HAMILTON — Consider the Hamilton Broncs battle-tested after Tuesday night.
Both the Hamilton boys and girls found themselves up against adversity versus their Bitterroot rival Stevensville and they both came out on top in front of the Broncs' home fans.
The Hamilton boys came back from a slim 17-16 first-quarter deficit to win 63-53. The Hamilton girls held off furious fourth-quarter comeback attempt by Stevensville to complete the sweep, 50-45.
But Stevensville's Angel Richards gave the Bronc girls just about everything they could handle.
Hamilton girls 50, Stevensville 45
Richards scored a game-high 20 points for the Yellowjackets, including five points — all from the free-throw line — in the fourth quarter. Her last free throw pulled Stevi within six, 45-39, with 1:15 remaining.
"She's strong in the post and we want her down there getting those and-1's," Stevi coach Alycia Harris said. "That was great to see that come to life tonight, her wanting the ball and being physical."
Hamilton's post also came to life late, though, helping the Broncs maintain the advantage. Hamilton senior Lauren Ryter, who finished with a team-high 16 points, had six in the fourth quarter. Her last bucket actually came on a 1-and-1 free-throw miss.
The senior raced in for the rebound and made the put-back to give Hamilton a 45-37 lead with 1:26 remaining.
That rebound was exactly what coach Mark Albert wanted to see from his senior. He subbed Ryter out early in the fourth quarter and animatedly told her to grab "every rebound."
"It was a huge play," Albert said. "Most of the times shooters don't get the rebounds (on free throws). It was a big senior play."
Stevi's Maddie Weber hit a 3-pointer with 58 seconds remaining and coach Harris' sister, Maddie Sims connected on a pair of free throws to pull Stevi within three, 47-44, but the Yellowjackets couldn't climb any closer.
The Broncs made a pair of late free throws and Hamilton sophomore Katelyn Dickemore added 14 points in the win.
Hamilton boys 63, Stevensville 53
The Yellowjackets came out firing thanks to a 3-point barrage from Logan Roth, but the Broncs rallied with a gritty team-wide effort.
Tanner Goligoski led four Broncs in double-figures scoring with 18 points, as Hamilton was able to turn its first-quarter deficit into a 37-29 halftime lead.
"We started moving the ball around better I thought," Goligoski said. "We started getting into a little more flow as the game went a long, but we still got a lot of things to work on."
One person who had a flow going from the onset was Stevensville's Roth. The senior drilled seven 3-pointers in the loss and finished with a game-high 27 points. He had three 3-pointers in both the first and third quarters.
"He has been due for a good shooting for quite a while," Stevi coach Tony Anderson said of Roth. He has been shooting the ball well in practice, so it wasn't a surprise to anybody on our bench."
Also not a surprise: Hamilton's tenacity. Along with Goligoski's 18 points, Hunter Omlid had 11 points while Trey Searle added 12 more points. Searle drilled a late-game 3-pointer to put any thought of a Stevensville boys' comeback to rest.
Cam Rothie also had 12 points for the Broncs, who improved to 8-2 overall.
"Rothie controlled things offensively and really kind of gets us going at all times; I was proud of him," Hamilton coach Travis Blome said.