Its early morning on a cool February Wednesday in Montana: the sun is melting the pile of snow in front of my house, the damn neighbor dog is barking right outside my window at some ungodly hour, and Tim Tharp is tweeting Class C Basketball scores- its tournament basketball time- and all is right with the world.
It seems like Districts snuck up on me this year.
In Northcentral Montana we’ve got 8C, 9C, and 10C action all getting going around the region.
The 8C kicks off on Thursday in Great Falls while the 9C and 10C have both started as of late Wednesday evening.
There is a lot of basketball going on over the next few weekends and it is going to be great. So go watch, and take your family to watch.
One of my favorite things to do is to go and watch basketball with my dad. It is something I’ve loved to do since I was young. When the 8C Districts were housed in the Paris Gibson Gym I can remember getting up early on Saturday mornings, skipping the cartoons and heading for the bleachers.
What a deal it was. Breakfast was a maple bar from the hospitality room -one of the perks of being a coach’s kid- and a Gatorade.
We’d sit in those bleachers all day. My dad would talk to people, like he does, and I would watch the games. I would become entranced in the games. I’d pick teams I wanted to win before every game based on how cool their mascots were; the Geraldine Tigers got rooted for a lot.
It’s was a great way to spend weekends and it still is a great way to spend weekends now that I’ve grown up. Tigers are still pretty cool mascots no matter how old you are.
That’s why it’s too bad I have to miss Districts this year. But despite the fact I won’t be around it, it doesn’t mean I can’t make some picks.
So here they are without further ado:
Sean Ryan’s Not-So-Well-Informed District Basketball Picks
8C- Great Falls
Breakdown: With a nod toward the excellent successes that these teams have had I pick the Belt girls and boys to win their District titles. Coming off of a third place finish at State last season the Belt girls look really tough this year and with sharpshooters like Pimperton and Martin it would be crazy to pick against the Lady Huskies. As for the Belt boys, they lost some talented players of last year’s Championship squad but they’ve still got Koltin Haugrose who is one of the best guards in the state and one heck of a coach in Kyle Paulsen.
Champs- Box Elder
Champs- Box Elder
Breakdown: Man if Havre weren’t so far away from everywhere I might be inclined to grab a seat for championship night in this district. The Bears are going to be extremely tough but so are the Hawks and this one could be a toss-up. For the third place game I’ve got to go with the Thunderbirds. My second cousin is coaching Hays-Lodgepole and I’ve got to be biased just so we can have a little family reunion at the Four Seasons next weekend. On the girls side I think Box Elder will win this district easily. They could be a tough challenger against Belt at the Northern C tourney. For the third place game, I think Chinook will be making a trip to Great Falls having seen them play in person earlier this year. Led by Brooke Nicholson the Lady Sugarbeeters would be a strong third place team going into next week.
Champs- Great Falls Central
Breakdown: I think Tim Tharp would approve of my decision to vote undefeated Sunburst as the Champ of the 10C. Examining the numbers the Refiners look really strong and have a quality young coach in Nate Aschim. But who know, Griff Bye and his excellent wardrobe might have something to say about that. On the girls’ side, boy do I have so stories to tell. Five years ago if you would’ve told me to you picked my alma mater to win a District tournament I would’ve called you a mental health professional. I sat through more than a handful of mercy-rule games during my four years of high school but things have changed. I think the Central girls win this District pretty easily but will have to face some tougher talent at next week’s Northern C Divisional.
Well there you have it. My hunches and picks for District Tournaments in Northcentral Montana. Feel free to tell me where you think I went wrong in these picks when I see you at the Four Seasons Arena.
So get your sons and daughters up early, get them a maple bar or a bear claw, and just watch some basketball. You won’t regret it.