The Park High boys varsity basketball team faced Frenchtown in their second game of the state tournament on Friday, March 8. This is Park’s first game in the consolation side of the state bracket. Frenchtown found their way to the consolation side after a 65 – 43 beatdown from the Billings Central Rams.
Like the previous matchup against Hamilton, this game was rather odd in the way the Park and Frenchtown don’t play in the regular season and matchups between Frenchtown and Park are rare. The Frenchtown Broncs came into the state tournament with the fourth seed out of the west, while Park came in with the third seed out of the east.
This game, unlike many others at the tournament, started off quick in the right way for the Rangers. Park bolted out to an early lead in the first quarter, scoring points in bunches as they usually do: a thunderstorm from the three point line. The Rangers led 19 – 10 with 3:48 left in the first quarter. They would end up sprinkling on a little more, ending the quarter with a 23 – 14 lead.
Again, an early second quarter run would help Park build their lead. Frenchtown would never really get anything going in the first half. They played sloppy basketball, taking quick deep threes and turning over the ball more than you could count. Park would go into the half with a 32 – 19 lead.
The third quarter would be the only quarter that the Broncs would outscore the Rangers. The Rangers pulled the ball out and spread across the top of the court, letting the clock tick away. The Broncs scored 13 in the quarter while the Rangers only scored 9. Still, the Rangers would end the quarter with a 41 – 32 lead.
The fourth quarter would be the same as the first for the Rangers, with them scoring 23 points in the quarter. The Rangers never let the Broncs come close to even thinking about making it a game. Park would end up sending Frenchtown home with a 64 – 43 win.
Park’s Brendon Johnson, Mcleod Versland and John Waddell all poured in double figure scoring with 27, 12 and 11, respectively. Frenchtown’s Cade Baker was the only Bronc in double figures with 18.
The Park High Rangers will continue on in the consolation bracket against Butte Central at Charlie M. Russell High School on Saturday, March 9 at 10:30 am. The Rangers played The Butte Central Maroons twice during the regular season. In Livingston, the Rangers only lost by one point to the, at the time, undefeated Maroons. In Butte, the Rangers fell 42 – 57.
Park will look to finally turn the tables on the Maroons for a chance at third place in the consolation championship.