BILLINGS — Any apprehension that Kyle Olson had entering Friday night’s game was quickly erased on her first shot. The Three Forks standout buried a 3-pointer, and then added two more, en route to scoring 11 points.
Olson helped Montana defeat Wyoming, 84-66, in Alterowitz Gymnasium on the campus of Montana State University-Billings in the first game of the Midland Roundtable Montana-Wyoming All-Star Series. The 5-foot-6 guard then tallied a game-high 17 points Saturday in leading Montana to an 89-46 victory at the Bruce Hoffman Golden Dome in Sheridan, Wyo.
Olson, who helped Three Forks win the Class B championship as a junior and then place fourth at the state tournament this past season, noted it was an honor to compete in the event.
“Just getting to know these girls and just to be in their presence and to know that I can compete with these guys — because a lot of them are bigger and stronger and super athletic — to think people think that of me too is pretty awesome,” Olson said Friday.
Olson was one of the shortest players on the court for the contests — only only teammate Danielle Zahn of Florence measured in shorter — but she played big off the bench. Her final 3-pointer gave Montana a 55-40 lead in the third quarter Friday night, and Olson added more than half a dozen assists in the victory.
Montana led just 39-32 at halftime before breaking the game open in the third quarter with a 20-8 run.
“We got a little talking to at halftime (from coach Wes Keller). We felt like we were getting out-hustled, so we knew we had to bring our energy up,” said Olson. “We felt like we were doing our job, we just weren’t getting it done on the boards.”
Wyoming jumped out to an 11-3 lead Saturday — Olson accounted for Montana’s points on a 3-pointer — and led after a quarter 17-14. But Montana took a 33-29 lead into halftime and then outscored Wyoming 26-5 in the third to turn the contest into a rout.
Olson, who will play college ball at Carroll College, buried four 3’s in the contest. She helped Montana extend its win streak to seven in the series.
On the boys’ side, Montana won a pair of close games — 103-100 Friday and 95-94 Saturday — to extend its winning streak to 16. Coach Steve Keller has been at the helm of the team for each of those victories and has yet to lose to Wyoming.
But, things did get tense Friday when Wyoming tied the game at 98 with 2 minutes remaining and trailed just by just two with 8.9 seconds to go before Montana escaped with the win.
“He told us in the locker room afterwards, ‘I had a heart attack in January and you about gave me another one,’” Manhattan Christian’s Caleb Bellach, who scored 11 points in the contest, said. “I was glad we were able to pull through and that was a fun game.”
Bellach gave Montana’s fans plenty to cheer about with a pair of first half dunks after coming off the bench, and noted it was exciting to showcase his skills among the state’s best players.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “Obviously we’re all a bunch of scorers. We’re all the best players on our teams. It was fun to get up and down and throw one down.”
Bellach, who led the Eagles to an unbeaten season and the Class C title this past season, tallied a game-high 22 points Saturday. That includes a pair of free throws late in the contest that extended a slim lead to 94-91.
Bellach was also involved in a controversial finish to the game when Wyoming’s Trase Olson buried a 3 at the buzzer and the duo made contact. However, no foul was called, and Montana escaped with a one-point win.
“He kind of just fell over, stuck his feet out,” Bellach, who will play college ball at Montana State University, told . “I was straight up, I know I didn’t foul him.”
Montana 103, Wyoming 100
Wyoming 23 25 20 32 - 100
Montana 26 25 26 26 - 103
WYOMING - Tristan Bower 11, Treyton Paxton 11, Davion McAdam 19, Erik Oliver 9, Colton Larson 18, Jaren Fritz 8, Danny Gosar 4, Lain Mitchelson 4, Trase Olsen 6, Hudda Curry 10.
MONTANA - Chrishon Dixon 12, Jesse Owens 11, Michael Haverfield 3, Sayer Patton 21, Jaden Graham 5, Blake Thelen 17, Ryan Simpson 1, Brody Grebe 13, Caleb Bellach 11, Sam Gray 9.
Montana 95, Wyoming 94
Montana 16 28 29 22 - 95
Wyoming 22 14 25 33 - 94
MONTANA - Blake Thelen 7, Ryan Simpson 4, Brody Grebe 10, Caleb Bellach 22, Sam Gray 5, Chrishon Dixon 9, Jesse Owens 8, Michael Haverfield 12, Sayer Patton 7, Jaden Graham 11.
WYOMING - Tristan Bower 18, Erik Oliver 4, Jaren Fritz 4, Trase Olsen 16, Danny Gosar 2, Davion McAdam 14, Treyton Paxton 16, Colton Larson 4, Lain Mitchelson 7, Hudda Curry 9.
Montana 84, Wyoming 66
Wyoming 14 18 19 14 - 66
Montana 19 20 29 16 - 84
WYOMING - Madison Miller 24, Alexandria Trosper 1, Kendall Wright 4, Kammie Ragsdale 13, Jennifer Aadland 9, Noelle Peterson 1, Abby Geer 10, Hailey Anderson 4.
MONTANA - MacKenzie Dethman 14, Lillian Gopher 3, Kali Gulick 2, Shayla Montague 5, TyLee Manuel 8, TyRaa Manuel 12, Kyle Olson 11, Sydney Sheridan 10, Allyssia Vanderburg 9, Danielle Zahn 10.
Montana 89, Wyoming 46
Montana 14 19 26 30 - 89
Wyoming 17 12 5 12 - 46
MONTANA - Kyle Olson 17, Sydney Sheridan 6, Danielle Zahn 3, TyLee Manuel 10, TyRaa Manuel 15, Shayla Montague 12, Kali Gulick 6, Mackenzie Dethman 11, Lilian Gopher 5, Allyssia Vanderburg 4.
WYOMING - Abby Geer 5, Alexandria Trosper 9, Kendall Wright 5, Madison Miller 4, Kammie Ragsdale 8, Jennifer Aadland 7, Noelle Peterson 0, Hailey Anderson 8.