Townsend district champions

The Townsend Bulldogs, winners of the program's first district crown since 1959, will take a 16-4 record into Thursday's Southern B tourney in Billings.

Photo provided by Wendy Graveley

Nine days ago, during the hectic crosstown basketball rematches between Helena High and Capital, the Townsend boys hoopsters took part in a battle of their own at the District 5B Tournament in Belgrade.

After a first-round bye, the No. 2-seeded Bulldogs bested Three Forks 63-42 in the semifinals on Friday, while the Lady Bengals entertained CHS in The Jungle.

Then in the district chipper on Saturday, as the HHS boys took on the visiting Bruins locally, Broadwater outlasted Whitehall down in Belgrade 57-55 in overtime for the 5B championship.

It was the Broadwater boys first district title since 1959.

“We played intense defense as they did and we were all knotted up at halftime 27-27,” wrote second-year Townsend coach Clint Watson in a recent email. “We knew we were in for a battle the second half and were actually down at the end of three quarters, 43-35.

“We rallied in the fourth with several presses and outscored the Trojans 14-6. We saw great post play from Easton Hatfield as he got all but two of his 14 points in the second half.”

Regulation play wound up deadlocked at 49s, and the contest went into OT.

“Neither team would let up and the fans were so intense on both sides, it truly was electric in the gymnasium as Jayden Gravely made a free throw and Teigen Snyder, Brett Williams and Tyson Racht also scored,” Watson continued. “With three seconds left, Racht made an off-balance shot to put us ahead by two.”

Then Whitehall got the ball out on the side around half court.

On the Trojans’ inbounds, Braden Larsen let go a long bomb from mid-court right before the buzzer that “missed the mark,” and Townsend had its first district crown in 58 years.

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“This was our finest performance so far this year,” the Broadwater skipper wrote, as his hoopsters shot 54 percent (23 for 42) from the floor. “The fans rushed the floor and there was much celebration and picture-taking.”

Payden Anderson led the Bulldogs in scoring for the two games in the tourney, with 37 combined points, while Hatfield was the top rebounder at 15 total boards.

Townsend will take a 16-4 overall record into this week’s Southern B Division Tournament in Billings.

The ‘Dawgs boast two players scoring in double figures on the season, with Anderson averaging 12.2 points per game, and Hatfield at 10.0. Next are Tiegen Snyder and Scott DeMars, with 8.9 and 8.6 ppg, respectively.

Hatfield averages 7.7 rebounds, while Snyder collects 5.9 boards a game. The blue-and-white’s assist leaders are Graveley and Racht, both averaging 2.9 passes per game.

Townsend will face the 3B’s No. 3 Lodge Grass to open divisionals on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in Rimrock Arena MetraPark.

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