Ball Control

Manhattan Christian's Caidin Hill tries to maintain control on his dribble after making contact with Scobey's Aidan Fishell on a drive to the bucket Thursday night.

MISSOULA — There will be no repeat.

After winning its first state championship in more than three decades a year ago, and reaching a third consecutive title game, Manhattan Christian’s run was emphatically halted Thursday night in Dahlberg Arena.

The Eagles were held to a season low point total and shot just 26.5 percent from the field in a 77-39 semifinal defeat to Scobey at the State C tournament.

“It’s tough when you’re on that kind of a run and you meet your match. Scobey’s a good team and we didn’t play like we can play,” Christian head coach Jeff Bellach said. “Give credit to them because they had something to do with that.”

It was just the second loss of the season for the Eagles and the first against a Class C opponent. The other loss came against Class B Three Forks in January.

“Give credit to Scobey, they’re a solid team,” said Bellach. “Not a lot of holes in that lineup and they exposed a few things that we were able to get away with most of the year.”

Christian (23-2) never found a way to contain guards Aidan Fishell and Jayce Tande, who combined for 35 points. When they weren’t scoring on dribble penetration or from the perimeter, Brayden Cromwell was dominating inside. The bruising 6-foot-5 post finished with 17 points.

Contest Shot

Manhattan Christian's Willem Kimm, right, tries to get off a shot as Scobey's Brayden Cromwell defends Thursday night in Dahlberg Arena.

The Eagles took an early 6-2 lead highlighted by a pair of buckets from Sam Leep. But they never found a rhythm offensively and finished just 4 of 23 from behind the arc.

Scobey took advantage of several mismatches, limited easy buckets, and never allowed the high scoring Eagles to get their transition game going.

“We rely a lot on up tempo and once those easy buckets went away we weren’t good at getting easy buckets in the half court,” said Bellach. “I’ll take some of the blame for that. We didn’t have sets to go to and plays to run to get those, and that stuck out tonight in the half court.”

Leep did spark a 12-0 run early in the fourth quarter after completing a four-point play when he was fouled on a made 3. By then, however, Christian was down by more than 30 and didn’t score again over the final 5:34 of the contest.

Leep was the Eagle in double figures with 16 points. Josiah Amunrud and Charlie Keith each had six.

Christian will play Twin Bridges in a loser-out game at 4:30 p.m. Friday. The winner advances to Saturday’s consolation game.

“We’ll have to get over this and get on to tomorrow,” said Bellach. “We’ve been talking about opportunity all season long as a team, as a group, and there’s still a great opportunity in front us to take home a trophy from the state tournament four years in a row.”

Thursday’s scores

Twin Bridges 65, Jordan 54, loser-out

Belt 44, Melstone 31, loser-out

Fairview 44, Fort Benton 37, semifinal

Scobey 77, Manhattan Christian 39, semifinal

Boxscore

Scobey 77, Manhattan Christian 39

Scobey             11  20  27 19  -  77

Christian          8 11  8  12 -  39

SCOBEY – Jayce Tande 8 0-0 19, Aidan Fishell 9 8-9 26, Parker Cromwell 1 0-0 2, Caden Handran 3 0-0 6, Brayen Cromwell 6 5-7 17, Boen Tande 0 0-0 0, Max Cole 0 0-0 0, Kannon Ferestad 0 0-2 0, Reagan Machart 2 2-2  6, Addison Stentoft 0 0-0 0, Rio Booth 0 1-2 1, Gage Southland 0 0-0 0. Totals: 

MANHATTAN CHRISTIAN (23-2) – Sam Leep 6 1-1 16, Josiah Amunrud 1 4-4 6, Matthew Kenney 0 0-0 0, Caidin Hill 0 2-2 2, Devan Walhof 1 2-2 4, Logan Leep 0 0-0 0, Tebarek Hill 1 0-0 2, Charlie Keith 3 0-0 6, Seth Amunrud 1 0-0 3, Trevor VanDyken 0 0-0 0, Gavin Weiss 0 0-0 0, Willem Kimm 0 0-0 0. Totals: 13 9-9 39.

3-point goals: Sco 3 (J. Tande 3), MC 4 (S. Leep 3, S. Amunrud 1).