Once the clock hit zero and the Malta Mustangs captured their first State B boys basketball championship since 2013, the Malta faithful's cheers deafened Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark Saturday. 

Loud enough the Malta players couldn't hear head coach David Costin.

The Mustangs fell behind by 12 points late in the first half, and still trailed the Anaconda Copperheads by 10 at halftime.

But after clawing their way back and finally taking the lead with 6:15 left in the fourth quarter, the sea of Malta blue behind the players' benches came alive to celebrate as Malta beat Anaconda 54-51 to win the state title. 

And it wasn't over for the Malta supporters after the boys game — the Malta M-ettes were up next.

Not often does a school play in both the boys and girls championship games, let alone back-to-back on the same court. Fairfield beat the M-ettes 34-33 to win the girls crown. 

This unique opportunity brought many Malta supporters to the Metra to watch both their Mustangs and M-ettes battle for a state championship.

"There's one guy (left in Malta) turning off the lights tonight," said Malta's athletic director and principal Scott King.

Some fans, according to King, decided to embark on the 3 1/2-hour drive to Billings on Saturday, and plan on driving back after the games.

"It's what we do," King said. "When you are 200 miles from any community of 50,000 or greater — first of all, activities and sports specifically are important to the community, especially in our community."

Thursday's winter storm had created difficult driving conditions for many across the state. King said the roads were miserable for those traveling from Malta.

However, some fans were able to caravan to Billings due to the snowy roads.

"Our fans are tournament savvy — they know how to get to a town," he said. "They made their reservations months ago with the expectation that the Mustangs and the M-ettes are going to be in this tournament and they have been looking forward to this opportunity."

Malta's fans have become accustomed to championship basketball with both programs' recent success.

The girls team has played in eight of the last nine state championship games, and the boys program also won back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013.

On Sunday, when both teams arrive back in Malta, the athletic department is holding a reception to celebrate the teams' successful seasons.

"There'll be a lot of blue and white on the road," King said.

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