In desperation mode after a late bucket gave Helena High its second lead of the game with only 24 seconds to play, Glacier found an open shot in the corner with time running out.
The Wolfpack would regain the rebound in a scramble at the top of the key, and in the scrum kicked the ball to senior Noah Lindsay in the corner, who buried the shot, giving Glacier a 37-36 win over the first-place Bengals in its penultimate Western AA game of the regular season on Friday night.
“We were in a zone set and someone did a great job of getting the offensive rebound,” Lindsay said. “It was a bit of a scramble and I was lucky enough to hit the shot.
“I was hoping it was in. You have to take shots with confidence. I was hoping it was in.
“We’re starting to play some really good basketball down the stretch and it was a good team win, for sure.”
The long ball helped Glacier from the tip, the offense building a 9-3 lead to open the game on three consecutive 3-pointers. The Wolfpack led 11-3 three minutes into the game before the pace ground to a halt.
Helena, which looked to get the ball inside the Glacier zone to 6-foot-7 center Ragen Shein on nearly every possession, bode its time getting the ball to the post.
Shein was effective, scoring six straight to lead a 6-2 closing stretch for the Bengals in the first quarter, narrowing the Glacier lead to 13-9 after eight minutes.
Both teams struggled to score in the second until Helena broke the drought two minutes into the frame with a 3-pointer. The Wolfpack answered on the next possession as Lindsay quickly moved down the floor for a reverse layup to extend the lead back to 15-12.
Jake Norberg hit a 3 a minute later to give Glacier an 18-12 lead, though it didn’t last long, as Helena ripped of five straight points to cut the game to one point again.
A mid-range shot from Dylan Ruggles with 2:32 left in the half was the last point of the quarter for either team, with Helena committing two offensive fouls in the final two minutes to kill possible scoring chances.
The slow play continued after half, with the only points in the first four minutes scored at the free-throw line. Shein tied the game for the Bengals at 21-21 with 3:54 to play with a hook in the post, part of a 8-0 run for Helena to take its first lead of the game.
The deep shots saved Glacier again at the close of the quarter, with Norberg ending the scoreless drought to pull the Wolfpack back within one point and Drake Dulin nailing a 3 with six seconds to play to lift Glacier to a 27-26 lead after the third.
In the meantime, Glacier began fouling Shein on touches in the post, and the Bengals’ senior began to struggle at the free-throw line. After hitting 6 of 7 from the line to start the game, Shein made just 2 of 4 in the final three minutes of the third quarter as Glacier retook the lead. He made only 2 of 5 to begin the fourth quarter while the Wolfpack continued to hit tough buckets, with Glacier building a 34-28 advantage with five minutes to play.
The Helena posts helped the comeback, Shein gathering an offensive rebound for an easy bucket and 6-6 forward Taylor England collecting a beautiful pass from point guard Keair Adgerson in the post to score through a foul, then sink the free throw to cut the Glacier lead to 34-32. Shein only made one of his two free throws on the next trip down the floor, however, to allow Glacier to hold on to its slim lead with two minutes to play.
Shein made up for it with the clock elapsing under a minute, collecting the ball on a post entry, only to quickly tip a pass to a cutting England who again laid in a shot through a foul. England’s free throw with 24.1 seconds to play gave the Bengals a 36-34 lead and capped another 8-0 run.
Out of a timeout, Glacier drew up a play that saw senior Blayne Bailey get an open look at a 3-pointer from the right corner, but the ball went awry off the front rim and careened toward the top of the key. Ruggles fought to get the offensive rebound as time was running out and kicked it to Lindsay in the corner for the go-ahead bucket.
Helena called a timeout to get a chance at a shot with 1.8 seconds to play after the inbounds pass, but a shot attempt from Derek Jenneskens didn’t find the target.
““I’m so proud of the intensity and tenacity they played with tonight,” Glacier coach Mark Harkins said.
“That’s an incredibly good basketball team we played. The kids came and they weren’t intimidated. They worked hard and made some plays when they needed to. Their effort was phenomenal tonight.
“All night long they were making those hustle plays. I can go down the list. They did a great job of just tipping the balls, keeping them alive and giving us second chances.”
Bailey had eight points and four rebounds to lead Glacier and Lindsay had seven points.
Shein finished with 19 points and nine rebounds for Helena.
“I think Ragen’s the best post I’ve seen in the state,” Harkins said. “I think he’s a great player. Our goal was to keep it out of his and England’s hands. We fouled a lot, but we wanted to dig and slap at the ball if they did get it in (the post) and the kids executed the game plan.
“I thought we made big shots. Would I like to score more? Of course. I thought we made big shots in the course of the game. A lot of contributers tonight.”
With the win, Glacier (6-11 overall, 3-6 Western AA) moves into a tie for fourth place with Missoula Big Sky and Helena Capital, its opponent today at 2:30 p.m. The Bengals (10-7, 7-2), slid back into second place, behind Missoula Hellgate (15-3, 8-2).
Helena 9 8 9 10 — 36
Glacier 13 7 7 10 — 37
HELENA — Logan Teegarden 2-5 0-0 6, Taylor England 2-3 1-2 5, Derek Jenneskens 0-3 0-0 0, AJ Kanthack 0-1 0-2 0, Ragen Shein 4-10 11-18 19, Connor Matthews 0-2 0-0 0, Keair Adgerson 1-2 3-3 6. Totals: 9-26 15-25 36.
GLACIER — Blayne Bailey 3-7 0-0 8, Noah Lindsay 3-9 0-0 7, Dylan Ruggles 1-6 1-2 3, Tadan Gilman 2-8 0-0 5, Jake Norberg 2-5 0-0 6, Drake Dulin 1-2 0-0 3, Jake Willich 2-3 0-2 5, John Learn 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 14-42 1-4 37.
3-point goals—HHS 3-11 (Teegarden 2-5, Adgerson 1-2, Jenneskens 0-3, Matthews 0-1), Glacier 8-20 (Bailey 2-4, Norberg 2-5, Lindsay 1-1, Gilman 1-6, Dulin 1-2, Willich 1-2). Rebounds—HHS 28 (Shein 9), Glacier 23 (Bailey 4, Norberg 4). Assists—HHS 6 (Kanthack 2, Adgerson 2), Glacier 10 (Ruggles 3). Blocks—HHS 1 (England), Glacier 3 (Ruggles 2). Steals—HHS 6 (Jackson Thennis 2), Glacier 9 (Ruggles 4). Total fouls—HHS 9, Glacier 20. Fouled out—none. Technical fouls—none.