B North defeats AA South for Treasure State title

2014-03-22T20:45:00Z 2014-03-24T23:57:05Z B North defeats AA South for Treasure State titleBy JOHN LETASKY jletasky@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

Fairfield coach Dustin Gordon said it best Saturday afternoon at Alterowitz Gymnasium on the campus of Montana State University Billings.

"It feels pretty good and caps off a storybook year," he said after the B North defeated AA South 75-52 in the championship game of the Treasure State Classic.

Gordon's Fairfield Lady Eagles finished a perfect 26-0 season for their fourth straight Class B state championship and 104th straight win with a 60-55 double-overtime victory over rival Malta last weekend in Bozeman.

This time, Gordon's star on his Fairfield team -- Jill Barta -- led the way with a game-high 31 points. Barta's teammates at Fairfield, twin sisters Kourtney and Kaylynn Coverdell, each contributed 16. Malta star Mercedes Stiles pitched in seven.

Barta explained the first time the B North squad played the AA South in her team's first game, B North trailed by 15 early and rallied to win 72-62.

"We did not want to get down that far at all," the 6-foot-3 Gatorade Montana girls basketball player of the year who's headed to Gonzaga in the fall to play basketball said.

This time, B North took the lead for good at the 13:34 mark of the first half, 12-11, and built it to 10 points, 33-23, when Barta made two free throws with 3:47 left in the half. Overall, Barta sunk 14 of 17 from the foul line.

"It was another game," Barta, who was named the tourney's MVP, said. "As a Class B school, everyone expects us to lose and Class C to lose."

It was the eighth time Gordon has coached in the Treasure State Classic as a Class B mentor and he coached in it "one or two" times when he led a Class C school. It is the first year one of Gordon's clubs won the Treasure State title. Gordon said the B North (4-0) was a talented bunch.

"Especially after the first game, things came together," he said. "All three (previous) games we were down 10-15 points. I was giving them a hard time for not coming ready to play and they found another gear.

"We defended very well and better than the first time we played them. And our defense led the offense. Jill let the game come to her and didn't force things."

Kourtney Coverdell, who was second in Class B at the state track and field meet in the discus last year, won't take a break from sports and will be competing in the discus, shot put, triple jump and short relay for the Eagles. This weekend's games were the perfect way for her to end the winter sports campaign and swing into spring, saying, "It's a great way to end my career in high school and play with girls we played against for so long."

Kaylynn Coverdell is going to transition from making buckets to working with her dad on the farm, with everything from fencing to irrigation. She perhaps summed up B North's victory best, saying, "We had control the whole game. We came in knowing we really wanted to win and made a stop and kept ahead the whole game."

For the AA South, Michaela Dowdy of Helena Capital led the way offensively with 12 points. Kasidee Campbell and Kenzie Hanson each put in 10.

Notes: Tournament director Darryl Helmer said there were 150 players in this year's Classic, breaking the old record of 147. He added there were players from roughly 100 different schools in Montana and Wyoming. ... This year marked the first time juniors and Wyoming schools were eligible. Helmer said next year's tourney, set for the same weekend at MSUB, will also allow for juniors and Wyoming teams, saying he received positive feedback. "We'll still make it a senior classic and provide the opporunity for any senior, but if any team is short senior players we'll take juniors to fill the teams," he said. ... For information on the tourney visit www.treasurestateclassic.com . ... According to the tourney program, it is the third time a Class B team has won the event dating to 1996. B East won in 2007 and B South in 2009. A Class C team has never won, but was runner-up in 2001 (C North), 2010 (C North) and 2013 (C North).

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