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Valkyries win third consecutive divisional title

by JEREMY WEBER
For the Eagle | March 1, 2024 12:00 AM

The classification for the Valkyries may be different this season but the result is the same.

The final was a bit closer than last year’s final, but Bigfork overcame Frenchtown at the Western A Divisional champsionship 41-29 at the Butte Civic Center.

Braeden Gunlock scored 17 points and Bigfork opened the second half with a 10-0 run while Ava Davey added 11 points for the Vals (20-1), who avenged their only loss of the past two seasons, a 40-37 setback in Frenchtown in December.

The Vals were experiencing deja vu in the opening quarter, as Gunlock and Davey picked up two fouls each, exactly as they had against Frenchtown in their first matchup this season.

As both teams struggled to find the basket, Bigfork was able to take a slim 17-14 in the locker room at halftime.

An offensive rebound and putback by Davey made it 19-14 early in the third quarter before Gunlock’s 15-footer made it 22-1. 

Gunlock later converted an offensive rebound into a three-point play and a 27-14 as the Vals took control.

The Vals got strong play from Callie Gembala and Afton Lambrecht on the post against a tall, physical Frenchtown frontcourt, combining for 15 rebounds in the win.

The Vals got 17 points and six steals from Davey along with 12 points and nine rebounds from Gunlock against Corvallis is their opening game of the tournament Thursday as Bigfork crushed the Blue Devils, 69-17.

It was all Bigfork from the tip as the Valkyries scored the game’s first 16 points en route to a 46-6 halftime lead.

Keni Wade added 10 points in the win and Paeten Gunlock finished with nine points and seven steals.

Paeten Gunlock torched the Beavers for 23 points on four of six shooting from three-point territory in the semifinals Friday as Bigfork downed Dillon 61-36.

Braeden Gunlock added 11 points and 13 rebounds and Gemala finished with 10 points as the Vals jumped out to a 16-4 lead after one quarter and never looked back.

The Vals, Frenchtown, Dillon and Browning will represent Western A at next weekend’s state tournament, once again at the Butte Civic Center, where they will meet up with Havre, Miles City, Billings Central and Lockwood from the East.

The Vals open the tournament against Lockwood at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 7.

    The Bigfork girls basketball team at the Western A tournament in Butte. (Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle)
 
 
    The Bigfork girls basketball team at the Western A tournament in Butte. (Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle)
 
 
    The Bigfork girls basketball team at the Western A tournament in Butte. (Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle)
 
 


The Bigfork girls basketball team at the Western A tournament in Butte. (Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle)
The Bigfork girls basketball team at the Western A tournament in Butte. (Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle)
The Bigfork girls basketball team at the Western A tournament in Butte. (Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle)
The Bigfork girls basketball team at the Western A tournament in Butte. (Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle)