Great Falls High's Matthew Wyman on the dribble drive. TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO/LARRY BECKNER
HAVRE — Matt Wyman can get up.
Like really high. For a player listed at 6-foot-5 – a fairly generous 6-5, too – Wyman can dunk with the best of them. He proved it on Saturday night as he won the Hi-Line Slam Dunk competition, part of this week’s Hi-Line Basketball Invitational, which concluded on Saturday night.
This was the first dunk contest Wyman has competed in, though he said he likes “messing around after practice and stuff,” working on his dunking. And the senior-to-be high-riser isn’t unfamiliar with views at and above the rim, having thrown down several dunks this season for the Bison.
“No, I didn’t practice any,” said Wyman. “I didn’t really have a gameplan going in, just kind of went with the flow of it, and, hey, I’ll take the win.”
In round three, Wyman brought Jill Barta, the Fairfield star who was one of the five judges, to help with an alley-oop off the backboard. The 44 out of 50 sent Wyman to the final round, where he slammed in a two-handed dunk after catching the ball off the bounce via a halfcourt pass from Dillon’s Troy Scott.
The competition included three Montana State-Northern players, referred to as “celebrity” contestants – Nicholas Blount, Will Perry and Gabe Finley – Matt Wyman (Class AA), Zac Allen and Troy Scott (Class A) and Jacob Bakken (Class C).
“Those guys can definitely get up,” said Wyman. “They had some sweet stuff, but I am just happy to be here. It was a good time with all these guys, and all the other guys, from Class C, B and A, they could put down some good dunks, too. So I am just lucky I came out on top.”
Finley, one of the guest dunkers, was impressed with the Bison star.
“(Matt Wyman) is only a junior, still has another year in high school,” said Finley. “He’s going to be amazing next year. I’m looking forward to watching him, too.”
PART OF THIS WEEK was a chance for the players in the lower classes to prove they could compete with the big boys.
And that was proved Saturday night in the boys’ final, when the Class A team defeated the Class AA squad 106-99.
Troy Scott from Dillon, the tournament’s MVP, scored 18 points to his team the victory – a team that was made up of players from Columbia Falls, Laurel, Frenchtown, Browning and Havre.
Scott said it doesn’t matter what Class you’re from – it’s what you do on the court that makes you a great player.
“You can be from wherever, it’s just how hard you work,” said Scott. “ … It’s just about your own work (ethic) and your own determination to be a good ball player.”
The championship game was a hard-fought battle. Neither team was smiling and taking it easy, something you would see in an All-Star game. These teams wanted to win – and part of that was the pride that each Class takes in their basketball.
“You don’t want to come out here to just screw around,” said Scott. “You want to show that we are having fun and we are ready to play some basketball. Just take everything serious and play every play like it’s your last and get a W.”
The Class AA team was led by Bozeman High’s Adam Huse, who scored a team-high 22 points on 4-of-6 3-pointers. Brendan Howard scored 21 points. Lukas Vining, who was named to the tournament’s All-Star team, added 10 and Matt Wyman scored nine.
“We really wanted to get that win,” said Brendan Howard, who received an award for the leading rebounder for the tournament and was named to the All-Star team. “Losing is not one of those things that we like to do.”
Class AA 111, Class C 79
Class C — Clayton Morsette Jr. 16, Kevin Oberweiser 15, Jacob Bakken 12.
Class AA — Brendan Howard 29, Rhett Baerolacher 21, Lukas Vining 19, Matt Wyman 19.
Class C 122, Class B 108
Class B — Wyatt Pannebaker 34, Desmond Parker 23, Zach Handley 19.
Class C — Kevin Oberweiser 26, Randall Gardipee 25, Ty Martin 16.
Class A 106, Class AA 99
Class A — Ty Morgan 18, Troy Scott 18, Bridger Truett 16, Jared Trinastich 16.
Class AA — Adam Huse 22, Brendan Howard 21, Mark Lebsock 17.
MVP — Troy Scott Dillon.
3-point champion — Adam Huse, Bozeman.
Slam dunk — Matt Wyman, Great Falls.
Assists leader — Lukas Vining Great Falls.
Steals leader — Dane Warp, Havre; Adam Huse, Bozeman; Brendan Howard, Great Falls.
Rebounds leader — Brendan Howard, Great Falls.
Mr. Hustle — Ty Morgan, Columbia Falls.
Mr. Defense — Trase Letexier, Jefferson.
All-tournament — Zac Allen, Laurel; Michael Harris, Huntley Project; Adam Huse, Bozeman; Jacob Bakken, Wibaux; Kevin Oberweiser, Drummond; Rhett Baerolacher, Missoula Hellgate; Zach Handley, Malta; Brendan Howard, Great Falls; Jared Trinastich, Columbia Falls; Lukas Vining, Great Falls; Troy Scott, Dillon
JILL BARTA scored a game-high 28 points and pulled down 15 rebounds to lead the Class B girls’ team past the Class C girls, 75-62, to win the Championship.
Whereas the boys’ championship played out with all chalk and the top two classes faced each other, the smaller two classes for the girls advanced all the way to the title game, which speaks to the amount of talent throughout the state, even though this was just an All-Star-type atmosphere and some of the best players in the state did not attend.
“The parity in the state for girls is good,” said Belt head coach Jeff Graham, who served as the Class C girls’ head coach. “A lot of these kids are getting recruited. I think the Frontier basketball (Conference) will be good for the next couple years because of it.
“It’s kind of Class against Class (in this event). Everyone wants to prove they are the best and show they can play.”
Emotions ran high and coaches got into it. That’s nothing new for Graham, though, one of the most spirited coaches in the state.
“Yeah, it was a little heated,” said Graham, who received a team-high 14 from Britt Cooper out of Harrison-Willow Creek. “It was good. Both teams want to win. Wade (Sunby) does a great job with those guys … It’s fun. They know each other. It’s a good rivalry. But when they play, both those teams want to win. There’s a lot at stake for them pride-wise.”
Class C 69, Class AA 44
Class C — Makhayla Farner 12, Britt Cooper 11, Hannah Dean 10, Krissy Paske 10.
Class AA — Katelyn Niebauer 16, Sierra Bignell 13, Markaela Francis 9.
Class A 81, Class AA 61
Class A — Morgan Mazurkiewicz 22, Vanessa Stavish 14, Brandy Lambourne 12.
Class AA — Sierra Bignell 24, Markaela Francis 15, Molly Herron 11.
Class B 75, Class C 62
Class B — Jill Barta 28, Brina Hull 13, Ruby Kallenbach 9.
Class C — Britt Cooper 14, Makhayla Farmer 11, Katelin Smith 11.
MVP — Jill Barta, Fairfield.
3-point champion — Jacy Thompson, Townsend.
Assists leader — Sophia Stiles, Malta.
Steals leader — Katie Fetterer, Belt.
Rebounds leader — Jill Barta, Fairfield.
Miss Hustle — Ruby Kallenbach, Forsyth.
Miss Defense — Katie Fetterer, Belt.
All-tournament — Brina Hull, Colstrip; Sophia Stiles, Malta; Morgan Mazurkiewicz, Havre; Sierra Bignell, Helena Capital; Makhayla Farmer, Chinook; Katie Fetterer, Belt; Vanessa Stavish, Frenchtown; Britt Cooper, Harrison-Willow Creek; Markaela Francis, Great Falls; Jacy Thompson, Townsend; Jill Barta Fairfield.