HELENA -- Up until this week, the Hellgate Knights were the undisputed top-ranked team in Class AA. But now teams have made adjustments, and conference games are tightly contested as Hellgate experienced this week in their 47-46 victory over Helena Capital, proving no longer is any team in AA invincible.

Capital’s effort against the Knights may not be enough to earn them a spot on the top-five list, but the Bruins' near-victory serves as a cautionary tale to top-tier teams the cliche that on any given night, anything can happen. As we approach tournament time, this cliche will prove to be true.

Great Falls High, currently the second-ranked team on our list, have put themselves in the AA championship conversation, as has every other team on our list now that Hellgate has proven they are vulnerable to being upset.

When examining Class A’s top five, every one of the top-four teams -- including Hardin, Billings Central, Browning and Hamilton -- have put themselves into the championship conversation, but now Dillon, a school known as a football powerhouse, has solidified itself on the hardwood. The Beavers upset Hamilton, our No. 4 team on the 406mtsports.com network, 50-49, and this upset was enough to propel them into the mix as postseason play looms.

Entering the season in Class B, the majority of experts placed Bigfork in the championship hunt -- with the majority of their players from last season’s title team returning -- and they still might hoist the trophy in the end, but they’ll have plenty of challengers. Colstrip and Big Timber appear to be their usual unstoppable selves, as both teams carry an unblemished record heading into District play at the end of this week. Another team that catapulted themselves into the top five with a convincing 73-39 victory over Columbus was Three Forks. Like their girls’ counterparts from the 2017-2018 season, Three Forks could also be in the top spot towards the end of the season.

In Class C, recent history suggests Manhattan Christian and Arlee will continue to vie for the top spot at the end of the year. Scobey -- a team that gave a Phillip Malatare-led Arlee team fits in the first half of last year’s Class C state tournament semifinals -- toppled Class B Wolf Point 59-51, as Class C’s top-tier teams continue to knock off some of the best competition Class B has to offer.

Melstone also remains active at the second-highest spot, but the undefeated Twin Bridges Falcons could also emerge as one of the favorites. As we proceed to Districts, Divisionals and State, it’s usually the team reaching its peak on all levels that rise to the top. And this year, Class C will likely have its share of surprises.


Class AA boys

1.)    Missoula Hellgate (13-1)

2.)    Great Falls (12-2)

3.)    Billings West (9-5)

4.)    Great Falls CMR (11-4)

5.)    Bozeman (10-4)

Class A boys

1.)    Hardin (16-1)

2.)    Billings Central (15-2)

3.)    Browning (17-1)

4.)    Hamilton (15-3)

5.)    Dillon (12-6) *50-49

Class B boys

1.)    Colstrip (18-0)

2.)    Big Timber (18-0)

3.)    Missoula Loyola (15-3)

4.)    Three Forks (14-4) 

5.)    Bigfork

6.)    Lodge Grass (13-5)

7.)    Fairfield (14-4)

8.)    Poplar (15-3)

9.)    Deer Lodge (13-4)

10.)  Choteau (14-4)

Class C boys

1.)    Manhattan Christian (18-0)

2.)    Arlee (16-1)

3.)    Melstone (17-1)

4.)    Scobey (16-0) 

5.)    Twin Bridges (18-0)

6.)    Chinook (18-0)

7.)    Plenty Coups (16-2)

8.)    Park City (15-2)

9.)    Fairview (16-2)

10.) Darby (17-1)

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Jason Blasco is the lead prep sports reporter for the Helena Independent Record and a sports reporter for the 406mtsports.com network.


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