The Arlee Warriors won the Class C state basketball championship over the weekend, but they're also celebrating for a different reason.
The Warriors dedicated their win to promoting openness about mental health and suicide prevention, and hoped that their message would be heard across the state -- and across the country.
Senior guard Phillip Malatare is one of the players who is certainly enjoying this moment: “A little Class C school being like an Icon around the country is definitely amazing. A school of 120 people -- it was definitely awesome trying to be like role models for everybody out there and I hope we did that.”
The Warriors were undefeated this season and their latest win marks their second state championship in a row.
For Phillip's father John, the victory meant the end of an era.
"Honestly, it was bittersweet because my son, Phillip, it was the last time he was gonna wear a Warrior uniform. The game, never got nervous whether they were gonna win or lose, at but it's just knowing that my kid was going to be playing in a Warrior uniform for the last time," John Malatare told MTN News.
The Warriors created and shared on Facebook last week a video to promote suicide prevention, and it has been watched more than 815,000 times, and shared more than 31,000 times since then.
If you are in crisis and want help, call the Montana Suicide Prevention Lifeline anytime at 1-800-273-TALK or text “MT” to 741741
CLICK HERE FOR MORE SUICIDE PREVENTION RESOURCES