HELENA — The Capital High girls basketball team was firing on all cylinders in their 60-43 win over Glacier in the Western AA consolation finals game on Saturday.
Capital's balanced scoring attack had five players with six or more points, led by the trio of senior post Taylor Sullivan, junior guard Sydney Sheridan and freshman Dani Bartsch at 11 points apiece.
No. 3 Capital will enter next week's AA tournament in Billings with an 18-4 record, while No. 4 Glacier heads to Rimrock MetraPark at 13-9.
"We played hard and we were relaxed," said 12th-year Capital coach Bill Pilgeram, who has guided the program to 11 state tournaments. "I felt we rebounded well from Friday's loss (against Helena in the semi's) and we played with a lot of confidence.
"The seniors provided great leadership and energy (in their last hometown contest), especially Taylor Sullivan with double-doubles in both games. We did a better job of getting her touches. But you always treasure every game and I liked our depth and trademark defense ... now we'll build on this season's 22 different experiences for state."
Capital led from start to finish, going up 10-4 after the initial period and 32-13 at halftime. Glacier outscored the Bruins in the third 14-9, but then the Bruins bounced back for a 19-16 final frame advantage.
Next in the scoring column for CHS were Kacie Gross and Emily Kidder, at nine and six points. Kalie Gulik and Abby Manger led Glacier at nine points apiece, followed by Anna Schrade's eight markers. Raley Shirey was Kalispell's top rebounder with six boards.
"Capital is a tough team - they're very disciplined, they're fundamentally sound, and Bill's a great coach," Wolfpack coach Bill Sullivan said, "They took care of business today. It wasn't our best defense today, but I told the girls, we still have a lot to be proud of ... there are a lot of teams that are staying home.
"So next, we re-energize and regain our focus for the purpose of winning some games at state."
Glacier 42, Hellgate 27
No. 4 Glacier punched its ticket to state on Saturday morning, with a 42-27 win over No. 7 Missoula Hellgate during the first consolation semifinals of the Girls Western AA Divisional Tournament.
Glacier led 11-9 after the first period, and maintained that two-point lead into halftime, 18-16. The Wolfpack inched ahead 25-21 after three quarters, before outscoring Hellgate 17-6 in the final frame for the 15-point win to end Hellgate's season. Glacier will play Capital at 5 p.m. in the Helena High gym for the third-place trophy.
Ellie Stevens paced the Wolfpack (13-8) with nine points, while teammate Cadie Williams scored eight points and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds. The Knights (4-17) were led by Kylie Lunday's double-double, at 12 points and 14 boards.
Capital 55, Flathead 37
In the tourney's second conso semi's, after a fairly even first half, No. 3 Capital ended No. 5 Flathead's season with a 55-37 win. It is the Bruins (17-4) 11th state tournament appearance in 12 years under coach Bill Pilgeram.
CHS led 10-1 after the opening quarter and 23-20 at halftime, before outscoring the Bravettes 32-17 after the intermission.
Capital put three players in double figures, led by Taylor Sullivan's 15 points, followed by Emily Kidder and Sydney Sheridan at 11 and 10 points. Sullivan had a double-double, with a game-high 10 boards.
Teammate Megan Lindbo had a great all-around game, scoring nine markers and collecting seven rebounds, while passing for a game-high five assists.
Flathead (5-15) was paced by Mary Heaton and Clara Vandenbosch with 11 points each. Sadie Wilson had five rebounds, while Maddie Walter posted three assists.
"The No. 1 goal was to get to state and the No. 2 goal is to compete better every game, and we did that, although it took all 32 minutes," Pilgeram said. "Our defense, which is our trademark, kept us in the game behind the play of Kacie Gross, and our offense kept plugging away until we pulled away in the fourth. I did like the depth and the balance of our offense."