The Shelby Coyotes entered the Northern B Divisional Tournament in their home gym as the fourth seed from District 1B Tournament, but when the last two games were over, the Coyotes had earned themselves a trip to the State Class B Tournament in Belgrade. Shelby will take on Colstrip, the top team from the Southern Division, tonight (Wednesday) at 6 p.m. at the Special Event Center in Belgrade.
For all the first round pairings, see the tourney bracket below.
The Coyotes lost their first game at the divisional tourney but found a way to unite and win three games to earn a berth at the state tournament. The Coyotes lost to Poplar 52-45, and then bounced back to defeat Glasgow, 73-63, in loser-out action on Friday; Wolf Point, 59-51, in Saturday morning’s loser-out round; and Choteau, 56-50, in the tourney’s consolation game.
Shelby opened their first game at the divisional tourney with shooting that was ice cold, leaving the team struggling to score. They spotted Poplar an eight-point lead ending the first quarter trailing 13-5. The Coyotes found the basket in the second quarter, and pulled the game within two points only to see Poplar pull ahead at the half, 28-21.
Shelby came out in the third and fought to within one point but then trailed 40-35 at the end of the third quarter. The Coyotes battled in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 41, but the Indians made some big shots and forced the Coyotes to foul. Poplar went on to claim the win, 45-42.
Shelby was led in scoring by Tanner Parsons with 15 points, followed by Logan Leck with 13. Rhett Reynolds chipped in eight. Leck led the team with nine rebounds and Ryan VanTine grabbed seven. Damon Irvin had four of the team’s seven assists.
In Friday’s loser-out game, the Coyotes again started slow and trailed the Scotties 16-11 at the end of the first quarter. Shelby closed the gap in the second quarter, trailing by two, 29-31.
In the third quarter the Coyotes’ offense poured in 20 points, but gave up 24 to trail 55-49 going into the final quarter of play. Shelby kept the offense rolling in the fourth quarter, scoring 24 points. The defense stepped up and caused havoc with the Scotties, holding them to eight points, propelling the Coyotes to a much-needed 73-63 victory.
Shelby was led in scoring by Parsons, with a game high 25 points. Leck added 18 points and Reynolds finished with 14. Reynolds led the team with 14 rebounds. Tucker Tustian and Parsons led the team with four assists each.
Friday’s win matched the Coyotes against the Wolves of Wolf Point Saturday morning. The Coyotes started off strong offensively and led 11-9. The Coyotes saw their lead slip away, and they trailed 29-24 at halftime.
The third quarter was a pretty evenly fought battle, but the Wolves increased their lead by two, taking a 44-37 lead into the final period.
Shelby dug deep, and their defense took over, holding Wolf Point to seven points, and scoring 22 of their own to claim the dramatic come-from-behind victory, 59-51.
Reynolds led the Coyotes with his second “double double” of the tournament with a game high 21 points and 14 rebounds. Parsons added 14 points, and Leck contributed nine points and a team-high seven assists.
The win earned the Coyotes the right to battle the Choteau Bulldogs for a trip to the State tournament. Choteau had won the last two meetings with the Coyotes, so the young Coyotes were looking for revenge.
Shelby jumped out to a 21-11 first quarter advantage. Choteau fought back in the second quarter closing Shelby’s lead to four points, with the Coyotes taking a slim 33-29 lead to the locker room at the half.
The stingy Coyote defense stepped up in the third quarter, holding the Bulldogs to just six points, while their offense scored 11 points, giving the Coyotes a nine-point lead, 44-35, entering the fourth quarter.
Choteau fought back but couldn’t overtake the Coyotes, who punched their ticket to State with a 56-50 victory.
Leck had a big night with 15 points, eight rebounds, and 4 assists. Reynolds narrowly missed his third “double double” with 14 points and nine rebounds. Parsons added 10 points for the Coyotes.