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State AA girls: Bravettes make title game

by FRITZ NEIGHBOR
Daily Inter Lake | March 11, 2023 9:31 AM

BUTTE — First they dialed up another point guard, and then dialed up a box and one. Eventually, around 10:05 p.m. Friday, the Flathead Bravettes reserved a spot in the State AA title game.

Kennedy Moore’s 20 points and 10 rebounds stick out in Flathead’s 51-43 defeat of the defending state champion Skyview Falcons, in the late semifinal game at Civic Center. But there was so much more that fueled a dominant second half in which the Bravettes outscored Skyview 28-14.

The Bravettes (19-4) earned their first title shot since 2001; they’ll play Billings West, which downed Missoula Hellgate 46-41 in the first semifinal to improve to 20-2. The game is scheduled for 8 p.m.

Flathead 51, Skyview 43

Third-year Flathead coach Sam Tudor had no trouble counting the ways he appreciates his Bravettes.

Maddy Moy scored 14 huge points while sharing the point guard duties with Avery Chouinard; Akilah Kubi had eight big boards and six points.

And senior Tali Miller was the “1” in Flathead’s box-and-one, shadowing Skyview standout Breanna Williams after the senior — with coaches from Washington, Washington State, Cal and Oregon State looking on — scored 20 first-half points.

“We didn’t anticipate having to do that,” Tudor said. “We really thought athletically we could match up with her, man-to-man and zone. And that was not the case, as the first half dictated. “That girl is just an amazing basketball player.”

Despite Williams’ skill Flathead was hanging in. Moy opened the second quarter with a three, and a basket from Moore gave the Bravettes a 19-16 lead.

Then Williams hit her second, third and fourth 3-pointers of the game, and scored again just before halftime to put the Falcons (14-11) up 29-23.

“I need to give her props,” Moy said of Williams, who ended up with 25 points. “She’s one really good player. But we made an adjustment and put Tali on her, and shut her down a little bit. That helped a lot.”

“At halftime they were kind of hanging their heads a little bit,” Tudor said. “I mean, Skyview’s a great team. It was a matter of switching their mindset a little bit and giving them a good plan that they believed in.”

Momentum tipped while Moore scored nine points in the first four minutes of the second half. “She’s always there,” Moy said. In a blink, Flathead was up 34-31.

Kubi’s dish to Miller for a basket put the Bravettes up 40-34 late in the third period, and Miller found Moy on a back cut for a 44-37 lead with 7:00 left in the game.

Skyview closed to 44-41 and 47-43, but Flathead held. Moy delivered a dagger: A pull-up 12-footer with 1:35 left that made it 49-43.

She finished 7 of 13 from the floor, after scoring six points in Thursday’s win over Bozeman.

“This game felt better,” Moy said, smiling. “When we needed it, I guess.”

“You have to give it to Maddy Moy for getting us going, offensively,” Tudor said. “She kept us going. They had that really good defender (Angel Martin) on Avery, so one of the other adjustments was putting Maddy at point guard. Just so many good things happened.”

“It was a good switch-up,” said Moy. “Avery and I kind of got breaks, and I think it worked really well, we stayed fresh.

“I’m so excited. We just have to give it our all tomorrow.”

“We’re still waiting for that one game where all five of them come together and start firing on the same pistons,” Tudor said. “They keep finding ways, and that’s what I’m most proud of. This is an exciting thing for Flathead and the Flathead community. I’ve just really enjoyed this ride.”

Skyview 14 15 —8 6 - 43

Flathead 8 15 17 11 - 51

BILLINGS SKYVIEW — Breanna Williams 9-19 2-2 25, Alexis Brauer 3-14 0-0 8, Kenzie Strachan 1-3 0-0 2, Angel Martin 0-2 0-0 0, Charlize Davis 1-6 0-0 2, Taryn Salveson 0-3 0-0 0, Rae Smart 3-7 0-0 6. Totals 17-54 2-4 43.

FLATHEAD — Maddy Moy 7-13 0-0 14, Akilah Kubi 2-4 2-2 6, Kennedy Moore 8-23 3-4 20, Avery Chouinard 2-4 2-2 7, Tali Miller 1-3 0-1 2, Celie VandenBosch 1-3 0-1 2, Sami Dalager 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-49 7-10 51.

3-point goals — Skyview 7-20 (Williams 5-7, Brauer 2-10, Salveson 0-2, Davis 0-1), Flathead 2-13 (Chouinard 1-2, Moore 1-6, Miller 0-1, VandenBosch 0-1, Moy 0-3). Rebounds — Skyview 29 (Brauer 9), Flathead 28 (Moore 10, Kubi 8). Fouls — Skyview 10, Flathead 5. Blocks — Skyview 0, Flathead 1 (Moore). Steals — Skyview 2 (2 with 1), Flathead 9 (Moy 5). Turnovers — Skyview 12, Flathead 7.

West 46, Hellgate 41

It was a case of Billings West having a big three — 6-foot Kourtney Grossman and 6-4 Sydney Pierce, with 6-3 Brooklyn Pierce off the bench — to Hellgate’s Big Two.

Chloe Larsen had 17 points and 11 rebounds for Hellgate and 6-6 Alex Covill had 14 and eight. It wasn’t enough against the Golden Bears, who took a 20-13 halftime lead into halftime and hung onto it.

Pulling Covill out with one post player and working the ball to the other, West carried a 32-24 lead going to the fourth quarter. The Golden Bears withstood every charge.

Being deadly at the line helped: After the Knights closed 38-37 on two Larsen free throws, West went 8-for-10 from the charity stripe over the final 2:36. Grossman’s 16-point, 12-rebound performance including an 8-for-9 performance at the line.

Sydney Pierce was 5-for-5 on the way to 11 points. Brooklyn Pierce scored seven of her nine points at the line.

And the Bears’ defense was exemplary: Larsen and Covill both shot 5 of 15 from the floor, and Hellgate was 14 of 53 (26 percent) overall. West blocked eight shots.

Hellgate 8 5 11 17 - 41

West 6 14 12 14 - 46

MISSOULA HELLGATE — Chloe Larson 5-15 6-10 17, Alix Mund 1-6 1-2 3, Alex Covill -15 4-4 14, Carmen Anderson 1-3 0-0 2, Maddy Petrino 0-2 0-0 0, Shannon Kane 1-5 0-0 2, Gianna Passuccio 1-3 0-0 3, Elly Reed 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 14-53 11-16 41.

BILLINGS WEST — Maria Ackerman 0-0 0-2 0, Kourtney Grossman 4-12 8-9 16, Sydney Pierce 3-6 5-5 11, Layla Baumann 2-9 1-3 6, Hallie Haber 2-5 0-0 4, Brooklyn Pierce 1-4 7-8 9, Megan Vogal 0-2 0-0 0, Ellie Stock 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 12-40 21-27 46.

3-point goals — Hellgate 2-14 (Larsen 1-5, Passuccio 1-2, Reed 0-1, Covill 0-1 Anderson 0-2, Kane 0-3), West 1-5 (Baumann 1-1, Grossman 0-1, S.Pierce 0-1, Voegele 0-2). Rebounds — Hellgate 29 (Larsen 11, Covill 8), West 35 (Grossman 12). Fouls — Hellgate 19, West 18. Blocks — Hellgate 6 (Covill 5, Mund), West 8 (Grossman 3, Habre 3, Kacerman, S.Pierce). Steals — Hellgate 5 (2 with 2), West 5 (Baumann 3). Turnovers — Hellgate 15, West 17.

Sentinel 59, Gallatin 52

CC Size scored 16 points, leading three Spartans in double figures, and Sentinel was able to hold off the Raptors.

Emily McElmurry added 14 points and six rebounds for Sentinel (11-13), while Olivia Huntsinger had 10 points — including two 3-pointers — and 10 rebounds.

Karsen Breeding scored 16 points and snared nine rebounds, and Jada Davis added 11 points for the Raptors, who shot just 28 percent and ended up 17-7.

Bozeman 32, Big Sky 31

The Hawks’ sixth win of the season came on a single free throw from Avery Burkhart, capping a comeback from a 30-25 deficit in the final minute.

First Bozeman’s Tailyn Black drained a three to cut the gap to 30-28; then, after Big Sky turned the ball over, Burkhart scored and converted a three-point play with 22 seconds remaining.

With 22 seconds left Big Sky’s Avery DeCoite tied the game: She had her shot blocked, rebounded, was fouled but only made the first free throw.

Conversely Burkart missed her first one and then — after a timeout — hit her second.

Black scored 10 points to lead Bozeman (6-18). Burkhart had eight points to go with nine rebounds.

Kaydynce Couture scored 15 points to lead the Eagles, who ended up 11-14. DeCoite had six points, five boards and two steals.