December, the month of many holiday events, including what has become a very popular one, the Coyote Classic Basketball Tournament. The tournament is generously sponsored by the Shelby TBID (Tourism Business Improvement District) and the number of teams participating has grown each year. This year’s tourney features boys and girls, JV and varsity teams from Shelby, Bigfork, Malta, Wolf Point, Cut Bank, Loyola, Shepherd, Belt, Florence and Chinook. 

“As always, I am excited for us to be hosting the Coyote Classic,” said Shelby Schools superintendent Elliott Crump. “It is a great tournament with a lot of great teams. The tournament has been so popular we received requests from teams interested in joining the tournament. As such, this year we expanded the tournament so it will start on Thursday to accommodate two additional schools, Wolf Point and Chinook.”

Action gets underway in both the SHS and elementary school gyms Thursday evening, with Bigfork varsity boys meeting the Mustangs of Malta at 6 p.m. in the high school gym. JV action kicks off at 5:45 p.m. in the SES gym with the Lady Coyotes competing against the Lady Mustangs of Malta. There will be two games in each gym Thursday evening. The varsity ladies of Bigfork will try to come out on top of the Lady Mustangs at 7:30 p.m. and the JV Coyote boys will battle the Mustangs at the same time in the SES gym.

The excitement continues Friday morning, starting at 8:30 a.m. in both gyms, with JV Wolf Point boys battling it out with the Cut Bank Wolves in the high school and the JV ladies of Wolf Point meeting up with the Lady Wolves in the elementary gym. (See a complete schedule of games on page 6 of this week’s issue.)

 “The Wolf Point girls won the Class B State Championship last year, so we are really excited to include them in this year’s Coyote Classic,” said Crump. “They beat Florence-Carlton, a team that is also at the Classic. On the boys’ side, Bigfork beat Missoula Loyola in the boys’ State Championship game and both of those teams will also be in Shelby for the Coyote Classic.”

The tournament will continue all day Saturday, starting at 9 a.m. and wrapping up Saturday evening with the final games starting at 7:30 p.m. 

“Needless to say, we have some of the top teams in the state coming to Shelby for the Coyote Classic,” concluded Crump. “So, if you want to see some great basketball to start the high school season, the Coyote Classic has some of the best teams playing in the best venue.”

Tickets will be sold at the door with admission being good for the entire day and both gyms. Merry Christmas to all, come enjoy some basketball!

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