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CLASS 'A' STATE CHAMPIONSHIP PREDICTIONS

December 6, 2012
Northwest Montana A Conference



 

Class A Boys

When talking with coaches from across Montana, two Class A teams are  consistently mentioned as state championship contenders: Billings Central and  Stevensville. Both teams return a ton of talent off of last year’s teams.

Central will need to adjust to new head coach Jim Stergar, but the Rams have  height and athleticism. Of course, Laurel stands in their way in the Eastern A,  which should be more competitive this year with Glendive and Miles City trending  upwards.

The Yellowjackets have three very talented players back this year in Jared  Schultz, Zach Gavlak, and Jesse Sims. They’re expected to finish in the top two  in the Southwestern A along with defending state champion Dillon. The Beavers  need to figure out how to replace some key players who graduated, but coach  Terry Thomas will have them playing good basketball by the end of the year.

In the Northwest, Columbia Falls gets tabbed as the preseason favorite almost  by default. The Wildcats have been a model of consistency over the years and  will be relying on new players to fill big roles. They’ll compete with Polson  and Whitefish for the conference title.

The Central A is wide open this year. A case could be made for just about any  of the five teams in the conference. Livingston returns standout post player  Marcus Payne, but he’ll be starting alongside four new players.

State tournament  teams:

Eastern A - Billings Central, Laurel

Central A - Livingston, Browning

Southwestern A - Dillon, Stevensville

Northwestern A - Columbia Falls, Polson

Championship prediction: Dillon 45, Billings  Central 44

Read more: http://billingsgazette.com/sports/high-school/blogs/gazprepsports/basketball/boys/boys-basketball-state-championship-predictions/article_fa9c06fa-3ff8-11e2-a8bb-001a4bcf887a.html#ixzz2EK5d8PCI

 

Class A Girls

Billings Central won the State A championship last year with a pair of  seniors – Katie Cummins and Kayla Lucas – sharing tournament most valuable  player honors. While losing those two will hurt the team, the Rams still have a  good team in the mix for the 2012-13 season.

Justyn Juhl, Sammy Elliott, Allie Lucas, and Hadley Ryan give coach Jeff  Malby an experienced, talented group to build around, making Central the  preseason favorite in the Eastern A.

The rest of the conference is wide open. The coaches picked Hardin to finish  second in the league, but Laurel, Glendive, and Sidney could challenge, too.

In the Central A, it looks like it’s Belgrade’s conference to lose. The  Panthers took third place at last year’s state tournament, and all-state player  Dylan Fowler is back this season.

The Southwestern A might be the toughest conference top to bottom again.  Stevensville – with Alycia Sims – and Butte Central are picked as the top two  teams, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see any of the other four teams contend  for a state tournament berth. Hamilton is loaded with talented sophomores, while  Courtney Moodry (Anaconda), Lakyn Connors (Corvallis), and Audrey Schurg  (Dillon) give their teams good building blocks.

It looks like a two-team race in the Northwestern A, with Columbia Falls and  Frenchtown as the preseason favorites. Polson could make some noise, but Libby  and Whitefish are probably a year or two away.

State tournament  teams:

Eastern A - Billings Central, Hardin

Central A - Belgrade, Havre

Southwestern A - Stevensville, Butte Central

Northwestern A - Columbia Falls, Frenchtown

Championship prediction: Billings Central 46, Butte  Central 36

Read more: http://billingsgazette.com/sports/high-school/blogs/gazprepsports/basketball/girls/girls-basketball-state-championship-predictions/article_61febb56-3ff6-11e2-be3e-001a4bcf887a.html#ixzz2EK5C7aJP


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