On the road again

Park High Rangers head to Great Falls for boys’ basketball state tournament
Liz George --
Wednesday, March 6, 2019
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Photo courtesy of Dean Hendrickson

In this photo from February 22, Danner Purkett dives for the ball during a divisional tournament game against the Hardin Bulldogs.

The Park High Rangers head to Great Falls Thursday for the Class A Boy’s Basketball State Tournament.

The boys take on the Hamilton Broncs, who are 19-4 overall, for their first game in the tournament.

After pulling out a 62-51 win against Whitefish in the first round of the Western A Divisional Tournament, the Broncs went on to take down Dillon in the semifinal 52-39.

Hamilton ended up taking second at divisionals after losing to Butte Central 46-37 in the championship game.

The Rangers secured their spot in the state tournament following a blowout 62-34 win against Sidney at the Eastern A Divisional Tournament in Billings. The boys ultimately took third in the divisional tournamnet with a win against Laurel for the second time in the tournament.

Throughout the divisional tournamnet, the Rangers dominated defensively, but it was their offensive strategies that landed them a spot at state.

Against Hardin, the Rangers slowed down play to almost a complete stop, bewildering their normally fast-paced opponent. While the boys ended up losing to the Bulldogs 53-41, their composure on the court propelled them on to two more victories in the tournament, earning them a third place trophy.

Senior Ranger Matt Netley said in the weeks leading up to the state tournament, the team has been preparing the same way they always do: with a state championship in mind.

“We all understand that to be successful, (we have to work hard) in practice. We had to bring the intensity and discipline everyday that matches with our goal of a state championship,” said Netley.

For the first matchup against Hamilton, Netley says the team is feeling good.

“We’re all excited to play, finally. We’ve been preparing for this since we walked off the court in Billings, so we definitely feel good about the matchup,” said Netley. “We just have to go out and execute everything we’ve worked on.”

The tournament runs Thursday-Saturday at the Montana ExpoPark Pacific Steel and Recycling Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls.