern B divisional tournament) my freshman year, I could barely play. I did, but it was a lot of pain,” McRae recalled, noting that she used the next summer to recover before focusing on months of physical therapy.

“It’s still good, but if I would push it too much, then I wouldn’t know how it would react,” she added.

So this weekend is the final swan song for the former Fillie bound for Montana State. There is no more competitive basketball in her future, giving these two games a little extra meaning.

McRae started off Saturday’s contest taking advantage of the moment. She scored nine first-half points to help the Montana girls to a 41-32 halftime lead. But Wyoming would rally, outscoring the Montana all-stars by 16 in the second half to capture a 71-64 win.

While disappointing, this loss doesn’t carry the significance of the last two McRae experienced at Shepherd. The Fillies carried an undefeated mark into the semifinal round at the Class B state tournament.

Malta outlasted Shepherd 51-45 in overtime to advance to the championship, where the M-Ettes would win their second consecutive state title. Shepherd finished fourth, losing to St. Labre in the consolation game.

“It was just as close to a perfect ending as we could’ve got without winning those last couple games,” McRae said. “It was so close, but it was still a lot of fun. All throughout the season you knew you were doing something special for (coach Bill Lepley) and for the team. It was fun.”

McRae teamed up with Malta’s Hailey Nicholson and St. Labre’s Shiloh McCormick this week. That trio, plus Forsyth’s Raelynn Keefer, made up 40 percent of the girls team, an impressive number for Class B in this series.

Those four stars and Havre’s Dani Wagner made up the second unit for coach Wes Keller on Friday. After both teams got off to a slow start, that unit – with McRae and McCormick shouldering the scoring load – helped Montana build its lead. They led by as many as nine points but were never able to grow the lead to double-digits.

Wyoming, namely Jessie Geer, who will play college basketball at Utah State, rallied in the second half. Geer scored 14 points after the break to help the Wyoming all-stars close the gap, and Emily Robertson gave the team their first lead since early in the second quarter with a bucket with 2:43 to play.

McCormick, who will play basketball and rodeo at Montana State University-Northern, answered with a 3-pointer to retake the lead, but Wyoming’s Kylee Tresch made an and-1 lay-up to put her team back on top and Wyoming never looked back. They iced the game at the free-throw line to seal the 71-64 win.

McCormick led the Montana all-stars with 12 points. Alexi Payne of Broadview-Lavina added nine on three 3s.


Dane Warp scored 23 points, Dylan Pannabecker added 14 and Brandon The Boy 12 to help lead the Montana all-stars to a 93-79 boys basketball win over Wyoming at Sheridan College.

The teams combined to make seven 3-pointers in the first quarter and 19 for the game. They traded leads through the first 10-plus minutes before Montana started to take control in the second quarter. They held a six-point edge at the break but really poured it on in the third quarter, using a 15-0 run to build their largest lead of the game at 68-47.

Nick Tranel, Warp and Derrek Durocher made 3-pointers during the run.

After trailing 70-54 to start the fourth quarter, Wyoming would try to claw back in the game using a combination of free throws -- they made seven of 10 from the line in the first four minutes of the quarter -- and four 3s to get back within three points. Warp, The Boy and Jacob Hadley, who hit a big 3 in the closing minutes, helped seal the game.

Montana has now won nine straight games in the contest. The teams will play again Saturday at Rocky Mountain College.

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