By this point everybody has heard the news of Montana men’s basketball coach Wayne Tinkle’s recent hire by Oregon State.
Tinkle takes a winning history to a Beavers program hoping to do much more of that in the not-so distant future. But will he also take his son, current Missoula Hellgate junior and big-time prospect Tres, with him?
The better half of Frenchtown’s batting lineup has already committed to play college sports in the near future.
And no I don’t mean the “better half” as in the better players — although they do seem to be pretty good. By most games’ arrangements so far this spring, the first five hitters in the Broncs’ order have already made commitments to play collegiately.
And here’s the thing: not all of them are even softball players.
The MHSA/Army National Guard Academic All-Team Award winners were announced Monday for the winter sports seasons.
The awards are given to the top three teams that exhibit outstanding academic achievement during the school year’s second quarter of play for each respective activity in each of the MHSA schools’ classification (AA, A, B and C). Member schools calculate their students’ accumulative grade point average for the award.
This season’s varsity winners with cumulative team GPA:
Missoula Hellgate’s run to the championship game gave the Knights a unique set of circumstances as the State AA boys’ basketball bracket played out. The Knights would only face teams they’d lost to during the regular season.
Hellgate lost four games during the regular season starting with – in chronological order – Billings Skyview, Billings West and Helena Capital (twice).
In order to win a second straight state title, the Knights needed to beat – again, in order – Skyview, West and Capital.
When the Columbia Falls boys bumped Laurel off the championship track in Friday’s State A semifinal, Locomotives coach Patrick Hansen Jr. knew exactly who would win Saturday’s title game, even before C. Falls had an opponent line up for the finals.
The cards all pointed to the Wildcats, or at least Laurel’s bizarre pattern of semifinal state losses did. Including this weekend, the Locos have lost in four straight semis, each time the team they’ve lost to winning it all.
Like clockwork, the luck of the Laurel loss held true Saturday night when the Cats won their fifth championship in program history with a 56-47 victory over Dillon.
Polson’s Andrew Curley had a dream performance Friday night at the State A basketball tournament. The Pirates junior came off the bench to hit all seven of his shots in the first half, six of them 3-pointers, and the Pirates held a 30-20 lead at the break over Miles City.
But Curley’s 20 points, the hundreds of fans at Great Falls’ Four Seasons Arena chanting his name, even his mere presence in a Pirates’ uniform, are all the more special considering where he was a year ago.
Homeless. In trouble with the law. At his third school in three years.
In January, the spotlight at Frenchtown High School turned away from the court and onto Libby boys’ basketball coach Wally Winslow before the Loggers’ Northwestern A matchup with the Broncs. Frenchtown coach Michael Botsford paid tribute to one of the league’s long-time leaders who planned to retire at season’s end.
“I look up to him,” Botsford said. “It’s the good one’s like that that you love coaching against.”
Botsford, who has coached against Winslow in some capacity for a decade-plus, presented the 16-year Loggers’ coach with a trophy before the road crowd roared and cheered.
As the old saying goes, everybody makes mistakes.
Anyone who’s ever worked in a news service knows this all too well — the embarrassing zing when an error makes it to the public’s eye is more common than any of us would like.
But not all reporter gaffes show up in newsprint. And I had a doozy two weeks ago while working on a story about Columbia Falls girls AND boys basketball coach Cary Finberg. Luckily, Finny came to my rescue.
UPDATED: A blizzard warning forced the postponement of the Sentinel-Capital basketball games Thursday. The action will be made up on Monday, Mar. 3, with Sentinel’s girls still hosting Capital at 7 p.m. and the boys on the road in Helena also at 7 p.m.
Almost four weeks ago, Helena Capital knocked Missoula Sentinel off the path of the unbeatens by upsetting the No. 1 ranked Spartans 55-50 in Helena.
Neither team has lost since as last year’s State AA finalists have been hurtling toward another rematch this week. The now top-ranked Bruins come to Missoula to face the second-ranked Spartans for a 7 p.m. tip-off Thursday, a meeting of two 17-1 clubs with high state aspirations.