2010 State A Boys Basketball

Pirates fall to Laurel in title game

Locomotives pull away in 4th quarter, beat Polson 60-48 for Class A title

By DIXIE KNUTSON The Daily Inter Lake

BUTTE — The Laurel Locomotives just had one more run in them than the Polson Pirates did on Saturday night.

Tim Rausch at State versus LaurelLaurel took a two-point lead into the fourth quarter and then clamped down defensively to defeat the Pirates 60-48 and claim its first Class A boys state basketball championship since 1972.

Both teams were neophytes to the title game — Laurel was last in the championship in 1991 (it lost to Whitefish) and Polson’s last appearance was its 1998 victory over Billings Central.

“In the fourth quarter, they stepped up their defense and we had a tough time scoring. That was the bottom line,” said first-year Polson coach Brad Pluff.

“We couldn’t get anything to go in the hole,” he said.

“They’re a good team and we had to play our best game.

“They played well. That’s a good team over there and we didn’t have our best effort. There were times we had lapses in executing our offense a little bit. You can’t do that against a good team. You’ve got to have your best game. We had some breakdowns and it cost us,” he said.

“But I’m not going to take anything away from them.

The Pirates came out hot and took an 8-3 lead in the opening moments.

But Laurel answered with a 7-3 run at the end of the first period and went ahead 15-14.

Kyle Bagnell - State Championship GamePolson’s Tim Rausch took the lead right back for the Pirates with an old-fashioned three-point play to open the second quarter. Tyler Krell followed that with a layup to put the Pirates up four.

But Laurel’s next run was huge — 14-1. The next time the Pirates looked up, they trailed by nine.

“We talked a lot in the locker room at halftime that we had a lot of one-on-one stuff going and we’re a lot better team when we play as a team,” Pluff said.

The Pirates listened and their third quarter was fabulous — they outscored the Locomotives 11-2 to start the period and got themselves right back in the game.

“I’m proud of the kids. They’re never going to quit playing,” the coach said.

“I knew we would make a run at them and I didn’t know if we would have what it took to sustain that,” Pluff said.

“We made a run and Laurel, like a good team will do, withstood the run and then made a run of their own and we weren’t able to answer that. That was the story of the game,” Pluff said.

Louis Mohr led the Pirates with 13 points and seven rebounds. Kyle Bagnell and Vince DiGiallonardo added 11 points each for Polson.

But the future is bright for Pirate basketball.

“We’ve got a lot of kids coming back. Obviously, we’re going to miss Tim (Rausch) and Derrick (Rathe) and the leadership they provided. But our freshman team was very good this year. Things are looking up for Pirate basketball.”

Laurel     15     19     9     17 —60

Polson     14     11     16     7 — 48

Laurel — Jake Miller 2 0-2 4, Quinn McGrath 1 1-2 3, Jake McKinney 7 5-9 20, David Swecker 4 1-2 13, Sean Condon 3 7-9 13, Brian Flotkoetter 2 0-0 4, Derek Budge 1 0-0 3. Totals 20 14-24 60.

Polson — Vince DiGiallonardo 4 0-0 11, Kyle Bagnell 4 2-2 11, Tim Rausch 2 3-7 7, Louis Mohr 5 0-1 13, Tyler Krell 1 1-2 3, Derrick Rathe 1 0-0 3. Totals 17 6-12 48.

3-point goals: Laurel 6 (Swecker 4, McKinney 1, Budge 1), Polson 8 (DiGiallonardo 3, Bagnell 1, Mohr 3, Rathe 1). Total fouls: Laurel 15, Polson 21. Fouled out: DiGiallonardo. Turnovers: Laurel 15, Polson 21. Rebounds: Laurel 36 (McKinney 8), Polson 27 (Mohr 7), Assists: Laurel 10 (Miller 4), Polson 9 (Rausch 4), Blocks: Laurel 1 (McKinney), Polson 3 (Bagnell 2), Steals: Laurel 11 (McKinney 6), Polson 3 (Rausch 2).

