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Pierce Brown

Helena High boys basketball player Pierce Brown (23) scans the court against CMR defenders Tucker Greenwell (11) and Caleb Curringtion (2) in the first half of Thursday night's contest at Helena High's gymnasium. 

The start of the second half of the boys basketball season wasn’t without surprises.

Helena High’s 50-38 victory over Great Falls CMR on Thursday night didn’t go unnoticed. The Bengals held the Rustlers, previously ranked third in the last 406mtsports.com rankings, to a season-low 38 points, and their defensive effort catapulted them to No. 4 on our list.

In the top portion of AA the story remains the same, with the top-tier teams being Missoula Hellgate and Billings Skyview. Bozeman -- led by Ryan Lonergan, who is signed to play football at Montana State, Carter Ash and Jashon Mendoza -- moved up one slot after a 77-71 victory over Billings West. The Hawks trio, who are capable of scoring in double-digits and combined with great rebounding, should allow Bozeman to have a deep run come tournament time.

In Class A, Billings Central asserted itself in the top spot of our poll after defeating Hardin 59-54 Saturday night. Hardin, previously ranked in the 406mtsports.com No. 1 spot, flip-flopped rankings with the new king Billings Central.

Central was led by Chrishon Dixon, who scored 21 points in the crucial early second-half victory. Central will now own the No. 1 title until proven otherwise. They will have plenty of competition moving forward with Butte Central, Browning and Lewistown. All look to battle for that top spot.

Class B is anyone’s game at the top, and Deer Lodge’s 49-47 upset over 406mtsports.com’s top-ranked team Bigfork validated the fierce level of competition. The Wardens -- led by Dyllon McDermid’s 19 points -- allowed them to upset the Vikings, but the victory wasn’t enough to dethrone last year's Class B champs in our top spot. Missoula Loyola, Colstrip and Big Timber are all teams with perfect records that look to challenge the Vikings at the top.

Manhattan Christian continues its reign in Class C, with four players capable of scoring in double digits. David Aamot, Josiah Amunrud, Caleb Bellach and Sam Leep give them enough scoring power to justify another week at the top. They will continue to be challenged by Arlee, Melstone and Scobey. There will be plenty of developing story lines in the second half of the season that is sure to emerge as teams transition into conference play.

***

Class AA

1.) Missoula Hellgate (4-1)

2.) Billings Skyview (4-1)

3.) Bozeman (5-1)

4.) Helena (3-4)

5.) Great Falls CMR (6-1)

Class A

1.) Billings Central (6-1)

2.) Hardin (7-1)

3.) Butte Central (8-0)

4.) Browning (7-1)

5.) Lewistown (7-1)

Class B

1.) Bigfork

2.) Missoula Loyola

3.) Colstrip

4.) Big Timber

5.) Deer Lodge

6.) Fairfield

7.) Three Forks

8.) Shelby

9.) Rocky Boy

10.) Lodge Grass

Class C

1.) Manhattan Christian

2.) Arlee

3.) Melstone

4.) Scobey

5.) Belt

6.) Park City

7.) Twin Bridges

8.) Plenty Coups

9.) Chinook

10.) Fairview

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