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What I'll be Watching
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What I'll be Watching

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AA Girls

- Billings Senior is currently stuck in a five game losing streak and hosts Great Falls in what amounts to a must-win for the Lady Broncs. Right now, they are sitting in fourth in the Western AA at 4-4, but are only 1.5 games ahead of Billings West in the standings.

- I was quite impressed with the Lady Rustlers of Great Falls CMR when they came to Billings a couple weekends back. This weekend, they get a shot at the Eastern AA's only team without a conference loss in Bozeman. They continue their road-trip the next night when they travel up I-90 to face Senior.

A Girls

- Most of the seedings are set as teams prepare for their divisional tournaments, but the top seed in the Northwestern A is still up for grabs. Thursday night, Polson (4-2 conference) visits Columbia Falls (6-1). The Wildkats dropped their Tuesday contest to Libby (5-2), and another loss would likely drop them into a three-way tie (Polson hosts Ronan (1-6), and Libby is at Whitefish (1-6) to close the season).

- And in the Eastern A, Sidney (7-2) travels to Hardin (0-8) on Saturday to try to clinch the conference's top overall seed. A loss would drop them into a tie with Miles City.

B Girls

- All of the "B" district tournaments will have started by the time of this posting. Obviously, I am looking forward to see who advances from each district (particularly, keeping an eye on upsets), but one league is at a disadvantage. In the Southern B, the 3B only gets to send two teams to the divisional tourament this year (the other Southern B districts - 4B and 5B - send three teams...all other "B" conferences advance four). Broadus enters the tournament as the favorite, but Colstrip, Lodge Grass, or Baker could make a tournament run.

C Girls

- As is the case with class "B," the "C" district tournaments all tipped off this week. All season long, I have been seeing readers comment on the dominance of the 7C's Winifred-Roy Lady Outlaws. This is usually the time of year when the Outlaws start playing their best basketball, but I have a feeling that Winnett-Grass Range or Moore-Judith Gap will give them all they can handle Saturday night.

- In the 10C, Chester-Joplin-Inverness enters the district tournament as the favorite, but the batte for the conference's second best team should be interesting. Simms, Valier, and Dutton-Brady all have more than a puncher's chance to move on to the divisional round.

AA Boys

- The "AA" boys' standings are a mess right now. Great Falls CMR leads the Eastern AA, but Billings West, Billings Senior, and Bozeman all still have a chance for the conference's #1 seed. In the Western AA, five teams - Missoula Sentinel, Helena Capital, Kalispell Glacier, Kalispell Flathead, and Helena - are within two games of each other and the conference's top spot. Fortunately, there is a slew of games on this weekend's schedule that should help straighten things out:

FRIDAY:

- Billings Senior (5-2) at Great Falls CMR (7-1)

- Helena (4-4) at Kalispell Glacier (5-3)

- Helena Capital (5-3) at Kalispell Flathead (5-3)

SATURDAY:

- Bozeman (5-3) at Great Falls CMR

- Capital at Glacier

- Helena at Flathead

TUESDAY:

- Billings West (6-2) at Senior

A Boys

- Columbia Falls has the Northwestern A regular season title wrapped up, but they travel to Polson on Thursday to face the second-seeded Pirates. The last time these two teams met, Columbia Falls pulled out the two-point win.

B Boys

- District tournaments take over the "B" boys schedule as well. The Southern B gets my attention again due to the restrictions on how many teams advance from each district. It will be interesting to see if any of the lower seeds can overcome the top two (3B) or three teams (4B and 5B) in the conference to advance to the divisional round. In the 3B, Lodge Grass and Broadus enter as the top two seeds with Baker in third. For the 4B, Huntley Project, Shepherd, and Columbus look like the favorites to advance, but Red Lodge could pull an upset to move on. And in the 5B, Manhattan, Jefferson, and Whitehall all enter with 7-3 conference records with Three Forks only a game back.

- As for the districts advancing four teams, I am most interested in seeing who earns the district championship in the 2B. Malta and Wolf Point finished the season tied atop the conference standings and split their regular season match-ups. The Scotties from Glasgow could also pull a couple of upsets and advance as the district's top team.

C Boys

- The 2, 3, and 6C district tournaments completed play last weekend, while the rest of the boys started determining their divisional representatives this week. I've been saying this for a couple weeks now, but I am most looking foward to seeing who comes out of the 11-12C. Twin Bridges enters as the defending champion and top seed; Gardiner enters as the league's hottest team; Sheridan and Shields Valley have had up and down (more up than down) seasons; and Harrison-Willow Creek is a team capable of pulling minor upsets to get to Saturday night.

- Power started the season as the team to beat in the 10C, and not not many teams did. Dutton-Brady is the team that did (the two split during the regular season to finish tied atop the 10C standings at 11-1) and looks to be playing well down the stretch. Barring a major upset, those two will square off for the conference title Saturday night.

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