Hellgate boys triumph for cross-town split with Big Sky

Hellgate boys triumph for cross-town split with Big Sky

Hellgate’s Tinkle goes off for 25 and 10 in former gym; Baker ices Big Sky girls’ win with pair of free throws


Missoula Hellgate’s forays into the Big Sky gym have a little added spice since Tres Tinkle once (or twice) wore the Eagles’ blue and gold before transferring to the Knights.

“It’s a challenge but it’s fun,” said the junior, who led Hellgate to a 70-61 boys’ basketball win Friday. “I never know what I’m going to get, but it’s a fun atmosphere.”

He gave as good as he got on this night, scoring 25 points and grabbing 10 rebounds as the fourth-ranked Knights improved to 5-2 in Western AA games and 10-4 overall.

The victory salvaged a cross-town split for Hellgate; the girls’ game was decided when Big Sky’s Dani Baker hit two free throws with 3 seconds left. The Eagles won 52-50.

Both games were intense affairs, even after Hellgate’s boys took a 17-point lead early in the fourth quarter. A boisterous crowd watched the Eagles claw back behind a flurry of 3-pointers.

“To be down 17 and come back and bring it to five — that’s a tremendous effort on their part,” Tinkle said. “You know, not to give in and keep fighting. That tells us we can’t let up, we’ve got to keep pressuring and keep playing basketball.”

Hellgate boys 70, Big Sky 61

The Knights took their biggest lead at 54-37 on Tinkle’s old-fashioned three-point play with 5:34 left in the game, but Big Sky – which led once, at 6-5 – wouldn’t give in.

Brad Wakai hit two 3-pointers in the frame, Chris Lange came off the bench and hit a trio of baseline jumpers, and quickly the gap was 63-58, after Stanley Underwood’s hoop-and-harm three-point play with 34 seconds left.

Hellgate answered with two free throws from Devin Bray and another from Brady Henthorn, before Jesson Preston bombed in a final 3-pointer for the Eagles, making it 66-61. The trouble for Big Sky was just 8 seconds were left.

Preston scored 18 points and Wakai hit for 19, with 17 coming after Hellgate took a 27-22 lead into intermission.

“I mean, they hit shot after shot,” Knights’ coach Jeff Hays said. “Lange came in and hit a couple baseline jumpers. It’s contagious. And they don’t quit.

“I felt like we played well, played hard and we had our separation. And we needed it, that’s for sure.”

Rhett Baerlocher added 11 points for Hellgate, including a steal and layup that sparked an 8-0 third-quarter surge. The Knights led 43-29 on Pat Colberg’s basket with 2:07 left in the period.

Colberg added 10 points. Hellgate hit just 1 of 13 3-point shots, but from inside the arc the Knights shot 71 percent (27 of 38).

“When I’m not getting my shots I’m not worried about it,” said Tinkle, who had a breakaway dunk early in the third period. “I have so much trust in my teammates that they’re going to find the open guys, and finish. It’s hard to guard all five guys.”

Big Sky coach Bryan Ferriter said it was an education of sorts.

“My guys played hard, they played their hearts out,” he said after his team fell to 1-5 and 5-9. “We prepared hard this week and we turned every stone over that we thought we needed to, and just learned a lot about a good Hellgate team. We got more information, perhaps, on a game plan to defeat them the next time.”

“Hopefully we can continue to improve and get better,” countered Hays, after his club gave up 29 fourth-quarter points. “We took away a few things they wanted to do, and then Wakai got them going. You’ve got to tip your hat to them.”

Mark Lebsock added nine points and six rebounds for the Knights. Colin Bingham had 11 rebounds to go with six points for Big Sky.

Hellgate 14 13 18 25 – 70

Big Sky 8 14 10 29 – 61

MISSOULA HELLGATE – Tres Tinkle 11-19 3-3 25, Rhett Baerlocher 5-8 1-4 11, Pat Colberg 5-8 0-0 10, Devin Bray 1-5 4-5 6, Brady Henthorn 2-6 2-5 6, Dylan Harvala 1-1 0-0 3, Mark Lebsock 3-4 3-4 9, Hunter Mahlum 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-51 13-21 70.

MISSOULA BIG SKY – Corey Diaz 1-5 1-2 3, Colin Bingham 1-7 4-5 6, Stanley Underwood 2-6 1-1 5, Brad Wakai 6-12 3-4 19, Jesson Preston 7-14 0-0 18, Bennett Chelini 1-1 0-0 2, Seamus Lucostic 0-0 0-0 0, Chris Lange 4-6 0-0 8, Alex Mustard 0-0 0-0 0, Daxton Schatz 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-52 9-12 61.

