Class AA State Boys Tournament Glacier falters offensively in finale

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The Daily Inter Lake

BILLINGS — As he stood in the cinder block hallway in the bowels of Rimrock Auto Arena early Friday afternoon, tears began to well in Mark Harkins’ eyes.

The Glacier boys basketball coach wasn’t upset about his team’s 56-43 loss to Missoula Hellgate in loser-out play at the Class AA state tournament, at least not the defeat itself.

He was emotional because of what the loss meant — that the season was over, and with it the high school careers of eight seniors who not only played an integral role in the Wolfpack’s back-to-back state tournament appearances, but also mean a great deal to Harkins personally.

“I’m proud of them,” Harkins said, his voice cracking. “I love ’em. I’m going to miss ’em.”

Four of Glacier’s seniors — guards Caden Harkins, Brec Rademacher, Collin Kazmier and Kody Jarvis — played in every game last season to help Glacier win its first basketball championship in school history, and their production continued this year.

Combined, the eight seniors accounted for approximately 86 percent of points, 83 percent of rebounds, 88 percent of assists, 90 percent of steals and 95 percent of blocks on the Wolfpack’s road to a second straight state appearance.

But few of them could find answers against Hellgate, which led the game wire-to-wire and limited Glacier to its lowest point total of the year against a Montana opponent.

At one point in the first half, the Wolfpack failed to score over a 10-minute stretch. Hellgate took advantage, turning a 13-12 lead into a 24-12 advantage over that span.

“All year, our Achilles’ heel, if you will, is when teams get physical,” coach Harkins said. “They’re the most physical team that we played. They can take us out of our rhythm.”

Recognizing the trouble Great Falls CMR’s pressure defense gave Glacier in the second half of Thursday’s first round game, Hellgate pestered the Wolfpack with a full-court press from the opening tip. Glacier once again struggled to handle it.

Ten turnovers in the first half alone cost the Wolfpack dearly, eliminating any semblance of offensive rhythm it found early.

Glacier (10-14) also struggled mightily from the field, especially in the first half.

“We got tentative,” Harkins said, echoing the sentiments he expressed after the CMR loss. “We turned it over, and we didn’t want to take the risk.”

One of few bright spots for Glacier was senior forward Nick Whitman, who shot 5 of 10 from the field and fell one point short of his season-high with 12 points. Whitman also added five rebounds, which matched Drew Engellant for the team-high.

“Nick’s done a great job progressing, because using ‘Nick’ and ‘physical’ in the same sentence before this year wasn’t there,” Harkins said. “He didn’t get bumped and fade away. He went to the rim. I was really proud of him.”

Hellgate’s Rollie Worster, the third-leading scorer in Class AA, penetrated the Glacier defense seemingly at will on his way to a game-high 20 points. Eleven of his points came at the free-throw line, and he scored 15 of the Knights’ 24 in the fourth quarter.

Dylan Holst, who gave Hellgate a 15-point lead with a late breakaway dunk, added 13 on 6 of 10 shooting.

“(Worster is) so strong,” Harkins said. “I thought our guys did a great job of staying in front of him. He can put his shoulder down into you and just get to the rim.”

Hellgate’s 66.7 percent clip from the field in the second half made any attempt at a comeback a tall task. Combined with the Wolfpack’s offensive futility, it was impossible.

“We were having to shoot quick, because they were getting to shooters,” Harkins said. “They didn’t let (Rademacher) see the rim, let alone get an open shot off. Our game is based on us being able to move and play inside-out with the posts. When they’re jamming us, it takes us out of rhythm.”

Loser-Out Games

Glacier 9 3 11 20 — 43

Missoula Hellgate 13 7 12 24 — 56

GLACIER — Caden Harkins 0 3-8 3, Collin Kazmier 2 2-2 8, Brec Rademacher 1 0-0 3, Kody Jarvis 2 0-0 4, Drew Engellant 3 2-2 9, Alex Whitman 1 2-4 4, Nick Whitman 5 2-2 12.

MISSOULA HELLGATE — Bridger Deden 1 1-2 3, Gage Haran 0 1-2 1, Dylan Holst 6 0-0 13, Logan Riddle 2 1-2 6, Kade Lunday 3 1-2 7, Ceaton Oliver 2 2-2 6, Rollie Worster 4 11-17 20.

Missoula Sentinel 14 11 23 7 — 55

Helena High 11 7 9 11 — 38

MISSOULA SENTINEL — Sam Beighle 20, Gaige DeShazer 9, Elias DeWaters 8, Brandon Morley 5, Alex Germer 6, Nick Germer 2, Scott Malikie 3, Trey Kolb 2.

HELENA HIGH — Dawson Tedesco 3, Caleb Ferguson 8, Hayden Ferguson 7, Carson Woodland 2, Alex Johnson 12, Connor Murgel 2, Holden Sampson 4.


Great Falls CMR 16 25 10 11 — 62

Great Falls High 7 8 6 17 — 38

GREAT FALLS CMR — Caleb Currington 4, Jacob Wilkins 1, Jake Olsen 5, Kyle Byrne 2, Garrison Rothwell 19, Kaden Walsh 2, Tucker Greenwell 2, Sam Vining 10, Bryce Depping 8, Russell Gagne 9.

GREAT FALLS HIGH — Hunter McKinney 3, Kendall Kynett 10, Blake Thelen 6, Kyle Torgerson 2, Teagan Olson 2, Kevin Boes 1, Kyle Winkler 10, Keegan Bistodeau 4.

Bozeman 19 11 20 16 — 66

Billings Senior 10 18 19 15 — 62

Bozeman — Ryan Simpson 8, Tyler Dobie 2, Robbie Simpson 13, Latrell McCutcheon 2, Payton Price 2, Ryan Lonergan 16, Mack Anderson 23.

BILLINGS Senior — Braxton Haws 13, Ben LaBeau 7, Connor Kieckbusch 19, Brooks Zimmer 11, Sam Evenson 12.

Today’s Schedule

Loser-Out Games

10:30 a.m. — Missoula Hellgate vs. Billings Senior (MetraPark)

10:30 a.m. — Great Falls High vs. Missoula Sentinel (Skyview)

Third/Fourth Place

5 p.m. — Loser-Out Game winners

Championship Game

8:30 p.m. — Great Falls CMR vs. Bozeman

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