HELENA — Thirty years ago, University of Montana track coach Brian Schweyen had a proclivity for lighting up the scoreboard in the Helena High gym as a standout basketball player for the Bengals.
On Saturday, his daughters Jordyn and Shelby Schweyen did the same thing in The Jungle, only this time for Missoula Sentinel, in leading the Spartans to a 59-52 overtime win over their dad's alma mater for the Western AA Divisional championship.
Jordyn poured in 19 points, while Shelby chipped in 17, including a buzzer beater at regulation with No. 1 seed Sentinel down 52-50, to tie the game and force the overtime.
As it turned out the Spartans' needed all of the Schweyen sister's 36 points to counter the monster night of Helena's Kamden Hilborn.
Second-seeded Helena trailed by 15 early in third, 33-18. Then, down 39-31 later in the period, the Bengals went on a 21-11 run. Fourteen of those points were scored by Hilborn, including four from 3-point land, highlighted by trey with 18 seconds left for Helena's second lead of the night and first since early in the game.
Then came Shelby Schweyen's bucket for the tie before the Spartans pulled away in the fifth period 7-0 for the title. Hilborn, who finished with a game-high 24 points and five 3-pointers, fouled out in the overtime and limped off the floor with a painful ankle injury.
HHS post Jamie Pickens chipped in with 15 counters, giving the Bengal duo a combined 39 points.
"Both of these teams played so good, we both have great players, and we both execute well ... it's always a dogfight with the Bengals," said Missoula coach Karen Deden, whose team is now 2-1 in the season series against Helena. "I just hope Kamden is alright.
"Our keys were staying composed and making the free throws when we needed to. And I must point how crucial Shelby's defensive play was - she had to take the middle zone when (post) Lexi Deden got in foul trouble and she did an amazing job battling against Pickens (an all-stater)."
Sentinel and Helena will enter the state tournament next week with identical 18-3 records.
After the Spartans experienced a slow start and fell behind 4-0, Sentinel went on a run for a 12-7 first quarter lead. They proceeded to lead the rest of the way until Hilborn's magical trey, going up 29-18 at halftime, and 39-34 at the end of the third stanza.
Sentinel outshot the Bengals 43-32 percent from the floor. Next in their scoring column was Deden's 11 points. Shelby was the team's top rebounder with nine boards, while Emma Blakely was high with four assists and four steals.
Pickens also speared a game-high 14 rebounds, for her 18th double-double of the year. Hilborn had team highs of four assists and three steals, while teammates Emily Feller and Paige Aasved netted five points apiece.
"It was a great game, and that's what championship games are supposed to look like," said HHS coach Eric Peterson, who directed his hoopsters to last year's state title with a win over ... Sentinel. "Give (the Spartans) credit, they set the tone of the game. But on the flip side, my players came back and showed a lot of heart, and they fought to the end.
"And once again, it was our senior point guard (Hilborn) that stepped up and shined the brightest."