HELENA — Connor Murgel poured in 24 points on Thursday night in The Jungle, helping to propel the Helena High boys basketball team to a 45-43 win over Missoula Big Sky.
Big Sky led 9-7 after the first quarter, and then Helena took a 20-18 cushion into the locker room.
After the break, the Eagles pulled back in front 36-31 heading into the final frame on an 18-11 third quarter by the visitors. But the scrappy Bengals captured the fourth 14-7, for the narrow 2-point win, and their first conference victory.
First-year Helena coach coach Brandon Day's hoopters improve to 3-8 overall and 1-4 in the Western AA. Winless Big Sky stands at 0-11, 0-5.
Murgel went 9 of 17 from the floor, including 4 of 11 from 3-point land. He was also 2 of 2 from the free-throw line.
Next for the Bengals were Dawson Tedesco and Carson Woodland with seven and six points, respectively. Caleb Ferguson pilfered four steals for the hosts.
Helena girls get past Big Sky,
Pickens posts 11th double-double
Spearheaded by Jamie Pickens' 11th double-double in as many games, the No. 3 ranked Helena girls basketball team got past Missoula Big Sky on the road Thursday, 43-37.
Pickens pitched in 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, while also blocking four shots. Teammates Kamden Hilborn and Emily Feller tallied six counters apiece. Helena's defense amassed 16 steals, paced by Hilborn's seven swipes.
"It was ugly," said coach Eric Peterson, whose hoopsters improve to 9-2 overall, and 3-2 in the conference.
The Eagles were led by Sydnee Zanto's nine points.
Capital doubles Hellgate,
three Bruins in double figures
The No. 2 ranked Capital girls basketball team doubled up Missoula Hellgate on the road Thursday, 72-30.
The Bruins put three players in double figures, led by Taylor Sullivan's 15 points, followed by Kacie Gross with 11 points and Megan Lindbo's 10.
"It was a great team win, every girl that played contributed," said coach Bill Pilgeram, whose team improve to 10-1 overall, and 4-1 in the conference. "I was very pleased with our mindset and intensity after a loss (to No. 1 Sentinel on Saturday); I think that says a lot about the quality of our girls."