(1N) Roy-Winifred 48, (2N) Box Elder 40
For the second straight tournament, the final came down to Roy-Winifred and Box Elder.
And for the second straight time, Roy-Winifred came out on top - only this time they’re taking home a state championship trophy after a 48-40 win over Box Elder.
“There's always good teams out of the North,” said Outlaws senior Madeline Heggem. “In the past really good teams have stayed home just cuz the Northern division is so tough. That's just how it's always been. We're tough. We battle and we're good competition for each other.”
The win came two weeks to the day after the same teams battled in the Northern C divisional championship. And it also marked the second time in four seasons that Box Elder and Roy-Winifred met in the State title game, with the Bears winning it all in 2019.
And this game was a battle throughout. Roy-Winifred controlled the game early, jumping out to an 11-1 which would be their largest of the game. The Bears have shown resiliency throughout the tournament and came back over the next two quarters, cutting the lead to two points in the third quarter and answering every Outlaw run with one of their own.
But the Bears offense couldn’t contend with the size of Roy-Winifred, with Madeline and Isabella Heggem blocking or altering every Box Elder shot in the paint.
The Bears kept shooting though, and finished 15-of-152 from the field. Roy-Winifred struggled from the field as well, only making 9-of-35 shots. But they made their trips to the charity stripe count, shooting 28-for-38 from the free throw line.
Madeline led all scorers with 14 points, adding 11 rebounds for a double-double. Her sister, sophomore Isabella, also scored in double figures with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Jayda Southworth scored 10 points and added eight rebounds.
Kyla Momberg scored 11 points for Box Elder in defeat. Meiyah Southerland scored nine points, and Angela Gopher added six. The Bears were out-rebounded 39-26.
The title is a longtime coming for Roy-Winifred. After falling in the 2019 game, the Outlaws advanced to the 2020 championship before COVID-19 shut down the tournament leaving them disappointed as co-champs with Belt.
In 2021, the Outlaws made another deep run only to finish third at state without star point guard Laynee Elness who was lost to an injury. But Elness was back in 2022 and helped the team to an undefeated season, and their first state title as a co-op.
“We put in a lot of time and a lot of dedication and we we play a lot of summer ball to get prepared,” Elness said. “Basketball is just part of our lives, big part in Winifred. Our motto is ‘Respect all, fear none’ so we just kind of live by that.”
And with Elness and several other stars returning, deep runs in the postseason will likely be an annual affair for many seasons to come.
(2N) Saco-Whitewater-Hinsdale 68, (1W) Twin Bridges 30
Paige Wasson and Jaycee Erickson each scored 21 points and the Saco-Whitewater-Hinsdale Mavericks claimed third place at the State C tournament, 68-30 over Twin Bridges.
Following a hard fought loss to Box Elder in the semifinals on Friday, the Mavericks bounced back with an impressive performance to claim a trophy. They jumped out to a 17-6 lead after the first quarter and never looked back.
Ina addition to the high scoring output from Erickson and Wasson, Kora Labrie added eight aunts and sophomore post Teagan Erickson scored six points and grabbed 13 rebounds.
Twin Bridges was led by Kyle Pancost with eight points. Ayla Janzen and Callie Kaiser each scored six for the Falcons.
It’s the second year in a row the Mavericks have taken a trophy back to Eastern Montana, after finishing runner-up to Fort Benton in 2021.