State C Boys Preview

State C Boys Preview

Bracket (PDF)

Northern C


The Thunderbirds (21-2) won the Northern C in dramatic fashion with a 65-61 victory over Box Elder in one of the most entertaining games I’ve seen in a while. The purple and gold clad squad from northcentral Montana is guided by Derrick Shambo. Shambo’s squad is lightning quick in transition and has some real playmakers in Jace and Tyson Shambo. Hays has just two losses on the season with an early season loss to Arlee and a loss in the 9C Championship to Box Elder. Both losses have come against teams that have qualified for the Class C State Tournament which is really saying something. Look for some big things out of the Thunderbirds who are looking to get their first State Championship since the late great A.J. Long Soldier led the Thunderbirds to the title in 2007.

First Game: 2PM v. 2E Fairview

Box Elder

The Bears of Box Elder High School (18-4) are the defending State Champions entering this weekend’s action in Bozeman. The Bears, who beat Northern C Champion Hays-Lodgepole in the 9C Championship before falling in the Northern C title tilt, are coached by a class act of a coach in Jeremy MacDonald. MacDonald’s Bears have won two of the last three Class C State Championships and are led by Pernell Morsette, Tanner Parisian, and Trey Henderson. Morsette who plays as cool and collected as they come scored a game-high 29 points in the Northern C Championship against Hays-Lodgepole. Watch out for Box Elder to make a run this weekend after ending up on the “easier” side of the bracket.

First Game: 8PM v. 1E Scobey

Southern C


The Bridger Scouts (17-6) won the Southern C Divisional last weekend defeating Plenty Coups 79-64. With the Southern C playing their tournament a week later than the others around Montana it will be interesting to see if the Scouts ride momentum off their five-game winning streak or have their legs be affected by the quick turnaround. Traditionally the South is the weakest of the divisions at the State Tournament and Bridger will look to end that way of thinking when they take on Manhattan Christian who is becoming a mainstay out of the Western C.

First Game: 6:30PM v. 2W Manhattan Christian

Plenty Coups

Plenty Coups (14-8) enters the State Tournament fresh off a challenge game win over Melstone Monday night. The Warriors have the fewest wins of anyone in the field but coming off a challenge game in they will have momentum as they gear up for Arlee. What a ballgame to tipoff the State Tournament for Buddy Windyboy’s team as they take on Class C favorite Arlee in what should be a dandy of a ballgame.

First Game: 12:30PM v. 1W Arlee

Eastern C


The Scobey Spartans (20-1) are riding an 18-game winning streak into Brick Breeden. The Spartans won State in 2011 and defeated Frazer in the Eastern C Championship two weeks ago. What the Spartans lack in size they might just make up for in shooting. Scobey is finally hitting their stride when it comes to team health as well so watch out for the Spartans who drew a tough matchup with Box Elder to kick things off. To all the Spartan faithful I’m friends with I wish you all the luck, the Spartans might need it to get past the defending State Champs Thursday night.

First Game: 8PM v. 2N Box Elder


The Fairview Warriors (18-6) defeated Frazer 67-61 in a challenge game at the Eastern C Divisional. Fairview had a runner-up finish in 2015 to the Belt Huskies. If there is one thing we can bank on with Eastern C teams is that these boys can shoot the rock. The matchup with Hays-Lodgepole is going to require the Fairview Warriors to play with poise against the Thunderbird defensive pressure. If Fairview can make contested shots look for a back and forth ballgame between them and Hays-Lodgepole.

First Game: 2PM v. Hays-Lodgepole

Western C


The Arlee Warriors (22-1) are the favorite this weekend in Bozeman. Zanen Pitts team features some real talent in guard Phllip Malatare who impressed a number of folks at last year’s State Tournament. Malatare scored a game-high 26 in the Warrior win over Manhattan Christian in the Western C Chipper. Tyler Tanner is also a huge contributor for the Warriors who lost to Box Elder last spring in the State Championship. Arlee is a high-flying, fast paced, razzle dazzle kind of team that is surely going to put some butts in the seats at Brick Breeden.

First Game: 12:30PM v. 2S Plenty Coups

Manhattan Christian

Manhattan Christian (21-4) is becoming quite comfortable playing in the State Tournament under Coach Jeff Bellach. The Eagles lost to Arlee in the Western C Championship 85-67, but defeated Ennis in a barn burner of a challenge game in Butte two weeks ago, 59-57. The Eagles feature a couple of horses on the inside they like to feed the ball into which opens up outside shooting for their guards Joey Lodine and Caleb Bellach. James Ramirez has been a consistent contributor for Bellach on the inside and recorded a monster 21 point 13 rebound performance against Arlee in the Western C finale. Manhattan Christian has a great chance to take home some hardware from this State Tournament being on the opposite side of Arlee and Hays-Lodgepole.

First Game: 6:30PM v. 1S Bridger

Sean Ryan is a graduate from Montana Tech and broadcasts Class C tournament basketball games for KINX 102.7 FM in Great Falls.


