Bigfork Boys, Deer Lodge Girls Capture Western B Titles
Several teams punched their ticket to their respective state tournaments by placing highly in their division this past weekend. We were there when two teams from Western B took the title, the Bigfork Vikings, and the Deer Lodge Lady Wardens.
The Bigfork Vikings were the undisputed number one team heading into the divisional tournament, with many feeling they are a top five team in the state regardless of classification, but needing to win the title game to guarantee their trip to the state tournament, the team embraced the moment.
"They knew this was a high pressure moment. I said 'under pressure, are we going to burst, or are we going to make a diamond?' I hope everyone got the analogy, but it paid off and we feel great," says Bigfork head coach Josh Downey.
"Coach Told us that we don't want to come back on Monday and have that challenge game, and we want the number one seed heading into state, so we played hard, and got the W' says Bigfork senior forward Josh Sandry.
And going forward, the team feels plenty happy with their play.
"We're so confident right now, we feel like we can go all the way, 100%," says Bigfork senior center Cameron Nissen.
For the girls in Western B, the Deer Lodge Lady Wardens took home their second straight divisional title.
"It feels pretty good, it's the first time anybody at our school has ever won two divisional championships in a row, and that's pretty special to us, and it's just another step until the big one, so we're pretty excited, and we're looking forward to state," says Deer Lodge senior guard Bailee Senecal.
While they didn't lose a game in districts or divisional's, Deer Lodge wasn't without their downfalls…in fact they trailed at halftime in both their semi-final and championship games.
"Kirk (Walker) has taught us about having great mental toughness and fighting through adversity, and that's what's helped us get through our downfalls," says Deer Lodge senior forward Shayla Therriault.
"It really doesn't matter what anybody throws at us, we can take it, or what we are doing bad, we can usually fight through and find a way to win," laughs Senecal.
As they look to end their season higher than last years 4th place finish, the team says as they approach the state tournament, it's all about their unselfishness and team first attitude.
"We're all really close, so we all just have a great time together," says Therriault.
"We all just work really hard, at practice, everybody is giving it their all, the bench is giving it their all, and we're just working toward one common goal, there's no cattiness with us, we're just working to win, and if we win a state championship, it's because we're such a united team," says senior guard Michele Christnacht.