BILLINGS – Rayetta Jordan wanted to see her daughters play at the Class B girls basketball tournament in Missoula. And though Rayetta died Jan. 27 after a six-month bout with cancer, her daughters, Shelby and Jessi, will take her there.
“Before she passed she said, ‘I’m always going to be on your shoulder,’ " said Shelby, a senior, who scored nine points, including a big three-point play late in the game that helped the Colstrip Fillies defeat Jefferson 60-56 in the first semifinal of the Southern B Divisional at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark Friday night.
Rayetta was diagnosed in August, and through all the hard days and nights had just one request for Shelby and Jessi: finish the season and make it to state.
So the Jordan sisters, who also have a younger sibling, Dani, 12, made every practice and missed just one game during their mother's fight. And with Friday night’s win, they ensured they’ll take the season as far as they can.
Needless to say, the postgame Fillies locker room was an emotional scene.
“Everyone was screaming, ‘we’re going to state again!” Shelby said. “I was just praying to my mom, thank you, mom. She gave me the strength tonight to play.”
“We always end the game with 15 ‘For the Fillies,’ ” said Colstrip coach Roxie Wilson. “Tonight, pretty much everybody thanked those two girls for continuing to play Fillies basketball even though maybe their hearts are with their mother.”
Wilson has a tradition of asking her players to play for someone else, so she has the players write that person’s name on the inside of their right wrist. Shelby’s and Jessi’s wrists read, ‘For mom.’
The Fillies have one more game to go at divisionals, thanks in part to Amaya LaFranier’s 24-point night, which helped offset 36 points from Jefferson’s Aubrey McMaster. Colstrip, ranked sixth, will take on top-ranked and unbeaten Three Forks for the divisional championship at 8 p.m. on Saturday, and then it’s off to Missoula next week for the second straight year.
Just like Rayetta would have wanted.
“There’s joy, but for us it’s kind of hard because you don’t see her in the crowd,” said Jessi, a sophomore. “But we’re going to state and we want to win this time. That’s our goal, and we’re always playing for our mom.”
Three Forks 51, Roundup 46
Three Forks set up a rematch of last year's divisional title game, getting 19 points from Kyle Olson and 26 combined points from Morgan Allen and Shainy Mack in a 51-46 semifinal win over Roundup.
The Wolves clinched a trip to the state tournament, and Saturday they'll try change the outcome of last year's divisional title game, which was won by Colstrip on a last-second shot.
"It was a hell of a game, and I expect the same tomorrow night," Three Forks coach Mike Sauvageau said. "I'm just happy we get the opportunity to play them and that we punched our ticket to the state tournament."
Roundup provided a tough challenge behind 18 points from Faith Nichols and 12 from Blythe Sealey. But Three Forks was able to build a seven-point lead with about two minutes to play and held on from there.
Allen finished with 15 points and Mack added 11.
"We didn't play as well as we can, but Roundup is a very good basketball team and they're very well-coached," Sauvageau said. "They took it to us in a lot of things that we've done to other people."
Roundup plays Townsend at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. The winner goes to state and gets to play for third place at 5 p.m. Saturday.
St. Labre 37, Forsyth 25
Kaelene Spang scored eight of her team-high 12 points in the fourth quarter to help the St. Labre Braves pull away from the Forsyth Dogies for a 37-25 loser-out win.
The Braves scored the final four points of the third quarter to break a 19-19 tie, and then started the fourth quarter with an 11-4 run to build an 11-point lead with 1:46 to play.
Spang also had 13 rebounds, and Priscilla Flatmouth had 13 boards as well. St. Labre, which dropped its first game of the tournament to Roundup, advances to a Saturday morning loser-out game.
The Braves will play Jefferson at 10:30 a.m. at Rocky Mountain College. The winner of that game clinches a state-tournament berth and will play for third place.
Reese Pederson led the Dogies with six points and Jordan Cookman had 11 rebounds.
Townsend 56, Red Lodge 47
It took nearly 5 ½ quarters of the tournament, but the Townsend Bulldogs finally found something that looked like offensive rhythm.
Townsend used a 14-2 run over the final three minutes of the third quarter to take control of the game and beat the Red Lodge Rams 56-47 in a loser-out game.
Tavia Rooney scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, and Charlotte Watson had 16 points to keep alive the Bulldogs’ hopes of advancing to the state tournament.
“Our shots started to drop,” Townsend coach Dan Hazlett said. “All year long we’ve been preaching ball movement, ball movement and look for that right shot, and we started to do that a lot better.”
Townsend, which came into the divisional as the No. 2 team in the 406mtsports.com rankings, lost to No. 6 Colstrip in the opening round of the tournament. Townsend missed 18 free throws and turned the ball over 27 times in that game, two categories that the Bulldogs improved on against Red Lodge.
“It hurt, but they got over it pretty quickly, which was big coming into today,” Hazlett said of Thursday’s loss. “Because they still take out four (teams for state), and that’s our goal. If it’s not playing in the (divisional) title game and we play in the consolation game, that’s OK, too.”
Townsend will play Roundup at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, with the winner qualifying for state and getting to play for third place later in the day.
Red Lodge, trying to make its second consecutive state appearance, saw its season end at 12-11. Zoe Cortner led the Rams with 19 points.