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State AA boys: Helena Capital blows out Bozeman to claim state title

Capital State AA champs 2022.png
Posted at 10:39 PM, Mar 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-13 00:43:06-05

BILLINGS — Helena Capital used a 14-0 run in the second quarter to blow Saturday's State AA title game against Bozeman wide open, as the Bruins defeated the Hawks 62-48 on Saturday inside First Interstate Arena at MetraPark in Billings.

Holding a 14-10 lead midway through the second quarter, Capital saw that cushion balloon to 18, 28-10, in the span of less than three minutes. Bozeman wasn't able to cut into that lead in the second half, as the Bruins led by as many as 24.

"We knew they were a good team and going to make a run at some point," Capital senior standout Brayden Koch said. "We just had to stay determined, maintain our lead and just play together and stick together."

"We knew they'd make a run at us. They're too good not to. We needed to keep being aggressive and getting to the basket. Our team did a good job in general," Capital head coach Guy Almquist said.

Koch, who put the Bruins into the title game with a game-winner in overtime in the semifinals on Friday, ignited the run with a monster two-hand jam. Koch finished with 20 points in the contest, as he scored 20-plus in each game of the state tournament.

"Everyone knows this is a player's game. You get a guy like (Koch), you need to win. Let's be honest, you need to win when you get a guy like that. I'm super happy for him and the rest of his teammates," Almquist said.

Koch wasn't a one-man show on Saturday night, as Jacob Curry added 19 points on 5 of 7 shooting and Hayden Opitz had 11 points and nine rebounds. Bozeman was led by 19 points from Ty Huse.

The Hawks had been one of the best shooting teams in the state throughout the course of the year but shot just 34.6 percent from the field for the game, including 4 of 26 from 3-point land.

"First off, stop their 3. (Ty) Huse and (Jackson) Basye, they were our main focus at the high post. To stop them there and stop the penetration was our main goal and it was successful for us," Koch said.

"We're just trying to matchup with their shooters, have a hand on every catch and make them uncomfortable. At the same time, Huse is a real problem there in the middle of the key," Almquist said. "But you get lucky. They had an off shooting night. I thought we rebounded pretty well. Great defensive effort."