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Guide to the 2018 Class C State Boys Basketball Tournament

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March 1-3, 2018

Butte Civic Center

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Steve Rothschild waves to the boys high school basketball class C champions as the team bus made its way into town. Hundreds of Arlee residents welcomed the team home with a Sunday afternoon parade after winning their first state title in Bozeman the night before.

Overview:

Eight Class C boys’ basketball teams from around Montana will descend on Butte this weekend looking to be crowned state champion. It should get interesting featuring half of the field from last year's tournament, including the defending champions from Arlee.


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Arlee beats Manhattan Christian 001

Arlee's Phillip Malatare, left, shoots a layup as Manhattan Christian's Caidin Hill looks to make a block in the first quarter. Arlee beat Manhattan Christian 69-60 in the Class C Divisional Tournament at Hamilton High School on Friday night.

Western C:

Undefeated Arlee (23-0) comes in as the defending state champions and have been finalists in each of the past two tournaments. It’s Arlee’s fourth appearance in a row at the state tournament and they certainly have some experience led by seniors Will Mesteth and Philip Malatare.

Other qualifier: Last year's runner-up Manhattan Christian (22-3) also makes a return trip. The Eagles put up a fight against the Warriors in the divisional semifinal, losing by 9 points, the closest a Class C team has gotten to the defending champs all year. Because they're on opposite sides of the bracket, the two could be on another collision course for the state championship and both have had their eyes on this potential rematch all season long.


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Scobey's Kole Ralston drives past a Box Elder defender Thursday. The Spartans won their tournament opener 73-61.

Eastern C:

Both teams from the East make their return to the state tournament as well. Scobey (21-0) earned third place last season as the top seed from the East and the Spartans repeated their divisional championship last week with a one-point win over Fairview.

Other qualifier: The Fairview Warriors (22-2) had to earn their return trip to the state tournament with a challenge game victory against Westby-Grenora.


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Heart Butte

The Heart Butte Warriors take a 24-0 record into the State Class C tournament in Butte this week. 

Northern C:

Undefeated Heart Butte (24-0) may end up being the story of the tournament.  Last weekend’s Northern C title was Heart Butte’s first in 12 years. They’re looking for their first state title since 2001, when a team led Michael Chavez, who went on to play for the University of Montana, helped the Warriors to back-to-back titles.

Other qualifier: Belt (18-7) had to defeat beat Sunburst in a challenge game to move to the state tournament. The Huskies were state champions in 2015.


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Boys Southern C Basketball Tournament

Park City head coach Ben Southworth speaks to his team between the first and second quarters at the Southern C boys basketball tournament at Laurel High School on Thursday. Park City defeated Jordan 64-32.

Southern C:

Park City (20-3) hasn’t won a boys’ state championship since 1970. They’ll have a chance to change that this season. The Panthers were the surprise of Class C, handing Melstone their first lost of the season in the semifinals. Park City then went on to beat Bridger handily in the finals, 61-39.

Other qualifier: Melstone (23-1), meanwhile, was able to scratch their way back into the state tournament with a 52-36 win over Bridger on Monday. 


LIVE BRACKET


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Three boys from the Heart Butte basketball team hang out at the Best Western in Butte on Tuesday before heading out to practice. Pictured from left: Riley Spoonhunter, 15, Blaise Arrowtopknot, 16, and Anthony Aimsback, 18. 

Fun Fact:

The Heart Butte Warriors have been stranded in hotels for all but one day since Feb. 10, as wind and snow on the Blackfeet Reservation has prevented them from returning home.


Returners:


Newcomers:

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Boys Southern C Basketball Tournament

Fans react at the Southern C boys basketball tournament at Laurel High School on Thursday, February 22, 2018.

Contact Jordan at jordan.hansen@406mtsports.com or on Twitter @jordyhansen

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