3-point goals – Hellgate 1-13 (Harvala 1-1, Baerlocher 0-2, Bray 0-2, Henthorn 0-2, Lebsock 0-1, Tinkle 0-4), Big Sky 8-22 (Preston 4-8, Wakai 4-9, Schatz 0-1, Underwood 0-2, Bingham 0-2). Rebounds – Hellgate 32 (Tinkle 10), Big Sky 29 (Bingham 11). Total fouls – Hellgate 15, Big Sky 18. Fouled out – none. Steals – Hellgate 7 (Colberg 3), Big Sky 3 (Wakai 2). Blocks – Hellgate 6 (Colberg 3, Tinkle 2, Baerlocher), Bikg Sky 1 (Preston). Turnovers – Hellgate 4, Big Sky 10.

Big Sky girls 52, Hellgate 50

Hellgate’s girls seemed on the verge of a second league win, after Sidney Riddle scored to put the Knights up 43-36 early in the fourth quarter.

The Eagles (3-3, 7-7) surged back behind a basket and 3-pointer from McKenna Arledge, who came off the bench to scored 10 points.

Arledge’s 3-pointer knotted the game at 45-all; the teams jockeyed from there, with Hellgate leading 47-45 and 49-47 before Maddy Shaide hit a 3-pointer for the Eagles with 46 seconds left.

Big Sky led 50-49, but Hellgate tied it with a Kylie McWilliams free throw with 18 seconds remaining.

With :04 left Big Sky called time out, set up Baker for a 3-pointer – and she was fouled by Henthorn. She made the first two of three free throws. Hellgate got the ball and ran a great play – setting up Henthorn for a drive into the front court.

Henthorn tried to draw contact and a foul, but didn’t get it.

“They’re scrappy; they’re scary,” Big Sky coach Damien Droessler said of the Knights, who played an excellent 2-3 zone. “You don’t win the loose balls against them very often because that’s how they play, and their zone moved really well.”

Arledge – who often squared off with her first cousin from Hellgate, Ellie Arledge – helped bail out the Eagles.

“She did it last week and she did it this week,” Droessler said. “Game on the line, probably not the ideal situation and she steps and shoots it and really believes she’s going to knock it down.

“Maddy, same way — she has ice in her veins.“

Shaide and Baker scored 16 points each for Big Sky, though Baker’s last two were big.

“She’s the one that needed to go to the line,” Shaide, who scored seven points in the final period, said. “She knew, and everybody else knew, that she would make those free throws.”

Lexi Duce scored 13 points for Hellgate (1-6, 4-10), including a 35-footer to end the first half.

Hellgate 14 11 16 9 – 50

Big Sky 17 12 7 16 – 52

MISSOULA HELLGATE – Katie Stahl 3-3 1-2 7, Kara Hogan 2-6 0-1 4, Lexi Duce 4-8 4-4 13, Kylie McWilliams 2-5 2-3 6, Darby Hentohrn 1-6 5-8 8, Clair e Hinther 0-4 2-2 2, Ellie Arledge 1-1 2-2 4, Sidney Riddle 3-5 0-0 6. Totals 16-38 16-22 50.

MISSOULA BIG SKY – Dani Baker 5-13 4-6 16, Sidney Davis 1-2 0-0 2, Anna Gragg 1-2 0-0 2, Kendra Joyce 1-7 1-2 3, Maddy Shaide 7-15 0-0 16, Kenzie Hanson 1-1 1-2 3, McKenna Arledge 4-9 0-0 10, Emily Hooker 0-1 0-0 0, Kendall Mooney 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-50 6-10 52.

3-point goals – Hellgate 2-10 (Henthorn 1-5, Duce 1-2, McWilliams 0-1, Hinther 0-2), Big Sky 6-19 (M.Arledge 2-5, Baker 2-4, Shaide 2-7, Joyce 0-3). Rebounds – Hellgate 29 (Hogan 7), Big Sky 32 (Baker 8). Fouls – Hellgate 14, Big Sky 16. Fouled out – none. Steals – Hellgate 7 (Henthron 2, Hogan 2), Big Sky 7 (M.Arledge 2, Joyce 2). Blocks – Hellgate 6 (Duce 2, McWilliams 2, Stahl, Hogan), Big Sky 2 (Hooker, Baker). Turnovers – Hellgate 13, Big Sky 11.

Reporter Fritz Neighbor can be reached at (406) 523-5247 or at fneighbor@missoulian.com.

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