Eastern A Divisional Preview

Park’s road to state runs through Billings
By 
Ryan Peerboom — Enterprise Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
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Enterprise photo by Nate Howard

Park’s Sage McMinn (10) corrals the ball while being defended by Laurel’s Danner Purkett (20) in a game earlier this season.

Article Image Alt Text

Enterprise photo by Nate Howard

Park’s Skylar Higgs (30) looks toward the paint while dribbling the ball past a Laurel defender in a game earlier this season.

Park High boys and girls begin their journey to state at MetraPark in Billings at the Eastern A divisional Tournament. Both teams are in action today against opponents from the Northeast A conference.

 

BOYS — SE #3, 13-5, 2-4

• FIRST GAME

3:30 p.m. Wednesday vs. NE No. 2 Havre (11-7, 5-3)

• Breakdown

Park rolls into the tournament with momentum. It finished its regular season with a 60-57 win over Dillon (Beaverhead County) on a buzzer beating 3-pointer from Brendon Johnson. 

The Rangers are one of the most dangerous No. 3 seeds in the entirety of Class A basketball. They’ve faced one of the toughest confrence schedules that included defending state champ Billings Central and Hardin — the team the Rams beat in the title game last season. Hardin rattled off the only undefeated regular season in Class A and enters the Divisional as one of the top teams in the state. 

The Rangers open the tourney with a first-round matchup against Havre, which finished second in the Northeast A conference. 

Park didn’t play Havre in the regular season, but the Blue Ponies did play Park’s confernce foes Laurel and Billings Central early in the season. The Blue Ponies beat Billings Central and lost to Laurel. 

Another common opponent is Fergus. Havre split the season series 1-1 with the Eagles. The Rangers swept Fergus with wins in both of their matchups this season.

With a win, the Rangers would advance to the semis and likely get a third shot at Hardin on Friday afternoon with the winner advancing to state.

A loss puts the Rangers back in action at 10:30 a.m. Friday afternoon.

—————

GIRLS — SE #4, 10-8, 0-6

• FIRST GAME

12:30 p.m. Wednesday vs. NE No. 5 Miles City (Custer County) (0-18, 0-8)

• Breakdown

The Lady Rangers finished the regular season with a 43-40 win over Dillon (Beaverhead County) on Saturday, giving them a positive note to finish on as they head into Billings. 

Park has a winning record on the year, but went winless in a tough conference that features Hardin and and Billings Central, who have three losses between the two of them and split the season series against each other.

The Lady Rangers will look to shake things up from the fourth seed in the Southeast A conference. 

They can get on track and find their rhythm with a favorable opening round matchup against Miles City (Custer County). The matchup with the Cowgirls kicked off the Divisional Tournament at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday.

The Cowgirls finished the season winless and went 0-6 vs. teams the Rangers played this season. 

A win would put the Lady Rangers into the quarterfinals at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, where they would meet  Northeast A’s top-seeded Havre. The Blue Ponies reeled off a perfect record in their conference and dropped just one game this season.

A loss would put the Lady Rangers back in action at 7 p.m. on Thursday and give them a long road to state. They would have to win three games to work their way through the consolation round and finish in the top four. 

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