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It's the third week of the Associated Press power polls, and the voters aren't shaking things up too much, especially in the girls rankings. Three of the four girls teams held onto their No. 1 rankings. Bozeman, Fairfield, and Harlowton-Ryegate each topped the polls for the third consecutive week.

In the boys polls, Billings West earned a unanimous No. 1 ranking. The other three classes saw new teams at the top: Browning moved up from No. 2 in Class A, Fairfield swapped spots with Manhattan in Class B, and Plenty Coups and St. Labre flip-flopped in Class C.

You can find the polls in their entirety below, but here are some of the things that caught my eye this week:

  • AA boys goes unchanged - The voters kept the top five in order in the AA boys poll. Billings West is the No. 1 team for the third week in a row. The closest gap in the top five is between Billings Skyview and Bozeman for second and third. It's also noteworthy that only six teams even received votes, so it's safe to say the voters are confident in their AA boys rankings.
  • Still no Eastern A team in the top five - Laurel is inching closer to getting the No. 5 spot in the boys Class A poll. The Locomotives only trail Livingston and Columbia Falls by four points. The top five teams remained the same, but the order changed.
  • Fairfield boys climb to No. 1 - Fairfield and Manhattan are the last two unbeaten teams left in Class B and shared the first-place votes. Despite fewer media members voting this week, Fairfield actually gained two first-place votes. If we get back to a full voting lineup next week, I suspect Manhattan could climb back into the top spot.
  • Culbertson debuts at No. 5 - Voters apparently really liked the Cowboys' win over Fairview on the weekend. Culbertson wasn't ranked last week and showed up at No. 5 this week (Fairview is sixth). Melstone is also a new addition to the top 10 this week, edging Stanford-Geyser for No. 10.
  • Six Eastern AA girls teams receive votes - Bozeman was a unanimous No. 1 selection, while Great Falls CMR and Billings West each cracked the top five. Butte, Billings Skyview, and Billings Senior each received votes. That's six of seven teams in the Eastern AA that received recognition from the voters.
  • Butte Central falls to 3 - The Maroons lost two games last weekend and have now lost three of their last four (granted, two of those are against AA opponents). Stevensville topped Butte Central 66-62 on Saturday, and I was a little surprised the Yellowjackets didn't nab the top spot. They came in second, behind Frenchtown. The Southwestern A is showing strong in both the boys and girls polls.
  • Baker hold steady, Lodge Grass climbs - Baker and Lodge Grass both suffered losses to Colstrip since the last poll edition. The Spartans held onto their No. 4 ranking, and the Indians moved up to sixth (from ninth), while Colstrip didn't receive a vote.
  • The race for No. 1 in the Class C girls poll - Harlowton-Ryegate is still ranked first, but the Engineers only lead third-place Winnett-Grass Range by five points. Five teams received first-place votes, but the top three (Harlowton-Ryegate, Fairview, and Winnett-Grass Range) have gained some separation from the rest of the pack.

Boys basketball polls

The top ten teams in the Associated Press Montana high school basketball poll with first-place votes in parentheses and won-loss record, total points and position last week at right:

Class AA
  Record Pts Prv
1. Billings West (10) 9-1 100
1
2. Billings Skyview 8-2 79 2
3. Bozeman 8-2 78 3
4. Helena Capital 7-4 68 4
5. Kalispell Flathead 6-4 51 5

Others receiving votes: Kalispell Glacier 24.

Class A
  Record Pts Prv
1. Browning (8) 10-1 97 2
2. Dillon 9-2 74 4
3. Stevensville (2) 9-1 72 1
T4. Livingston 9-2 43 3
T4. Columbia Falls 9-3 43 5

Others receiving votes: Laurel 39, Sidney 18, Billings Central 7, Butte Central 7.

Class B
  Record Pts Prv
1. Fairfield (6) 11-0 96 2
2. Manhattan (4) 12-0 93 1
3. Malta 11-1 65 3
4. Forsyth 10-2 64 4
5. Bigfork 11-2 59 5
6. Shepherd 10-2 58 6
7. Lodge Grass 9-3 34 7
8. Wolf Point 9-3 32 10
9. Florence 9-2 23 8
10. Choteau 10-2 19 9

Others receiving votes: Troy 3, Three Forks 2, Plentywood 1, Whitehall 1.

Class C
  Record Pts Prv
1. Plenty Coups (5) 11-1 86 2
2. St. Labre (3) 10-1 79 1
3. Highwood 11-1 56 4
4. Twin Bridges 10-2 50 6
5. Culbertson 10-2 44 NR
6. Fairview 9-2 37 3
7. Drummond (1) 10-1 35 9
8. Scobey-Opheim 10-2 32 8
9. Big Sandy 10-2 20 7
10. Melstone 10-2 19 NR

Others receiving votes: Stanford-Geyser 16, Roy-Winifred 13, Lincoln 6, Ennis 2.

Girls basketball polls

The top ten teams in the girls Associated Press Montana high school basketball polls of the 2011-2012 season with first-place votes in parentheses and won-loss record, total points and position last week at right:

Class AA
  Record Pts Prv
1. Bozeman (10) 10-0 100 1
2. Missoula Sentinel 9-1 89 2
3. Great Falls CMR 9-2 75 3
4. Billings West 7-4 66 5
5. Helena 6-4 38 NR

Others receiving votes: Butte 13, Billings Skyview 7, Kalispell Glacier 6, Billings Senior 6.

Class A
  Record Pts Prv
1. Frenchtown (6) 10-1 95 T2
2. Stevensville (2) 8-2 86 T2
3. Butte Central (2) 9-3 77 1
4. Billings Central 7-3 71 5
5. Polson 9-2 57 4

Others receiving votes: Havre 14.

Class B
  Record Pts Prv
1. Fairfield (9) 12-0 99 1
2. Townsend (1) 12-0 88 2
3. Malta 13-0 80 3
4. Baker 10-2 58 4
5. Bigfork 11-2 44 8
6. Lodge Grass 9-4 41 T9
7. Missoula Loyola 8-4 39 5
8. Columbus 8-4 35 6
9. Shepherd 9-3 32 T9
10. Choteau 8-4 19 7

Others receiving votes: Three Forks 7, Plentywood 4, Huntley Project 1, Deer Lodge 1, Broadus 1, Manhattan 1.

Class C
  Record Pts Prv
1. Harlowton-Ryegate (4) 12-0 86 1
2. Fairview (3) 11-0 84 3
3. Winnett-Grass Range (1)
12-0 81 2
4. Twin Bridges (1) 11-1 69 5
5. Box Elder (1) 13-0 60 6
6. Drummond 11-0 43 4
7. Chester-Joplin-Inverness 11-1 30 8
8. Superior 11-0 29 7
9. Belt 11-1 27 9
10. Scobey-Opheim 10-2 12 NR

Others receiving votes: Culbertson 10, Circle 7, Ennis 5, Geraldine 3, Chinook 2, Park City 2.

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Online sports editor for The Billings Gazette.