Cowboys hang around against Dillon, fall 59-47 in State A

Cowboy Gavin Gundlach moves the ball past a pair of Dillon defenders in first-round action at the State A Tournament in Great Falls. The Cowboys fell to Dillon 59-47, and will face Polson Friday at 2 p.m. (Photo courtesy of the Great Falls Tribune)
Connor Torstenbo goes up for a shot against Dillon in first-round action of the State A Tournament in Great Falls. (Photo courtesy of Great Falls Tribune)


(GREAT FALLS)- Playing in their first State A Tournament since 2003, and playing against one of the favorites in the tournament, the Custer County District High School Cowboys played pretty well.

But despite playing well for the most part, the Cowboys lost to Dillon 59-47 to drop into the consolation bracket of the State A Tournament in Great Falls.

In other first-round action, Laurel hammered Stevensville 61-41, Columbia Falls beat Havre 50-36 and Belgrade edged Polson 40-35.

In loser-out action on Friday, Stevensville will play Havre and the Cowboys will play Polson. In the semis, Laurel and Columbia Falls will play at 6:30 p.m., followed by Dillon and Belgrade at 8 p.m.

For the Cowboys, they showed some jitters that would be expected from a group that was in first-grade or younger the last time the team played at state.

“I think we played hard, but you could tell it was a bigger moment than we’ve played in,” Cowboys Head Coach Houston Finn said. “State tournament got to us early, we were tight, missed some shots we usually make and the communication factor wasn’t there. We made some mistakes we haven’t made in a month. Hopefully we get that fixed and play to win, not to not-lose.”

Dillon (19-2) led by as many as 11 early in the second quarter, but the Cowboys clawed their way back into the game, getting as close as 23-17 on an Austin Stradley three.

But the Cowboys went ice cold over the last four minutes of the half, trailing 28-17 at halftime.

In the third quarter, Dillon quickly got the lead into double figures and outscored the Cowboys 16-8 to take a 44-25 lead into the fourth. 

Dillon led by as many as 21 in the fourth, but the Cowboys never quit on the game. They ended the game on an 11-2 run to keep the score respectable.

The story for the Cowboys was the Dillon defense. They harassed the Cowboys the entire game, holding them to 26 percent shooting in the first half and 39 percent in the second half.

“Dillon is tough,” Finn said. “They’re quick. Our guys did some good things, but we haven’t seen a press as good as that this year. It got to us a bit.”

Dilllon was an efficient 19-38 from the field in the game and were 10-13 from the free throw line in the second half.

The Cowboys (7-15) were led by Stradley who finished with 14 points. Gavin Gunldach had 12 points and Brac Warren added nine points and 10 rebounds.

Dillon was led by Troy Scott with 17 points and six rebounds. Brady Richardson had 10 points.

The Cowboys will face Polson with their season on the line today at 2 p.m. 

“We just have to compete from start to finish,” Finn said. “We have to play good basketball for 32 minutes. Every team is capable of going on big runs, we just have to play to win every possession.”


Belgrade 40, Polson 35

In what proved to be the only game that was decided by less than 10 points, Belgrade pulled away in the second half to beat Polson.

Polson (7-16) took a 19-16 lead into halftime, but Belgrade outscored the Panthers 11-5 in the third quarter. The lead was never greater than six as Polson hung around the entire game. 

Polson cut the lead to three in the final minute, but missed four point-blank shots in one possession before Belgrade grabbed the rebound, was fouled and sealed the win.

Belgrade (15-7) shot 47 percent from the field in the game, while they held Polson to 32 percent shooting and forced 12 turnovers.

Trevor Mahn and Brayden Konkol each had 10 points and Koby Ruff added nine for the Panthers.

Andrew Weltz had 10 and Cedrick Smith scored nine to lead the Panthers.

Laurel 61, Stevensville 41

A hot shooting offense and a stingy defense carried the Eastern A champion Locomotives to the 20-win over the defending state champions.

Laurel (19-2) attempted 19 fewer field goals than the Yellowjackets in the game, but shot 59 percent compared to 25 percent by Stevensville.

The Locomotives ran out to a 16-7 lead after the first quarter and were never challenged by Stevensville (13-9).

Tyler Thompson had 19 points to lead the Locomotives. Taylor Maida had 11, Zac Allen had 10 and Evan Jones added nine.

For Stevensvilley, the duo of Zach Gavlak and Jared Schultz combined for 33 of the teams 41 points. Gavlak ended with 17 and Schultz had 16.


Columbia Falls 50, Havre 36

It took awhile for the teams to get going, but one they did the Columbia Falls rolled to a 14-point win.

The Wildcats led 4-2 after the first quarter, but then rallied to take a 18-8 lead into halftime.

Columbia Falls (17-4) shot just 25 percent from the field in the first half, but improved to 52 percent in the second half. They were a solid 12-16 from the free throw line.

Havre (7-14) was even worse, shooting 21 percent in the first half. They did improved to 40 percent in the second half.

Ty Morgan had 19 points to lead Columbia Falls. Jared Trinastich had nine and Grant Wallace had eight for the Wildcats.

Dane Warp had 15 points and eight rebounds to lead Havre. Kade Rismon added nine points.






Dillon 59, Miles City 47

Miles City 8 9 8 22 - 47

Dillon 16 12 16 15 - 59

Miles City (7-15)- Gavin Gundlach 12, Austin Stradley 14, Matthew Blunt 3, Brett Keith 2, Brac Warren 9, Connor Torstenbo 7.

Dillon (19-2)- Trae Williams 5, JD Ferris 9, Parker Love 6, Nate Simkins 2, Troy Scott 17, Tanner Haverfield 4, Jason Ferris 6, Brady Richardson 10.

Laurel 61, Stevensville 41

Stevensville 7 12 8 14 - 41

Laurel 16 15 14 16 - 61

Stevensville (13-9)- Christopher Bergman 1, Jace Omlid 3, Chance Coleman 2, Zach Gavlak 17, Jared Schultz 16, Bryce Torrey 2.

Laurel (19-2)- Dylan Meccage 6, Keegan Reilly 1, Tyler Thompson 19, Taylor Maida 11, Cooper Love 3, Caje Golden 2, Evan Jones 9, Zac Allen 10.

Columbia Falls 50, Havre 36

Havre 2 6 11 17 - 36

Columbia Falls 4 14 10 22 - 50

Havre (7-14)- Nate Rismon 6, Dane Warp 15, Michael Bakke 2, Jase Kato 4, Kade Rismon 9.

Columbia Falls (17-4)- Alex Presnell 6, Jayce Fagerland 5, Nakia Alexander 2, Ty Morgan 19, Mason Gedlaman 1, Jared Trinastich 9, Grant Wallace 8.

Belgrade 40, Polson 35

Belgrade 11 5 11 13 - 40

Polson 11 8 5 11 - 35

Belgrade (15-6)- Trevor Mahn 10, Brayden Konkol 10, Koby Ruff 9, Ethan Turner 2, Shiloh Christopher 7, Keldon Lamb 2.

Polson (7-16)- Hudson Smith 2, Cedrick Smith 9, Chris McDonald 2, Andrew Weltz 10, Andrew urley 3, Tanner Wilson 7, Matthew Rensvold 2.