031013 Stevensville celebrates

The Stevensville High School boys' basketball team celebrates its State A boys basketball championship win over Billings Central on Saturday, March 9, 2013, in Billings.

BOB ZELLAR/Billings Gazette

BILLINGS — Keith Chambers hugged his players one-by-one as they were subbed out of the game in the final seconds, a tribute to the group that brought Stevensville its first state championship.

When the horn sounded, the longtime Yellowjackets coach had the perfect sendoff.

Zach Gavlak had 21 points and eight rebounds, and Jesse Sims added 20 points and 10 boards as Stevensville topped Billings Central 73-59 to win the State A title Saturday at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark.

The Yellowjackets and Rams battled back and forth through a well-played first half, but Stevensville (20-3) clamped down defensively and asserted itself on the interior to pull away in the final two quarters.

In 22 years as Stevi’s coach, Chambers had lost four state championship games, including three in a row from 1999 to 2001.

But as Chambers resigns his post, he is able to walk away on top.

“I’m really happy for my team, I’m really happy for Stevensville High School, and I’m really happy for the community,” Chambers said amid the postgame celebration. “When you’re a coach, and the kids commit to something and it culminates in the end to this, it’s really hard to express those feelings right now.

“It will eventually sink in. I’m just so happy for the young men.”

Central (16-7) came out swinging, and led through much of the first quarter. The Yellowjackets didn’t pull even until Jared Schultz knocked down a long 3-pointer just before the horn to tie it at 16-16.

The second quarter was much the same, though Stevi was able to take a four-point lead on a shot by Gavlak from the elbow at the 2:16 mark. But Connor Cerkovnik hit a trey from the corner with 43 seconds remaining to make it a 32-31 game before halftime.

Stevensville was able to take command thanks to shooting 64 percent (9 for 14) in the second half, and a defense that limited Rams standout Daniel Meyer to one point after halftime before he fouled out.

“In the second half we came out hot,” Schultz said. “We hit some shots and got their big guys in foul trouble. It really was a key factor in the game.”

“They’re a tough team. They’re athletic and their stamina was superb tonight,” said first-year Central coach Jim Stergar. “To be able to play their top five guys basically the entire game, they were very efficient, hitting big shots and rebounding the heck out of it. They played a better game tonight.”

Dylan Hanser continued his sharp perimeter shooting, and gave the Rams a two-point advantage with a 3-pointer early in the third quarter. But that was the last time Central led.

From there, Austin Lords hit an open three, Sims scored on a bounce pass from Schultz and Gavlak hit a pair of foul shots to give Stevensville a 47-40 lead with 2:13 remaining in the third.

The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Sims scored on a power move underneath early in the fourth quarter to extend the lead, and converted a left-handed shot inside not long after that.

On the other end, Central had trouble keeping pace.

Chambers said Gavlak and Sims “are big kids, and they’ve played basketball all their lives. We came out and had the game plan to go down low. It worked out for us.”

Jacob Stanton had another all-around game for Billings Central, with 18 points, 12 rebounds and four assists. Hanser scored nine points on three 3-pointers, and Blayne Sandau added 12 points.

Central 16 15 12 16 – 59

Stevensville 16 16 17 24 – 73

Billings Central – Jacob Stanton 5-11 8-14 18, Riley Nichols 1-4 0-0 3, Ian Byorth 0-2 0-0 0, Garrett Flaming 1-5 2-2 4, Connor Cerkovnik 2-6 1-1 6, Blayne Sandau 3-7 4-5 12, Colin Holetz 0-0 0-0 0, Daniel Meyer 3-6 1-5 7, Dylan Hanser 3-8 0-4 9. Totals 18-49 16-31 59.

Stevensville – Jace Omlid 0-0 0-0 0, Chris Lords 0-0 0-1 0, Austin Lords 2-4 7-10 12, Kaden Beller 1-5 0-0 3, Chance Coleman 0-0 0-2 0, Zach Gavlak 7-9 7-9 21, Jesse Sims 7-10 6-7 20, Jared Schultz 3-11 9-14 17. Totals 20-39 29-43 73.

3-pointers – Central 7 (Nichols, Cerkovnik, Sandau 2, Hanser 3), Stevi 4 (A. Lords, Beller, Schultz 2). Total fouls – Billings Central 28, Stevensville 24. Fouled out – Cerkovnik, Sandau, Meyer, Beller.

Columbia Falls 48, Laurel 46

Columbia Falls cut it close but managed to edge Laurel in the consolation game.

Luke Kazlauskas and Jared Trinastich each scored 12 points to lead the Wildcats, who finished their season 18-6.

Laurel’s Brett Thompson scored 13 points to lead the Locomotives, who finished their season at 17-7.

Consolation

Col. Falls 13 8 9 18 – 48

Laurel 13 2 13 18 – 46

COLUMBIA FALLS – Alex Presnell 0-0 2-2 2, Austin Martin 4-5 0-0 9, Colin King 2-3 0-0 4, Luke Kazlauskas 4-9 4-7 12, Nakia Alexander 1-1 1-1 3, Ty Morgan 1-4 2-4 4, Mason Gedlaman 0-0 0-0 0, Jared Trinastich 3-5 3-5 6-7 12, Austin Kimmet 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 16-29 15-21 48.

