WESTERN AA DIVISIONAL: Glacier outlasts Flathead to clinch state berth

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The Daily Inter Lake

HELENA — The third time was the charm for Glacier.

In the third overtime of its third meeting with Flathead this season, the Wolfpack finally overcame its crosstown rival on Saturday morning to win the most pivotal of all their heated matchups.

Glacier outlasted the Braves 63-60 in triple overtime of a Western AA boys divisional tournament loser-out basketball game at Helena High, punching its ticket to the state tournament while ending Flathead’s season.

“It was both teams just battling their hearts out,” Glacier head coach Mark Harkins said. “I know it’s cliché, but it’s one that you wish no one had to lose.”

Glacier and Flathead were no strangers to playing each other close.

They needed overtime to reach a decision, which was a 59-55 Braves victory, in their first meeting at Flathead High. In the rematch at Glacier High, Flathead escaped a dramatic, back-and-forth affair with 59-56 win.

“If you thought the first two crosstowns were good,” Flathead head coach Ross Gustafson said, “this one was even better.”

The Braves pounced on Glacier early, perhaps in part because the Wolfpack was mere hours removed from a heartbreaking loss to Missoula Sentinel in the divisional semifinals.

Flathead held a 16-10 advantage after eight minutes, but Glacier charged back in the second quarter to take a 21-20 by halftime.

The Braves knotted things by the end of regulation, setting off the real drama.

Both teams traded buckets throughout all three overtime periods, but it was Glacier that tallied the final one.

Tyler Johnson, Flathead’s leading scorer, put up a shot at the buzzer, but Glacier’s Kody Jarvis contested well and it was off the mark, sending the boys in Glacier green into a jubilant frenzy while those in the Flathead orange shrank to the hardwood floor in despair.

Seniors Sam Elliott and Eric Seaman accounted for most of Flathead’s offense with a combined 41 points. Johnson, also a senior, added nine.

Flathead finished the campaign 13-8.

“Disappointed in the outcome, but very proud of the way they played,” Gustafson said. “I will miss those guys. This has been the most enjoyable year. I’ve really appreciated everything the seniors have done.”

Flathead managed to take Kody Jarvis, Brec Rademacher and Caden Harkins — Glacier’s three leading scorers — out of the equation for the most part, limiting the trio to a combined 15 points. But where they lacked, a somewhat unusual cast of characters emerged for the Wolfpack.

“That’s what I’ve loved about this team all year — different guys stepping up,” Harkins said.

Drew Engellant more than doubled his season average with 14 points, and the Whitman twins — Alex and Nick — combined for 15 points.

But no one was better than Collin Kazmier, who poured in a season-high 19 points to lead Glacier in scoring for just the second time this season. He averaged 5.3 points per game in the regular season.

“He was our spark,” Harkins said. “He kind of put us on his back.”

The win punched Glacier’s ticket to next weekend’s state tournament in Billings, where it will try to defend its Class AA state title.

“When you come off an emotional loss the night before and have to turn around and get ready for a team that’s coming off a win, that’s really, really hard,” Harkins said. “I’m so proud of the guys.”

Flathead 16 4 8 12 7 7 6 — 60

Glacier 10 11 7 12 7 7 9 — 63

Flathead: Stephen Bridges 3, Eric Seaman 20, Tyler Johnson 9, Sam Elliott 21, Anthony Jones 7.

Glacier: Caden Harkins 4, Collin Kazmier 19, Brec Rademacher 5, Kody Jarvis 6, Drew Engellant 14, Alex Whitman 7, Nick Whitman 8.

Helena 42, Glacier 38, OT

HELENA — Glacier had little left in the tank by the time it reached the Western AA third-place game.

Playing its third game in less than 24 hours, including its second overtime contest, the Wolfpack struggled to find any offense in a loss to Helena High.

“We were tired, but that’s the excuse. They were, too,” Glacier head coach Mark Harkins said. “We had a hard time generating our intensity that we needed to.”

The Bengals limited Glacier to just five points in each of the first two quarters to take an 18-10 halftime lead. The Wolfpack picked it up in the second half, outscoring Helena 21-13 in the final 16 minutes to force overtime just a few hours after it finished a triple-overtime thriller against Flathead.

Helena outscored Glacier 11-7 in the extra period.

“The kids battled,” Harkins said. “I challenged them at halftime, and they came out in the second half and really did a nice job.”

Caden Harkins and Alex Whitman each scored nine to lead Glacier in the low-scoring affair.

The No. 4 seed from the Western conference, Glacier will face off with Great Falls CMR, the top seed from the Eastern conference, on Thursday at 8 p.m. in the first round of the state tournament. The Wolfpack played CMR in the season opener and lost 64-48.

“I’m just excited to be going (to state),” Harkins said. “I’ll take any seed.”

Helena 7 11 6 7 11 — 42

Glacier 5 5 9 12 7 — 38

Helena: Connor Murgel 13, Hayden Ferguson 9, Caleb Ferguson 7, Dawson Tedesco 5, Carson Woodland 3, Alex Johnson 3, Grady Koenig 2.

Glacier: Caden Harkins 9, Alex Whitman 9, Kody Jarvis 8, Nick Whitman 7, Collin Kazmier 4, Drew Engellant 1.

Girls

Helena Capital 60,

Glacier 43

HELENA — Helena Capital pulled away from Glacier early to win the Western AA girls third-place game comfortably.

Capital held a 32-13 advantage over the Wolfpack by halftime.

Kali Gulick and Abi Manger led Glacier with nine points apiece. Anna Schrade added eight.

Glacier, the Western conference’s No. 4 seed, will play Billings West, the Eastern conference champion, in the first round of the state tournament at 5 p.m. Thursday in Billings. The two teams did not face one another in the regular season.

Glacier 4 9 14 16 — 43

Capital 10 22 9 19 — 60

GLACIER: Ellie Stevens 2, Kali Gulick 9, Cadie Williams 4, Aubrie Rademacher 4, Abi Manger 9, Anna Schrade 8, Alivia Atlee 4, Ellie Keller 1, Raley Shirey 4.

HELENA CAPITAL: Ayanna Syvrud 3, Megan Lindbo 3, Katie Culver 4, Kacie Gross 9, Taylor Sullivan 11, Sydney Sheridan 11, Emily Kidder 6, Dani Bartsch 11, Nicole Ames 2.

Helena Capital 55,

Flathead 37

HELENA — Helena Capital separated itself late to end Flathead’s season.

The Bravettes, outscored 32-17 by Capital after halftime, finished the year at 5-15.

Flathead stayed within striking distance in the first half and trailed by only three at the intermission. Capital pulled away in the final 16 minutes behind a trio of double-digit scorers.

Taylor Sullivan led the Bruins with 15 points.

Seniors Mary Heaton and Clara Vandenbosch posted 11 each in the final games of their high school careers to pace the Bravettes.

Capital 10 13 14 18 — 55

Flathead 8 12 9 8 — 37

HELENA CAPITAL: Ayanna Syvrud 4, Megan Lindbo 9, Kacie Gross 2, Taylor Sullivan 15, Sydney Sheridan 10, Emily Kidder 11, Dani Bartsch 4.

FLATHEAD: Emily Lembke 3, Sadie Wilson 6, Maddie Walter 2, Kaysie Malmin 2, Mary Heaton 11, Clara Vandenbosch 11, Taylor Henley 2.

Glacier 42,

Missoula Hellgate 27

HELENA — Glacier stifled Missoula Hellgate in a loser-out matchup to advance to the Western AA third-place game and clinch a spot in the state tournament.

Individual stats were not available.

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