2017 State C Girls Tournament Preview

State C Girls Preview


Northern C


The Belt Huskies (23-1) have to be the favorite in this year’s Class C State Tournament. The Huskies won their seventh, I repeat seventh, consecutive Northern C Divisional Championship over Roy/Winifred last weekend in Great Falls 47-29. The powerhouse team led by a man never lacking energy in Jeff Graham will be a force to be reckoned with as they arrive undefeated against Class C opponents to the Class C State Tournament with their only loss coming to Class B power Malta early in the year. The Huskies are led by Dani Urick who tallied a game-high 17 points in the Northern C Championship as well as recent UGF commit Kerstyn Pimperton and Sara Anderson. Also in the starting lineup are bigs Kassie Hoyer and Adrian Malek who both help the Huskies on the defensive end and in the rebounding battle against taller teams. Belt is looking for their fifth title in six years in Belgrade this weekend where they won their second in a row back in 2013 when they defeated Winnett-Grass Range 40-34. The Huskies start their tournament at 2PM against Froid/Medicine Lake the 2-seed out of the East.


Roy/Winifred enters the 2017 Class C State Tournament with an impressive 19-5 record especially when you factor in their formidable 8C Conference that featured Belt, Centerville, and Winnett-Grass Range as well as other really impressive teams. In fact, the 8C saw its teams (Belt, Roy/Winfred, and Winnett-Grass Range) go 8-2 at the Northern C Divisional and had three of the four teams playing on semifinal night. This reminds me of a funny story about Terry Bakken’s State Championship Runner-up Antelope boys team that finished with six losses in 1975, all of them coming against eventual State Champion Westby. The Outlaws are led by Lorianne Stulc who seems to do it all for her team. The size and 3-2 zone that Roy/Winifred plays so well with their length will make it very difficult on teams who rely on guard play to get them going. Co-head coaches Mauri Elness and Marietta Boyce will have their girls ready to play and if they play well enough they might match back up with Belt on Saturday night. The Outlaws begin their State Tournament with Savage, the 1-seed out of the East, in the nightcap of Thursday’s action.

Southern C


Harlowton (22-2) enters the Class C State Tournament riding a nine-game win streak. The Engineers won the Southern C Divisional and are headed back to the big stage for the first time since 2014. Led by head coach Greg Wasson, Harlowton defeated Broadview-Lavina 30-28. Harlowton was led in the Southern C title game by Mariah Dietrich who tallied a game-high 11 points including important buckets down the stretch. Watch for Harlowton to try and make some noise at this year’s tournament starting with their matchup against Western C 2-seed Arlee.


Broadview-Lavina is making their third straight trip to the State Tournament despite losing in the Southern C Divisional Championship to Harlowton 30-28. Led by head coach Jenny Auer the Pirates rely on the offense of Krista Schott and Chloe Hanser. The Pirates shot just 18 percent in the second half of the loss to Harlowton. Broadview-Lavina takes on perennial Western C power Twin Bridges in the State Tournament opener at 12:30 P.M. Thursday.

Eastern C


The Savage Warriors (20-4) are making their first appearance at the State Tournament in school history, which is quite a feat. The new kids on the block (an unfortunate Marky-Mark reference I apologize for) defeated Froid/Medicine Lake 41-39 in a tightly contested Eastern C Championship. Soda rice led the way for Savage with 10 points and seven boards in the contest. The Warriors, led by head coach Darcy Kessel, will start with a tough matchup against powerful Roy/Winifred at 8 P.M. in the last game on Thursday night.

Froid/Medicine Lake

Froid/Medicine Lake reenters the State C Tournament with a 22-3 record with those three loses coming by a combined 10 points. The Redhawks had to play a challenge game against Scobey-Opheim which they dominated the Spartans 40-18 last weekend. Morgan Mason and Makenzie Dethman combined to score 19 points and control the boards for the Redhawks. Froid/Medicine Lake starts the State Tourney with the dangerous Belt Huskies at 2 P.M. on Thursday.

Western C

Twin Bridges

Twin Bridges (24-0) brings an undefeated record to the State Tournament and are led by new head coach Josh Keller who takes over for longtime sideline presence Rob Lott. Keller, the son of Montana Western head coach Steve, has the Falcons playing well. The imposing Kailee Oliverson who is 6’3” and RaeAnne Bendon who plays the important guard spot for the Falcons are the two top players for their squad. Twin Bridges opens their tournament with Broadview-Lavina at 12:30 Thursday afternoon. Looking ahead Twin is on the same side of the bracket as the favorite Belt Huskies.


The Arlee Warriors (18-5) had a 14-game win streak snapped in their 43-39 loss to Twin Bridges in the Western C Championship. Alyssia Vanderburg leads the Warriors on offense and defense. The Warriors utilize their size and look to be a difficult matchup against teams in the State Tournament. Arlee also has experience on their side from playing in the Class C State Tournament in Great Falls last year. The Warriors take on the Southern C 2-seed Harlowton Engineers at 6:30 P.M on Thursday night.


Sean Ryan  broadcasts Class C tournament basketball games for KINX 102.7 FM in Great Falls and will be calling the games for Belt and Roy/Winifred in Belgrade this weekend. Follow him on Twitter  @Mr_SeanRyan for score updates and more stories.