Pirates sail into state final

Polson sinks Butte Central in OT of semis

By DIXIE KNUTSON The Daily Inter Lake

BUTTE — The Polson Pirates are going to play for a state basketball championship.

Krell and Rausch at State A SemifinalsPolson junior Louis Mohr scored seven of his team-leading 20 points in overtime as the Pirates outlasted Butte Central 56-50 Friday in the first semifinal of the Class A state basketball tournament.

They’ll take on the Laurel Locomotives at 8 tonight for the state championship. Laurel defeated Browning in the other semifinal, 72-54

“I’m floating on cloud nine right now,” said first-year Pirate coach Brad Pluff.

“I’m so proud of those kids. They’ll never quit. They haven’t done it all year and it paid off tonight. They played their butts off for me,” he said.

There was a brief period at the end of regulation when things did not look optimistic for the Pirates.

Polson outrebounded Butte Central and had a better shooting percentage in the first half.

The Pirates held a slight lead most of the game — 20-12 was their largest advantage.

But Butte Central got to the free throw line and made those shots. That kept the Maroons close.

With 25 seconds to go, Polson led 45-43, but Pirate big men Derrick Rathe and Tyler Krell had fouled out and guard Vince DiGiallonardo had just picked up his fourth foul.

Butte Central’s Zach Kasperick tied the game with a pair of free throws with 23 seconds remaining.

“Regulation, we had a chance to win the thing. We don’t. They have all the momentum and we lose our two big guys. We still dig down and find a way to win,” Pluff smiled.

“Going to overtime without our big guys, we’re in foul trouble …. they’re way bigger than we are and we still held our own on the boards. They never quit,” Pluff said of the Pirates.

“That’s been our motto all year,” he said.

Mohr took over in the overtime.

He scored 22 seconds in to put the Pirates on top right away, added an old-fashioned 3-point play with 1:35 to go that put Polson up 52-48, and put the first nails in the coffin with a midrange jumper with 25 seconds left.

Not bad for a kid who missed the first 13 games of the season.

“It’s like midseason for him right now,” Pluff said of the 6-foot-3 junior.

While everybody else is wearing down after the long season, Mohr is just getting in stride.

“Maybe kind of a blessing in disguise,” Pluff said.

“He’s a clutch shot,” Pluff said of Mohr.

“He wants the shot. Not every kid wants that shot. He does. He doesn’t miss them. He’s been clutch all weekend long and he’s fun to watch once he gets rolling,” the coach said.

“We’ve come to expect it of him.”

“I just did whatever I could to step up,” Mohr said.

“We played as a team,” Mohr said. “We all gave trust in each other and we believed in ourselves.

“We came from nothing. We’re underdogs. But we’ve said all year we can play with anyone and we can,” he said.

Polson not only played with the Maroons, it outdid them in several statistical categories.

The Pirates outrebounded Butte Central 43-35 and had more assists and more steals.

Kyle Bagnell added 10 points and seven rebounds and Tim Rausch added six points, eight rebounds and four assists to the effort.

Polson     11     9     15     10     11     56

Butte Central     10     8     15     12     5     50

Polson (14-9) — Vince DiGiallonardo 3 0-0 7, Kyle Bagnell 4 0-1 10, Tim Rausch 0 6-6 6, Louis Mohr 8 4-4 20, Tyler Krell 3 1-2 7, Sheldon Fisher 1 0-0 2, Derrick Rathe 1 0-0 3. Totals 20 11-13 56.

Butte Central (15-7) — Andy Ritter 3 3-3 11, Aschan Richards 0 2-2 2, Sean Ferriter 0 2-2 2, Jonathan Richards 8 7-7 25, Phil Antonioli 1 1-3 3, Zach Kasperick 2 3-7 7. Totals 14 18-26 50.

