Red Devils make it to state
By Eric Killelea
Ranger-Review Staff Writer
Dawson County High School senior Jaley Wyse takes a deep breath over the phone, before recalling how her basketball team outplayed Billings Central in Saturday’s Eastern A consolation semi-final. Her voice rises when she paints a picture of students sporting red, white and black, shouting, “We’re off to State! We’re off to State!” in the last minute of the fourth quarter at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark.
She hears the buzzer going off, and sees the final score: Glendive 57, Billings Central 43. Coaches and players run off the bench and onto the court and hug one another, emotions running high.
She takes another breath.
“I couldn’t believe it. That was awesome,” she said.
It was their fifth game of the divisional tournament when the Lady Red Devils jumped out to a four-point lead by the half and then outscored their opponent in the third and fourth quarters, 29-21. Kendra Kaufman and Savannah Toms both scored 15 points. Karsen Murphy made 10, Thea Robson put up 9, and Bailey Pearcy and Wyse added 4 each.
With the win, DCHS becomes one of eight teams headed to the Class A State Championship tournament. This is the first time the DCHS girls basketball team has qualified for state since the 2008-09 season, and the first time coach Kayla Rivas will take a team there.
For Wyse, one of two seniors on the team, playing at state is the perfect beginning of the end to an impressive high school basketball career.
“It’s cool knowing you’re part of something that hasn’t happened in a long time and that people are proud of you. And it’s cool to be part of great group of girls,” she said. “I really couldn’t have asked for anything better for my senior year.”
Rivas is proud of the team’s effort. “They had a goal and work to be done. So, they buckled down, kept their focus, took it one day at a time and by Saturday afternoon they were able to celebrate the results,” she said.
Later that day, Glendive lost their sixth game to Belgrade, 32-44. According to Rivas, no other team has ever played this many games at a post season tournament.
DCHS played tired and fell behind at the half, 11-21. The team had a burst of energy and kept up in the third quarter, 10-13, and then in the fourth, 11-10, but the game was already lost. Murphy finished with 12 points for the Lady Red Devils. But Gabby Weber had a solid performance scoring 15 for the Panthers to secure the win.
Glendive, now 10-14, is scheduled to play Butte Central Catholic at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 8, in the opening round of the state tournament at the Montana ExpoPark Pacific Steel and Recycling Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls.
Wyse and her teammates are preparing for the upcoming game. “I try to be an encouraging person, keep people level-headed and know what our final goal is: to do well at state and bring home a trophy,” she said.
DCHS 57, Billings Central 43
DCHS 16 12 13 16 — 57
Billings Central 12 10 8 13 — 43
DCHS: Bailey Pearcy 4, Kendra Kaufman 15, Thea Robson 9, Jaley Wyse 4, Karsen Murphy 10, Savannah Toms 15.
Belgrade: Tess Hansen 2, Chloe Paharik 6, Zoie Althoff 9, Isabelle Erickson 10, Olivia Moten-Schell 4, Melissa Hanser 3, Avery Hadley 9.
Belgrade 44, DCHS 32
DCHS 10 1 10 11 — 32
Belgrade 14 7 13 10 — 44
DCHS: Bailey Pearcy 3, Kendra Kaufman 6, Jaley Wyse 2, Karsen Murphy 12, Savannah Toms 9.
Belgrade: Alexa Deming 2, Kiah Hohenstein 6, Ashley Sendon 2, Gabby Weber 15, Bailey Christensen 10, Meaghan McGinley 3, Hannah Gee 4, McKenna Carlson 2.