The 2013-14 Montana high school basketball season has drawn to a close, but not without plenty of excitement.
Three girls teams — Missoula Sentinel, Fairfield and Belt — repeated as champions, while three boys teams — Helena Capital, Bigfork and Box Elder — won long-awaited titles.
The Montana High School Association crowned six state champions Saturday and two the weekend before. Here’s a look at those teams by the numbers:
10: Number of losses for the Missoula Sentinel girls during Olivia Roberts’ four-year career.
The three-time defending champion Spartans, who have played in each of the past four state championship games, went 22-1, 22-1, 19-4 and 20-4 during Roberts’ career. Roberts will be playing college basketball at the University of Wyoming next year.
13: Total number of points Helena Capital beat Missoula Hellgate by in the three meetings between the teams this season.
Hellgate beat Capital in last year’s state championship by five points in overtime. The Bruins, using that loss as motivation all season, beat the Knights three times, including 51-47 in the State AA boys championship to win the first title for the program since 1983. No Bruins’ margin of victory against Hellgate was more than six points.
17: Number of years since Havre last won the State A girls championship.
Before this year’s title, the Blue Ponies last won the State A championship in 1997, when they beat Dillon. Counting this season, they’ve been to the state tournament seven of the past eight years, finishing fourth three times.
4: Number of times Dillon and Columbia Falls have met for the State A boys championship in the past six seasons.
Columbia Falls beat Dillon 56-47 in the State A championship this season to even the head-to-head record in championship games. The teams also met for the state title in 2009 (Dillon won 54-50), 2011 (Columbia Falls 55-43) and 2012 (Dillon 54-39). In the four games, Columbia Falls has scored 200 points compared to 198 for Dillon.
76: Number of games since Fairfield’s last single-digit win before the State B girls championship.
By now, it’s somewhat common knowledge that the Fairfield girls won their Montana-record 104th consecutive game when they beat Malta in the State B championship game on Saturday night. But the Eagles hadn’t really even been challenged in their past 76 games. Before beating Malta by five points in double overtime on Saturday, Fairfield’s last single-digit margin of victory was its season-opening game against Twin Bridges in the 2011-12 season. The Eagles won that one 65-60.
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21: Number of consecutive points Jill Barta scored to help Fairfield rally to beat Malta.
Barta, who won Montana’s Gatorade player of the year, finished the game with 41 points and 18 rebounds, but it was her clutch play down the stretch that willed the Eagles to victory. She hit a ridiculous 3-pointer to force the second overtime, which prompted Fairfield coach Dustin Gordon to say via text message, “Barta refused to lose, insane. Still not sure how Jill willed us to a state championship. I am just numb still. Crazy.”
3-0: The combined record of the State B champions in games played against the State A champions.
Fairfield’s girls beat Havre 63-37 in the lone matchup between the class champions, and Bigfork’s boys beat Columbia Falls twice. The Vikings won 53-42 in the first meeting between the teams and 50-45 in the second.
1: Number of games the Bigfork boys basketball and football teams lost in 2013-14.
The Bigfork boys won the first state basketball championship in program history when they beat Columbus on Saturday to complete a perfect 26-0 season. The Vikings reached the football quarterfinals with a 9-0 record, where they lost to Baker to finish the season 9-1.
1999: Last time a team from the Northern B did not play for the State B boys championship.
Huntley Project beat Columbus 66-36 in the 1999 State B boys championship. A team from the Northern B had played for the state title every year until this season when Bigfork beat Columbus. The last time a Northern B team did not win the state title was 2007. Huntley Project beat Plentywood that year.
45: Margin of victory in Belt’s 63-18 win over Hinsdale in the State C girls championship.
The 45-point win is the most lopsided ever for a state championship basketball game, boys or girls, according to the MHSA website. Hinsdale’s 18 points are the second lowest output in a girls championship. Philipsburg scored 17 in a loss to Arlee in 1979.
2: Number of consecutive seasons a team from the Northern C that failed to reach the previous state tournament went undefeated to win the state title.
Neither Roy-Winifred in 2012 nor Box Elder in 2013 qualified for the state tournament. But both teams bounced back the following season to go undefeated and win the State C championship by beating Westby-Grenora for the title. It was Box Elder’s first championship since 1990.