3-point goals: Polson 5 (DiGiallonardo 1, Bagnell 2, Fisher 1, Rathe 1), Butte Central 4 (Ritter 2, Richards 2), Total fouls: Polson 23, Butte Central 16. Fouled out: Krell, Rathe, Ferriter. Rebounds: Polson 43 (Mohr 11, Rausch 8), Butte Central 35 (Richards 9), Assists: Polson 7 (Rausch 4), Butte Central 4 (no leader), Turnovers: Polson 17, Butte Central 17. Blocks: Polson 1 (Krell), Butte Central 3 (Richards 2), Steals: Polson 6 (Bagnell 2), Butte Central 6 (Ritter 3).

Polson rallies by Billings Central

BUTTE — Polson overcame a 13-point first-half deficit to drop Billings Central 65-53 in quarterfinal play at the Class A state boys basketball tournament on Thursday at the Butte Civic Center.

Polson (13-9) trailed Billings Central 25-13, but outscored the Rams (12-9) 41-22 in the second half.

Polson’s Kyle Bagnell hit two free throws to tie it at 42-all as the third quarter winded down, and Louis Mohr followed with a field goal from the free throw line to give Polson its first lead at 44-42. Central, however, scored before time ran out to tie it back up at 44-44.

Kevin O’Brien opened the fourth period with a trey, giving Billings Central a lead, 47-44. The Rams used two free throws to maintain a three-point edge, 49-46, before Polson roared back.

Tim Rausch hit a field goal to get the Pirates within one, and Mohr followed with another basket to put Polson on top for good, 50-49.

A Vince DiGiallonardo trey and a Bagnell drive in the paint gave Polson a 58-49 lead with 3:20 to play.

Mohr had a big game, hitting 7 of 10 field goals and going 4-for-4 at the free throw line for 19 points.

All five Polson starters finished in double figures. Rausch had 13 points, Bagnell 12, Tyler Krell 11 and DiGiallonardo 10.

Connor Cunningham had 16 points for Billings Central and Connor Novakovich 15.

Polson, the Northwestern A divisional runner-up, advances to semifinal play tonight, 6:30, against No. 5-ranked Butte Central (15-6).

Billings Central, the Eastern A divisional champ, falls into loser-out action today at 12:30 p.m. versus Corvallis (14-7).

Polson     12     12     20     21     –     65

Central     18 1    3     13     9     –     53

POLSON (13-9) – Vince DiGiallonardo 4-10 0-0 10, Kyle Bagnell 5-11 2-4 12, Tim Rausch 5-8 2-4 13, Louis Mohr 7-10 4-4 19, Tyler Krell 5-6 1-3 11, Zach Camel 0-1 0-0 0, Sheldon Fisher 0-0 0-0 0, Cody Fisher 0-0 0-0 0, Will Davey 0-0 0-0 0, Derrick Rathe 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 2-46 9-15 65.

BILLINGS CENTRAL (12-9) – Kevin O’Brien 1-3 3-4 6, Connor Cunningham 6-12 4-5 16, Cole Cattelan 4-15 1-2 10, Jacob Stanton 1-3 0-0 2, Connor Novakovich 4-9 7-8 15, Nick Anthony 0-0 0-0 0, John Heger 0-2 0-0 0, Lucas Blehm 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 18-47 15-19 53.

3-point goals – Polson 4-13 (Digiallonardo 2-6, Bagnell 0-3, Rausch 1-1, Mohr 1-3), BC 2-14 (O’Brien 1-3, Cunningham 0-1, Cattelan 1-5, Stanton 0-1, Novakovich 0-1, Heger 0-2, Blehm 0-1). Rebounds – Polson 24 (Rausch 8), BC 30 (Cunningham 7, Cattelan 7). Assists – Polson 12 (Mohr 6), BC 8 (Cattelan 3). Steals – Polson 9 (Bagnell 3), BC 3 (O’Brien, Cattelan, Novakovich). Blocks – Polson 6 (Krell 3, Bagnell, Rausch, Rathe), BC 3 (Stanton 3). Turnovers – Polson 14, BC 19. Fouls – Polson 15, BC 17. Fouled out – Krell. Technicals – none.