SHERIDAN, Wyo. — A last-second block by future Lady Griz guard Sophia Stiles helped the Montana girls survive a late comeback and the boys followed with their own win to sweep the opening night of the Midland Roundtable Montana-Wyoming All-Star Basketball Series.
The girls won 69-68 while the boys won in more dominant fashion, 93-78, at Sheridan College.
After leading comfortably through most of the game, the Montana girls watched an eight-point lead with about 2 minutes to play shrunk to one. Wyoming made a furious comeback with layups and forced turnovers, but Malta’s Stiles blocked the final shot attempt to seal the win.
“We talked about lock-down defense and executing on offense,” said Farifield's Natalie Klinker about the game's end. “... Honestly, I didn’t really feel nervous. I mean, I’ve been in quite a few intense games like (with) Malta, so by this time I’m kind of used to it."
Hannah Collins from Great Falls High led all scorers with 15 points, including 10 in the first half as Montana ran its all-time lead in the series to 28-13.
“Coach (Wes Keller) just told me to be aggressive and try to get into the paint and try to get to the basket and make plays as clutch as possible,” she said. “It’s super fun (playing with this team). Everyone’s so talented and everyone shares the ball very well.”
Two-time Gatorade Montana Player of the Year Brendan Howard from Great Falls led the Montana boys in scoring with 18 points in the night's second victory.
"You represent Montana and you want to do what you can to win because it's kind of like bragging rights," Howard, an Eastern Washington commit, said. "You also have to take every game seriously and that's the mentality I go in with.
"It's an all-star game but at the same time I want to win. That's the main goal every time for me."
Kalispell Glacier's Jaxen Hashley scored 16 points, Malta's Nate Costin scored 11 and Billings Skyview's RayQuan Evans and Billings West's Braydon Deming each had 10 as Montana improves to an all-time record 56-27 against the Wyoming All-Stars with the win. The Treasure State has won the last 11 meetings between the two.
The series continues Saturday at Rocky Mountain College in Billings. The girls play at 5:30 p.m. with the boys to follow at 7:30 p.m.