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Arlee vs Manhattan Christian 2 (copy)

Arlee's Phillip Malatare dribbles against Manhattan Christian during the 2018 State C Boys' Championship Game at the Butte Civic Center.

Class C boys basketball

2017-18 top three: 1) Arlee, 2) Manhattan Christian, 3) Melstone

2018-19 storyline

All arrows are aimed at Arlee, which finished last season with a 26-0 record and its second straight state title. Gone are all-state players Phillip Malatare and Will Meseth, but back are seniors Greg Whitesell and Lane Johnson, who both made the all-state team.

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Arlee vs Manhattan Christian 4

Manhattan Christian's Caleb Bellach drives towards the net while being guarded by Arlee's Lane Johnson during the first half of the State C Boys' Championship Game on Saturday at the Butte Civic Center.

So is Caleb Bellach, a Montana State commit who has led Manhattan Christian to two straight state title appearances (and losses to Arlee). Bellach, an all-state player, averaged 20.4 points per game on 48.1 percent field goal shooting last season. The Eagles graduated several key players, including all-state selection Ryan Busch, but Bellach is hardly the only experienced returner.

A controversial finish to its first-round state tournament game against Scobey ended Melstone’s title hopes. But the Broncs, like Manhattan Christian, return an all-state star: senior guard Brody Grebe, who averaged 24 points per game last season. Junior Shayden Cooke and senior Thomas DeJaegher, both 4C all-conference selections, join Grebe as returning starters for Melstone.

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On to state

Melstone's Brody Grebe shoots past Bridger's Kolton Pospisil, left, and Carson Roberts in a Southern C boys basketball challenge game at the Laurel High School last season. Melstone won 52-36 as Grebe scored 23 points. 

One big number

304: Jason Grebe’s total wins in 18 seasons as Melstone’s head coach. His record over that time includes 119 losses.

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Email Victor Flores at victor.flores@406mtsports.com or follow him on Twitter at @VictorFlores_BG

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