Monday, April 15, 2024

Valkyries three wins from back-to-back state titles

For the Eagle | March 6, 2024 10:10 AM

Two years ago, the Bigfork Valkyries came into the season having never won a basketball state championship. Now, they enter the Class A state tournament in Butte this weekend as the favorites to win back-to-back state titles.

The 20-1 Valkyries will have their work cut out for them if they intend to march to another title as Bigfork will have to contend with four Eastern A teams that have combined for 71 wins this season.

The Valkyries open the state tournament at 8 p.m. Thursday as they take on a Lockwood Lions team that has gone 15-7 this season, scoring 53 points-per-game while giving up 39.5.

The Lions are led by Dani Jordan, Class A’s leading scorer at 18.3 points-per-game during the regular season - just seven-tenths of a point ahead of Bigfork’s Braeden Gunlock at 17.6 per contest.

Jordan was also fourth in steals (4.3) and assists (3.7).

Bigfork and Lockwood have faced three common opponents this season. Lockwood downed Hamilton 65-40 while Bigfork beat the Broncs 52-31. Both teams scored 69 points against Corvallis, but Bigfork held the Blue Devils to 17 while Lockwood gave up 27.

Finally, the Vals defeated Billings Central 46-41 while Lockwood fell to the Rams three times by a combined 54 points.

The Vals could see a potential second-round matchup against a Miles City team that went 18-3 this season, their only losses coming against Baker and Havre (twice) this season by a combined nine points.

Miles City and Bigfork have faced only two common opponents this season, with Bigfork downing Whitefish twice by 48 and 49 points while Miles City defeated the Bulldogs 57-18. 

Bigfork defeated Billings Central 46-41 while Miles City downed the Rams 56-52.

Possibly waiting for the Vals on the other side of the bracket is three-time defending Class A champion Havre.

The Blue Ponies are 18-3 this season with losses to Hardin, Miles City and Billings Central.

Havre scored 57.6 points-per-game during the regular season, leading the Eastern A squads but also gave up the most points among Eastern A teams at the state tournament at 41.6.

Havre opens against Browning at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. Billings Central faces Frenchtown at noon and Miles City takes on Dillon beginning at 6:30 p.m.