Rocky Boy begins Northern B tourney with a clash against rival Harlem on Thursday
The Rocky Boy Stars boys basketball team got hot at the right time. And after a shaky regular season, the Stars have shown that when playing well, they could be state title contenders this season.
But first things first, the Stars will have to battle seven other quality teams at the Northern B basketball tournament in Glasgow this weekend. The Stars are the No. 1 seed out of the 1B and will open their weekend with a 6:30 p.m. contest Thursday against the 2B Harlem Wildcats, the No. 4 team out of the 2B. Malta, No. 1 in the 2B will also face Conrad, No. 4 out of the 1B, while Plentywood, the No. 3 in the 2B will face Fairfield, the No. 2 in the 1B. Also in the first round, Choteau, the No. 3 seed in the 1B, will face Glasgow, the No. 2 team out of the 2B.
Rocky Boy last won the Class B state title in 2010. It was a very high-powered, high-tempo team, and the Stars have shown glimpses of their former self late in the season.
Just last weekend the Stars cruised through the District 1B tournament, almost uncontested. The tightest game was a 72-65 win over Fairfield in the chipper, but in their other two games the Stars outscored the opposition by a combined 40 points. If the Stars can put a couple more performances like those, they could easily find themselves playing for a state tournament berth on Saturday night in Glasgow.
Harlem does have some talented ball players, but it is hard for many teams across the state to match up position-to-position with the Stars. Dutch Helgeson, Jordan Snow, Anthony Gray, Tyler Doney, Clay Doney and Cory Stiffarm can score for the Wildcats, but Isiah Lawrence, Stanley Irvine and Tristin Gone should carry the load as three of the Wildcat’s top producers. But if the Wildcats can’t handle the pressure or can’t keep up with the run and gun style of the Indians, a team that can light up a scoreboard in the triple digits, this game could be very lopsided at the end of the 32 minutes of action.
One or two of many different players will pace the Stars.
After a late entrance to the season, Junior Day Child exploded onto the scene with 70 combined points in just three games last weekend. But throw in Bubby Gopher, Skylar Parisian, Desmond Parker, Isiah Murie and Cecil LaFromboise, and the Stars have six athletes that could go off for 20-plus on any given night. Parisian also had a 26-point outing at districts. But the Stars can score from all over the floor, making them extremely hard to stop. LaFromboise is truly a force in the paint, while guards like Day Child can score from all areas of the floor.
Rocky Boy has the depth, size and speed to run away with the Northern B title, but before a single game has been played, any prediction has a chance to be spot on, or completely wrong.
Choteau, Glasgow and Malta all have the potential to knock the Stars off of their current hot streak. Malta can hardly be overlooked as the two-time defending Class B state champions, while Glasgow seemed to dominate the regular season before losing to Malta a week ago in the 2B title game. Choteau is also looking for another state berth after an undefeated conference record and a tough loss to Rocky Boy in the district semis.
The Stars have as good of a shot as anybody to win a divisional tournament, but if they don’t play at the same level they have been, it will be very difficult to knock off a fellow Northern B powerhouse in Glasgow this weekend.
Rocky Boy will try and get out of the starting gates hot as they face Harlem Thursday at 6:30 p.m. The Northern B divisional tournament runs through Saturday night’s championship game, and the top two teams will move on to the Class B state tournament in Bozeman March 13-15.