By COLIN GAISER
The Daily Inter Lake
Glacier pushed Helena High until the final whistle, but the No. 1 seed Bengals outlasted the Wolfpack for a 47-40 win in the Western AA Divisional girls consolation basketball final on Saturday at Glacier High School.
The first half was a back-and-forth battle between evenly matched squads that split their regular-season series. After a fast-paced first quarter, the game was knotted up at 9-9.
But the No. 3 seed Wolfpack (14-8 overall) lost a key player when Kali Gulick left with an injury in the first quarter. She did not return to the game.
Ellie Keller hit a jumper to give Glacier a 13-10 lead early in the second — Glacier’s largest lead of the game — but Helena responded with a quick 7-0 run.
“I’m sure they [Helena] had a chip on their shoulder not winning their opening round game. And us getting them at their place last time,” Glacier coach Bill Sullivan said.
Helena (19-2) was upset by No. 4 seed Missoula Hellgate in the Friday semifinal.
Glacier trimmed the deficit to just a point at halftime when Abi Manger had an offensive rebound and put-back with 10 seconds left in the half to make it 19-18.
The Wolfpack kept it close for much of the third, but the Bengals’ Paige Aasved and Jamie Pickens hit 3s on consecutive possessions to make it 29-23. Then a Helena steal and fast-break lay-up at the buzzer made it 35-27 going into the fourth.
Vanessa Walsh opened the fourth quarter with a nice drive through the Glacier defense for a basket that made it 37-27.
“The bottom line was, down the stretch they made plays and we didn’t,” Sullivan said.
“We’re not an easy draw for them, but they do a great job and they came out on top tonight.”
Glacier chipped away at the deficit with some excellent shooting, and Raley Shirey’s old-fashioned 3-pointer with just under 40 seconds left made it 44-40. But the comeback attempt ended there.
Sullivan said the Wolfpack needed to take care of the ball better, but he applauded his team’s effort, especially playing its third game in less than 24 hours.
“Those kids coming off the bench and everybody in general, just their energy and effort was good and that’s what gave them a chance to be in it at the end,” Sullivan said.
Shirey and Keller each had nine points to lead Glacier. Manger, Aubrie Rademacher and Allee Meyer all chipped in six.
The team did not help itself from beyond the arc, going 0 for 8 on 3-point attempts.
Pickens led the Bengals with 19 points and Aasved added eight.
Despite the loss, Glacier had already punched its ticket to the Class AA state tournament with its win over Missoula Sentinel earlier in the day.
“We’re thrilled, we’re happy ... Now you’ve just got to get there and give it your all and we’ll see what happens,” Sullivan said.
The Wolfpack will take the court against Eastern AA champion Billings West (19-1) on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. at the Butte Civic Center.
Helena High 9 10 16 12 – 47
Glacier 9 9 9 13 – 40
HELENA – Paige Aasved 8, Payton Aasved 7, Vanessa Walsh 2, Emily Feller 5, Jamie Pickens 19, Riley Thennis 3, Abby Marcille 4.
GLAICER - Aubrie Rademacher 6, Abi Manger 6, Raley Shirey 9, Kenzie Williams 2, Allee Meyer 6, Ellie Keller 9, Emma Anderson 2.
Helena Capital 43,
Missoula Hellgate 35
The Bruins took down the Knights to claim the Western AA title.
No. 4 seed Hellgate — which upset top-seeded Helena High on Friday — kept it close early and took a 20-19 lead into halftime.
But No. 2 seed Capital (13-8) turned it around in the second half. The Bruins outscored the Knights 11-7 in the third quarter and pulled away to take a 38-27 lead late in the fourth.
Dani Bartsch tallied a game-high 15 points for Capital and Sydney Sheridan added 13. Bartsch also collected nine boards.
Emma Blakely led Hellgate (13-8) with 10 points and Bailee Sayler had eight.
The Knights were just 5 of 18 from 3-point range.
The Bruins will take on Great Falls High at the Class AA state tournament on Thursday and Hellgate will match up with Billings Senior.
Helena Capital 12 7 11 13 – 43
Missoula Hellgate 13 7 7 8 – 35
CAPITAL – Megan Lindbo 5, Paige Bartsch 6, Sydney Sheridan 13, Emily Kidder 4, Dani Bartsch 15.
HELLGATE – Addy Heaphy 3, Emma Blakely 10, Bailee Sayler 8, Lauren Dick 2, Kylie Lunday 4, Peyton Arledge 3, Perry Paffhausen 5.
Missoula Sentinel 26
The Wolfpack allowed just four points in the second half, rallying to defeat the Spartans in a morning game at Flathead High School.
Glacier was behind 22-17 at halftime and in danger of seeing its season come to an end. But the Wolfpack outscored the Spartans 9-2 in the third quarter and 13-2 in the fourth to win by 13.
Ellie Keller led Glacier with 14 points. Raley Shirey posted a double-double, scoring 10 and grabbing 11 rebounds.
Lexi Deden had a team-high 10 points for the Spartans (14-7) and Brooke Stayner added seven.
Sentinel struggled from beyond the arc, going 2 of 16. Glacier was 2 of 7 on 3-point attempts.
Glacier 10 7 9 13 – 39
Missoula Sentinel 12 10 2 2 – 26
GLACIER – Kaileigh Crawford 9, Aubrie Rademacher 4, Ellie Keller 14, Raley Shirey 10, Allee Meyer 2.
SENTINEL – Sandee Sepulveda 6, Challis Westwater 3, Lexi Deden 10, Brooke Stayner 7.
Helena High 63,
Jamie Pickens had a double-double — scoring 33 points and grabbing 13 boards — as Helena ended the Bravettes’ season in a morning contest at Flathead High School.
The Bengals jumped out to a big early lead, outscoring Flathead 18-3 in the first quarter. Flathead (6-15) kept pace in the second quarter but went into the half down 34-17.
Pickens collected 24 of her points in the first half.
The Bengals outscored the Bravettes 29-17 in the second half.
Jenna Johnson paced Flathead with 12 points and knocked down two 3-pointers.
Kennedy Kanter added eight and also had two triples.
Taylor Henley had seven points in her final game for the Bravettes.
Paige Aasved chipped in nine points for the Bengals.
Helena went 16 of 21 from the charity stripe while Flathead was 5 of 10.
Flathead 3 14 7 10 – 63
Helena High 18 16 11 18 – 34
FLATHEAD – Maddie Walter 3, Kennedy Kanter 8, Kaysie Malmin 2, Jenna Johnson 12, Kayla Martin 2, Taylor Henley 2.
HELENA – Paige Aasved 9, Payton Aasved 3, Vanessa Walsh 3, Riley Thennis 5, Emily Feller 5, Abby Marcille 5, Jamie Pickens 33.