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Valkyries begin tournament play against Corvallis Thursday

For the Eagle | February 21, 2024 9:05 AM

The stage is set and the brackets are ready as the Valkyries are prepared to begin the playoffs in search of their second-straight state basketball title.

Postseason action gets underway for the Vals at the Butte Civic Center Thursday as Bigfork, the top seed from the northwest at 17-1, takes on the four seed from the Southwest Corvallis Blue Devils Thursday at 8 p.m.

The 5-13 Blue Devils come into the tournament having lost six of their last 10 games and should provide little resistance against the Vals, but a projected second-round matchup against the Dillon Beavers could prove challenging.

Dillon comes into the tournament boasting a 15-3 record, with two of those losses coming in the first four games of the season.

Led by Kenlieigh Graham, the fifth-highest scorer among Class A girls at 15.9 points-per-game, the Beavers has won 13 of their last 14 games - including a 10-point win over Southwest A champion Frenchtown Jan. 6.

The Beavers enter the tournament averaging 61 points-per-game this season while giving up only 32.7.

A win in the semifinals could result in a rematch against Frenchtown in the championship game with the Lady Broncs being the only team to defeat Bigfork in the past two seasons.

Led by Mason Quinn and Madison Kaufman, the number four and eight scorers among Class A girls this season at 16.2 and 14.6 points-per-game respectively, the Lady Broncs enter the tournament with the same record as Bigfork at 17-1.

Frenchtown’s lone loss of the season came on the Lady Broncs’ home floor Jan. 6 as they fell to Dillon, 52-42.

Quinn is also second in Class A in total rebounds at 101.

The Lady Broncs enter the tournament averaging 55.9 points-per-game while giving up 29.4.

Bigfork enters the tournament 17-1, winners of their past 17 games and averaging 59 points-per-game while giving up just 26 per contest.

The Vals are led by junior Braeden Gunlock, who is second among Class A scorers at 17.6 points-per-game and leads Class A in total rebounds (107) and is second in total steals (85). 

Paeten Gunlock leads Class A in both total steals (91) and assists (103).