BILLINGS – Rayetta Jordan wanted to see her daughters play at the Class A girls basketball tournament in Missoula. And though Rayetta died Jan. 27 after a six-month bout with cancer, her daughters, Shelby and Jessi, will take her there.
“Before she passed she said, ‘I’m always going to be on your shoulder,’ “ said Shelby, a senior, who scored nine points, including a big three-point play late in the game that helped the Colstrip Fillies defeat Jefferson 60-56 in the first semifinal of the Southern B Divisional at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark Friday night.
Rayetta was diagnosed in August, and through all the hard days and nights had just one request for Shelby and Jessi: finish the season and make it to state.
So the Jordan sisters, who also have a younger sibling, Dani, 12, made every practice and missed just one game. And with Friday night’s win, they ensured they’ll take the season as far as they can.
Needless to say, the postgame Fillies locker room was an emotional scene.
“Everyone was screaming, ‘we’re going to state again!” Jordan said. “I was just praying to my mom, thank you, mom. She gave me the strength tonight to play.”
“We always end the game with 15 ‘For the Fillies,’ ” said Colstrip coach Roxie Wilson. “Tonight, pretty much everybody thanked those two girls for continuing to play Fillies basketball even though maybe their hearts are with their mother.”
Wilson has a tradition of asking her players to play for someone else, so she has the players write that person’s name on the inside of their right wrist. Shelby’s and Jessi’s wrists read, ‘For mom.’
The Fillies have one more game to go at divisionals, thanks in part to Amaya LaFranier’s 24-point night, which helped offset 36 points from Jefferson’s Aubrey McMaster. Colstrip will take on Three Forks for the divisional championship at 8 p.m. on Saturday, and then it’s off to Missoula next week for the second straight year.
Just like Rayetta would have wanted.
“There’s joy, but for us it’s kind of hard because you don’t see her in the crowd,” said Jessi, a sophomore. “But we’re going to state and we want to win this time. That’s our goal, and we’re always playing for our mom.”
Three Forks 51, Roundup 46
Undefeated Three Forks overcame a scrappy test from Roundup in the semifinals to improve to 22-0 on the season and set up a repeat of last year's divisional title game against Colstrip.
Colstrip won the divisional title last season.
Kylle Olson led the Wolves with 19 points in the victory.
Townsend 56, Red Lodge 47
The Bulldogs used a 14-2 run over the final three minutes of the third quarter to take control of the game and beat the Rams in loser-out play.
Tavia Rooney had 19 points and 12 rebounds to keep alive Townsend's hopes of advancing to the state tournament. The Bulldogs came into the divisional as the No. 2 team in the 406mtsports.com rankings.
Zoe Cortner led Red Lodge with 19 points.
St. Labre 37, Forsyth 25
Kaelene Spang scored eight of her team-high 12 points in the fourth quarter to help the Braves pull away from the Dogies in loser-out play.
The Braves scored the final four points of the third quarter to break a 19-19 tie, and then started the fourth quarter with an 11-4 run to build an 11-point lead with 1:46 to play.
Spang also had 13 rebounds. Reese Pederson led the Dogies with six points.
Three Forks 54, Roundup 46
Payden Lynn scored nine of his 14 points in the second half to help the Wolves beat the Panthers in the boys semifinals to secure their first trip to state since 2009.
Micaiah Hauser added 13 points and Colter Miller 12 for the Wolves, who will play in Saturday’s divisional championship at 6:30 p.m.
Roundup trailed most of the game, led briefly 30-29 early in the third quarter, and got within 45-43. But the Wolves outscored Roundup 12-3 the rest of the way.
“It’s not that we didn’t expect to be here, it’s just that we haven’t,” said Three Forks coach Terry Hauser, who previously led the Butte High boys. “Nobody else expected it, so that’s puts a little doubt in your mind. But I remember telling them the first week of practice, during stretches just to put in in their minds, ‘we’re going to be there, we’re going to be there.’ "
Lodge Grass 70, Big Timber 63
Ethan Dust scored 20 points and had 10 rebounds – his second double-double in as many tournament games – and the Indians held off the Herders in the semifinals.
Elijah Rogers added 19 points and five assists for Lodge Grass, which will make consecutive state appearances for the first time in nearly 20 years.
Lodge Grass led by 15 with 5:10 left in the game, but Big Timber eventually whittled that down to a three-point deficit with a minute to go. The Indians, though, made 6 of 7 free throws to seal the game.
Joliet 82, St. Labre 69
Taylor Rowlison went 24 of 28 at the free-throw line and scored a school-record 46 points to help the J-Hawks take another step toward a potential state-tournament berth in loser-out play.
The Joliet senior shot 21 of his free throws in the second half, and the majority of those in the fourth quarter.
Rylan Olson added 23 points for Joliet, while Tamerson MedicineBull had 15 points to lead St. Labre.
Colstrip 76, Manhattan 60
Isaiah Williams scored the game’s first eight points, and the Colts cruised to a loser-out win over the Tigers.
Williams finished with one of the best lines of the tournament so far: 29 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.
After suffering its first loss of the season in an opening-round upset, Colstrip (20-1) also benefited from the return of starters Payton Means and Joel McRae.