BILLINGS — Brent Montague and his family spent many a game night cheering on the home team at the Billings West gym the previous four seasons, watching daughters Shayla and Allie progress through the Golden Bears’ girls basketball program.
Tuesday night, when Montague stepped into the Golden Dome as the first-year coach for the Billings Skyview girls, he was an adversary of the Bears, not a supporter.
If it was a homecoming of sorts, West didn’t provide much of a welcome.
The fifth-ranked Bears, once they got rolling downhill, came away with a 64-38 win over Skyview for their 15th consecutive victory over their intra-city foe. Kendell Ellis scored 12 points off the bench — 10 came in the first half — and Willa Albrecht added 11 as West was able to get into transition for a lot of easy baskets.
It was a season-high in points for the Bears as well as a bit of a relief for a team that was averaging 44 points the previous four games.
“We did a good job of ball movement, I think that’s something that’s been lacking a little bit,” West coach Charlie Johnson said. “We’ve been yearning for, we’ve been wanting to play like this. We did it in spurts, we didn’t play a complete game.”
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Johnson credited freshman guard Layla Baumann with providing a defensive spark to help lift the Bears to a 26-12 halftime lead. The Falcons managed to play even with the Bears in the third quarter before West used a 21-10 run in the fourth to put the game away and improve to 3-3.
Baumann and Shauna Stene both finished with nine points for the Bears.
Skyview’s Brooke Berry had 18 points to lead all scorers, but no other Falcon was in double digits.
Brent Montague was named Skyview’s coach last spring, and he’s looking to turn around a program that hasn’t reached the Class AA state tournament since 2001.
He’s been able to watch a model program up close and personal the past four years, watching Shayla rein down 3-pointers on her way to a career now at Montana State Billings. Allie, meanwhile, spent two season in the Bears' program before following her father to Skyview. Allie, a junior, hit a 3-pointer toward the end of the third quarter to get the Falcons within 11 of the Bears.
“We just had an absolutely awesome experience at West High as a family,” Brent Montague said. “For me, it was tough seeing Charlie on the opposite sideline when I'm usually rooting for him.
"But it was an odd situation for our family. Probably more so for Allie. She’s got a lot of friends here. She had an awesome experience here but now she’s up at Skyview and trying to make the most of that situation.”
Skyview (1-4) travels to Bozeman on Saturday. West is off until Jan. 17, when the Bears play another intra-city game at Billings Senior.
Email Mike Scherting at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @GazSportsSchert