Wildcats open basketball season with two wins

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  • Tucker Salmonsen steals to ball from Stillwater Christianís Elijah Chang during the second quarter of the Wildcatsí 29-22 victory Saturday. (Jeremy Weber photo)

  • 1

    Dillon Wanner goes up for a shot over Stillwater Christianís Jeremiah Hooker (22) and Connor Drish (40). Wanner finished with three points in the Columbia Falls victory. (Jeremy Weber photo)

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    Wildcat Jacob Beich (34) fights for a rebound against Stillwater Christianís Freeman Clem. (Jeremy Weber photo)

  • 3

    Tucker Salmonsen puts up a runner against the Stillwater Christian defense Saturday. Salmonsen scored four points in the Wildcat win. (Jeremy Weber photo)

  • Tucker Salmonsen steals to ball from Stillwater Christianís Elijah Chang during the second quarter of the Wildcatsí 29-22 victory Saturday. (Jeremy Weber photo)

  • 1

    Dillon Wanner goes up for a shot over Stillwater Christianís Jeremiah Hooker (22) and Connor Drish (40). Wanner finished with three points in the Columbia Falls victory. (Jeremy Weber photo)

  • 2

    Wildcat Jacob Beich (34) fights for a rebound against Stillwater Christianís Freeman Clem. (Jeremy Weber photo)

  • 3

    Tucker Salmonsen puts up a runner against the Stillwater Christian defense Saturday. Salmonsen scored four points in the Wildcat win. (Jeremy Weber photo)

The Wildcats opened basketball season with a pair of road wins Saturday as the Columbia Falls junior varsity defeated Stillwater Christian Schoolís varsity squad, 29-22, while the froshmore team defeated the Cougar junior varsity, 44-6.

Led by Logan Bechtelís 11 points, the Wildcats JV rallied from two down at the end of the third quarter to earn a seven-point win over the defending Montana Christian Athletic Association state champs.

The Wildcats jumped out at a 9-2 lead after one quarter of play as Jack Price, Dillon Wanner, Zack Pletcher and Betchel all scored in the frame.

The Cougars came roaring back in the second quarter, though, outscoring Columbia Falls 11-4 to tie the game at 13 at the break.

Stillwater took a 19-17 lead into the fourth quarter, but Betchel added four more points in the final eight minutes and Jakob Beich scored all four of his points in the frame as the Wildcats used a 12-3 run to earn the victory.

Along with Betchelís 11 points to lead the Wildcats, Pletcher scored five, Tucker Salmonsen and Beich each scored four, Wanner had three and Price added two.

In froshmore action, the Wildcats picked up a convincing 44-6 win as Brad Nieves led the way with 13 points, Tyler Langton scored 12, Jake Burlawsky scored eight, Aaron Trueblood added four, Mikey Tamburelli scored three and Jace Vandevanter and Tyler Hull each scored two.

The Wildcat varsity will open its season in Missoula at the Tip-Off Tournament Friday as Columbia Falls takes on Dillon at 4:15 p.m. at the Adams Field House. The team will face Frenchtown at 11:45 a.m. Saturday.

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