LAUREL – Dylan Meccage 0-1 0-0 0, Taylor Maida 4-7 0-0 11, Shawn Nardella 2-4 4-5 8, Bryce Herman 2-2 0-2 4, Jake Anderson 0-3 1-2 1, Brett Thompson 4-10 4-4 13, Evan Jones 2-5 3-5 9, Zac Allen 0-0 0-0 0, Jarred Simons 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-32 12-18 46.

3-point goals – Columbia Falls 1-4 (Martin 1-2, Kazlauskas 0-1, Morgan 0-1), Laurel 6-13 (Maida 3-6, Jones 2-2, Thompson 1-4, Meccage 0-1). Total fouls – Columbia Falls 15, Laurel 17. Fouled out – Nardella. Rebounds – Columbia Falls 21 (Kazlauskas 6), Laurel 14 (Nardella 4). Turnovers – Columbia Falls 13, Laurel 10.

Laurel 55, Belgrade 36

Laurel topped Belgrade in the loser-out game behind Brett Thompson’s 22 point effort.

Thompson was 8 for 12 from the field, including 2 for 3 from 3-point range, and added a team-high five rebounds for the Locomotives.

Brandon Karnath was the lone scorer in double figures for Belgrade (14-9).

Loser out

Belgrade 15 6 9 6 – 36

Laurel 16 13 20 6 – 55

BELGRADE – Jeremy Ragar 2-8 0-0 5, Drew Fowler 0-1 0-0 0, Brandon Stubbs 1-2 2-2 4, Ryan Townsend 3-5 2-2 8, Jared Bryant 1-3 0-5 3, Brandon Karnath 5-7 1-2 14, Shiloh Christopher 0-5 2-2 2, Trevor Mahn 0-5 0-2 0. Totals 12-36 7-15 36.

LAUREL – Tyler Thompson 0-0 0-0 0, Taylor Maida 4-6 3-3 14, Shawn Nardella 1-5 4-4 6, Bryce Herman 2-2 0-0 4, Dylan Meccage 1-1 0-0 3, Brett Thompson 8-12 4-5 22, Jake Anderson 0-2 0-0 0, Evan Jones 1-6 0-0 2, Zac Allen 1-1 2-2 4, Jared Simons 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-35 13-14 55.

3-point goals – Belgrade 5-17 (Karnath 3-5, Bryant 1-2, Ragar 1-5, Fowler 0-1, Stubbs 0-1, Townsend 0-1, Christopher 0-1, Mahn 0-1), Laurel 6-10 (Maida 3-4 B. Thompson 2-3, Nardella 0-1, Jones 0-1). Total fouls – Belgrade 12, Laurel 15. Fouled out – none. Rebounds – Belgrade 24 (Christopher 5), Laurel 21 (Thompson 5). Turnovers – Belgrade 10, Laurel 7.

Columbia Falls 64, Butte Central 47

Ty Morgan led a balanced Wildcat effort over the Maroons with 11 points and six rebounds.

Alex Presnell and Luke Kazlauskas added 10 points apiece to help Columbia Falls advance into the consolation game.

Nate Bolstad hit three 3-pointers and scored 17 points for Butte Central (15-9).

Loser out

Butte Central 14 9 13 11 – 47

Col. Falls 18 14 15 17 – 64

BUTTE CENTRAL – Kale Guldseth 1-8 0-0 2, Danny Peoples 1-2 0-0 3, Conner McGree 0-2 0-0 0, Emmett McCarthy 2-2 0-0 4, Brady Tippett 2-12 2-2 6, Dalton Sessions 4-5 2-2 11, Sean Burt 0-0 0-0 0, Marcus Ferriter 2-3 0-2 4, Nate Bolstad 5-9 4-4 17, Chad Peterson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-43 8-10 47.

COLUMBIA FALLS – Alex Presnell 4-7 2-2 10, Trevor Houston 2-2 1-1 5, Jayce Fagerland 0-0 0-0 0, Austin Martin 3-4 0-2 8, Colin King 1-2 0-0 2, Luke Kazlauskas 3-8 4-4 10, Nakia Alexander 0-0 2-2 2, Ty Morgan 4-5 0-1 11, Logan Williams 0-0 0-0 0, Mason Gedlaman 0-1 0-0 0, Jared Trinastich 2-4 4-4 8, Austin Kimmet 2-3 4-5 8. Totals 21-36 17-21 64.

3-point goals – Butte Central 5-17 (Bolstad 3-5, Sessions 1-1, Peoples 1-2, Tippett 0-3, Guldseth 0-6), Columbia Falls 5-8 (Morgan 3-3, Martin 2-3, Presnell 0-1, Kazlauskas 0-1). Total fouls – Butte Central 18, Columbia Falls 12. Fouled out – Guldseth. Rebounds – Butte Central 21 (Ferriter 5), Columbia Falls 23 (Morgan 6). Turnovers – Butte Central 18, Columbia Falls 10.

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