Chris Peterson Havre Daily News email@example.com
For the second straight year Rocky Boy and North Star came together to put on a thrilling basketball game to decide one of the representatives in the District 9C girls championship game. A year ago, the Rocky Boy Morning Stars squeaked by the North Star Knights on a last-second shot to earn their way into the 9C championship game. Now a year later, the two teams had another game that went down to the fi- nal seconds, and for the second straight season it was Rocky Boy that came out on top by the score of 61-57 on Thursday night in the 9C girl's semifinals. "These kids have just worked so hard all season long that they deserve this,” Rocky Boy head coach John Chance Houle said. “We have gotten some great senior leadership from Erin Bronco and Francis Eagleman all year long. This team has just continued to get better and tonight was just a great all-around team effort.” Late in the third quarter, Apryl Webster scored to give the Monring Stars a 47-45 lead, which set the stage for an exhilarating fourth quarter. However, early in the final stanza, it appeared as though Rocky Boy might just pull away. The Morning Stars went on a 7-2 run, which was capped off by a 3-pointer by Webster that gave her team a 54-47 lead with just 5:18 left in the game. Just minutes later, Rocky Boy pushed the lead to eight points at 57-49, following a trey by Dai Shawn Whitford. Yet, the Knights refused to go away. They scored the next six points with baskets from Natasha Dyrland, Brittnee Dyrland and two free throws by Justine Beaudry, which trimmed the Morning Star’s lead to 57-55 with 1:59 to play. Rocky Boy senior Erin Broncho scored with 50 seconds left to push the lead to four points, but the Knights answered right back with a pair of free throws by Kendra Donoven to make the score 59-57 in favor of the Rocky Boy with just 39 seconds to go in the game. After the Morning Stars were able to stall for 29 seconds, Webster went to the line with 10 seconds left with a chance to put the game on ice. However, she was only able to hit one-of-two free throws, pushing the lead to three points and giving the Knights a slim ray of hope. Yet, after rebounding the missed free throw by Webster, the Knights turned the ball over before they were able to call a timeout to set up a game-timing play. Then Jordan Big Knife hit a free throw with just five seconds left to wrap up the dramatic win for the Stars. “They hit some pretty big shots down the stretch,” North Star head coach Brian Campbell said. “I thought that we did a pretty good job of executing at the end of the game. We probably should have fouled them sooner because we allowed them to take a little too much time off the clock. Then at the end after we got the rebound on the missed free throw we were about to call a time out to set up a play and we just turned it over. In the end (Rocky Boy) just hit more big shots than we did, that was the difference in the game.” Broncho, a senior forward for the Stars, had an enormous game against the Knights, scoring 18 points and tearing down 13 rebounds to help lead her team to victory. Webster also had a strong game, finishing with 17 points, which was highlighted by a pair of key 3-pointers. Whitford also added 10 points and four rebounds in the win. Brittnee Dryland had a stellar game in defeat for the Knights with a team-high 14 points to go along with 11 rebounds. Justine Beaudry added 12 points, six rebounds and four steals in the loss. Kendra Donoven also contributed with 11 points and six rebounds. The Morning Stars will advance into the 9C championship game against Big Sandy on Saturday night at 8 pm after the win, while the Knights fall into a loser-out game tonight against Chinook.