Nothing Compares to the Northern C

As I sit here at the Northern C Divisional Tournament, it’s amazing to see how many people you run into in just one day here. From the guys I played high school football, basketball and golf against to the people who are family friends it is just astounding.

The Northern C is a lot like a family. The people you meet will always recognize you and won’t miss out on the opportunity to catch up with you. Speaking about catching up on stuff, I really need a nap after pulling in the Great Falls at 1:05AM this Friday morning.

I was in Butte, America calling the Tech-Western basketball games and you wouldn’t believe the number of Class C athletes from the state of Montana playing in the games. For the Lady Diggers, Martha Dembek of Winnett, Montana scored 20 points in the Montana Tech 80-71 victory over the Dawgs.

In the guy’s matchup Montana Tech had a pair of Class C big men on the floor in Medicine Lake’s Paul Engstrom and Plain’s Trent Thompson. It sure is fun to see the Class C players do so well in the Frontier Conference.

So after the games got over around 10:15PM I went home, grabbed the essentials (which does include this spectacular basketball scene tie I am wearing right now), and jumped in the car for the haul North toward Great Falls, Montana. The long drive went well but resulted in me getting to Great Falls at 1:05AM. Perfect timing for a quick 5 hour nap and then it was off to the Pacific Steel and Recycling Four Seasons Arena.

Arriving in Great Falls late last night (technically early this morning) was well worth it because there is nothing I love more than Class C tournament time and being here in the Four Seasons Arena makes me feel like home. This is interesting because I never played in this gym in all four years I was in high school.

It’s the loud crowd, the gold-ish glow of the hardwood, and friendly faces that really make me love coming to broadcast in this venue.

So at a little after 7 AM I slowly dropped stumbled into the Four Seasons Arena to broadcast the first two games of the morning and it was wonderful. After my games got done, I stuck around to watch Chinook take on Sunburst in the first boy’s loser out game. Boy am I glad I didn’t miss that.

I got to see the heart and hustle of a good buddy of mine, Lane Seymour of the Chinook Sugarbeeters, as he propelled his team to at least one more game in his prep career. Lane gave it all his effort as he scored what I am assuming is a career high 35 points and grabbed an impressive 10 rebounds.  Lane can’t be much more than 5’11” but he battled in the post with the giants today.

Sitting at the media tables it became obvious in the second half that even though Chinook was down by double-digits Lane wasn’t going to let his team lose the game. He fought, he hustled, and he even took a break after a huge hoop and the harm to wink at me on the sidelines.

Lane’s performance is the reason we play tournament games and it’s a performance I will always remember.

In other Northern C action, I got to call the Highwood vs. Denton-Geyser-Stanford game on the radio. I had so much fun just watching that one sometimes I forgot to broadcast. So sorry KMON audience but if you witnessed what I saw you would have been awestruck too.

The Highwood Mountaineers are a team you can root for. From their gutsy play two nights ago against the defending State Champion Box Elder Bears to the game today. These Mountaineers are a team you love to watch.

Highwood under the direction of Coach Aaron Skogen is so talented even though they can only go about six deep on the bench. Highwood, with an enrollment around 30 is a squad you find yourself pulling for.

I remember playing against the classy kids of Highwood, Montana in my playing days. Whether I was battling down low in the post with Austin Malek or trying to tackle Wyatt Hatch on a kick return you always loved playing against them. They were the class of Class C and still are.

Yesterday while still in Butte, I got the chance to catch the Manhattan Christian Eagles play against Superior in the first round of their Western C Divisional Tournament and they are good! After the game I was happy to catch up with my good friend Damon Alm who was a year ahead of me in Highwood. Alm is an assistant coach at MC.

You can’t help but love those Class C connections.

I remember my junior year of high school during a cold and frosty night in October my football team headed out to Highwood on their senior night. We played a heck of a game at the best venue in the state of Montana. That game would finish on a fake field goal that my team scored on while the buzzer sounded over the mountainous terrain surrounding Highwood, Montana.

When I caught that touchdown against the Mountaineers (my fourth of the night) I didn’t celebrate. Sure I was excited to win the game and guarantee a spot in the playoffs for our school but my heart sank after I remembered who we were playing and that the Mountaineers’ season was over. We didn’t celebrate that game like other wins because Highwood was my favorite opponent in high school. They were kids that after the buzzer sounded you could hug after the game and go on being good friends.

Well Highwood as advanced against all odds defeating Box Elder and Denton-Geyser-Stanford on the biggest stage in Northcentral Montana and lucky for them they get to play the talented Belt Huskies for the third time this season. It should be a great one to call on the radio.

I can only hope that Coach Skogen’s squad goes on to the State Tournament in Billings in two weeks and continues to play the great basketball that they always do, because under my shirt and tie, my heart will be pulling for those Highwood Mountaineers and everyone from the Northern C.

Because nothing on earth compares to the Northern C.

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