Capital High’s Bears’ Den should be roaring Friday night, as the Lady Bruins host Missoula Hellgate in a Western Conference girls basketball playoff game.
The winner advances to the State AA Tournament in Great Falls next week, while the loser stays home. Tipoff is slated for 6 p.m.
Third-seeded Capital sports an overall record of 13-7, and was 7-5 in league play. CHS is outscoring opponents by an average of 50-43. Meanwhile, No. 6 Hellgate (9-13, 5-8), which beat Big Sky on Tuesday in order to meet the Lady Bruins, is being outscored 41-38.
The brown-and-gold swept both regular-season games against the Knights, 64-25 and 45-33.
“We’re focused on doing the little things that win games,” said CHS coach Bill Pilgeram, when asked his team’s goals for Hellgate. “It’s very easy to get outcome-focused and forget that we just need to win each play and let everything else take care of itself. We practice the whole year so that these little things become instinct.”
Junior Taylor Sullivan leads the Lady Bruins in at least four categories. The 6-foot-2 post is scoring 11.4 points per game, averages 7.0 rebounds, has made 77 free throws, and set a new school record with 45 blocked shots.
Also at the forefront of the Capital attack is 5-8 sophomore guard Sydney Sheridan, scoring at 7.4 points per game, along with Megan Lindbo (7.0), Kacie Gross (5.4) and Katie Culver (4.5 points, 5.2 rebounds per game).
Sheridan is the assists leader with an average of 3.2 dishes per game, and is the team leader with 43 steals. Senior guard Shelby VanHemelryck is tops with 23 bombs from 3-point land, while averaging 4.6 points per game.
Hellgate is led by Sydney Riddle at 8.8 points per game, and Maddie Hamilton with 6.7. The Knights' Kacie Paffhausen averages 5.0 boards a contest.
“We want to play hard and play together, and need to have the confidence that good things will happen,” Pilgeram said.