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Tinkle powers Knights to state title

By Vince Bagby, Sports Director, vbagby@keci.com
Published On: Mar 11 2013 02:52:32 PM MDT
Updated On: Mar 11 2013 10:49:51 PM MDT
Hellgate boys wins state championship
MISSOULA, Mont. -

MISSOULA HELLGATE 58, HELENA CAPITAL 53 - OVERTIME

There wasn't much question who would handle the ball in the final ten seconds of regulation when Hellgate found themselves down two points; championship basketball runs through the veins of the Tinkle family.

Sophomore Tres Tinkle somehow converted his shot while falling to the floor in the final moments of the second half to knot the game up 51-51 and sent it into overtime.  Those were perhaps the two biggest tallies out of Tinkle's 26 point performance Saturday night in Great Falls.  The Knights went on to outscore the Bruins 7-2 in the extra frame to secure the 58-53 victory, marking the first state championship for the Knights since 2005.

Capital's Kyle Nichol nearly earned his Bruins their first title in 30 years when he sank an open three with ten seconds left in regulation.  But Tinkle had other plans.  After Hellgate burned their final timeout, the sophomore drove the length of the court as time wound down and banked in the shot moments before the final buzzer.

Tinkle promptly connected beyond the arc to start the extra period and give his Knights the 54-51 lead.  The rest is history.

MISSOULA SENTINEL 49, HELENA CAPITAL 40

Following the Bruin boys' defeat, the Capital girls also found themselves faced with an immovable object.  The Sentinel Spartans outscored Capital 18-8 in the second quarter en route to the 49-40 win over their Western Conference rival.

Spartan senior Liz Harper tallied 19 points and 5 rebounds to lead Sentinel.  Junior Olivia Roberts chipped in 15 points and five boards in the victory.

Only four different Spartans cracked the score column in the win.  Junior Maddie Keast posted 11 points while senior Amanda Bearmedicine added four points.  The the fifth Spartan starter Lexi Steele went 0-1 from the floor but she did record a game-high six assists.

The championship was Sentinel's second in a row and capped a 22-1 season for the Lady Spartans.

STEVENSVILLE 73, BILLINGS CENTRAL 59

Over in Billings the Stevensville boys had the tough task of trying to best hometown favorite Billings Central; Strong performances by Zach Gavlak, Jesse Sims and Jared Schultz were just the trick for the Yellowjackets.

Stevensville outscored Central 41-28 in the second half en route to their first ever state championship.

Gavlak posted a game-high 21 points.  The sophomore post Sims added a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds.  Junior point guard Jared Schultz ran the show for Stevi and finished with 17 points, four assists and a pair of steals.