BILLINGS — Nine was the number of the night for the Billings West girls basketball team Friday night.
Nine players scored and the fourth-ranked Golden Bears won their ninth straight, beating Billings Skyview 50-41 at the Skyview gym to keep their Eastern AA record unblemished.
Willa Albrecht scored 11 points and Mackenzie Rask added 10 as the Bears (11-3, 8-0) played without head coach Charlie Johnson, who was hit with the flu earlier in the day and stayed home. Junior varsity coach Jody McIlvain filled in and saw the Bears lead from start to finish.
They led by as many as 16 in the fourth quarter before the Falcons closed the game on a 7-0 run.
“Charlie just told me just, ‘Go get them,’” McIlvain said. “Those girls are so good I don’t have to worry about them. They’re going to do the things that they’re taught to do and what we do in practice, so they transitioned straight over.”
Maddie Albrecht had nine points for the Bears and also provided the highlight of the night. She intercepted a Skyview pass in the backcourt as time wound down in the first half, took a couple dribbles and let the ball fly from halfcourt.
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It was true, giving West a 29-14 lead. And true to her nature, Maddie Albrecht hardly acknowledged the shot.
“When she let it go, I knew it was going in,” McIlvain said. “I was standing right behind her and I could tell. Coach was trying to get her to laugh and have fun with it, but she just brushes it off.”
Skyview’s Brooke Berry, who is Class AA’s second-leading scorer at 15.5 points per game, sat out nearly seven minutes in the first half after picking up her second foul just two minutes into the game. She finished with 12 points as did Cami Harris to lead the Falcons (5-9, 3-5).
Skyview has games remaining with Great Falls, Great Falls CMR, Senior and Belgrade over the next two weeks to try and better their seed ahead of the Eastern AA divisional. The Falcons have a combined record of 2-2 against those teams.
“We’ve talked about we’re not going to record-watch,” said Skyview coach Brent Montague, who is in his first season in charge of a program that hasn’t reached the state tournament since 2001, “because that can get you in trouble.
“But we can gauge effort, attitude and competitive spirit. That’s what we’re after. Whatever happens from here on out, we’re going to fight, and when divisional comes, everybody knows you have a chance. You have a chance.”
Email Mike Scherting at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @GazSportsSchert