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MISSOULA — Of the 10 undefeated teams across the Treasure State, four of them are on the western side of the divide. 

The Hamilton boys head into Western A Divisionals with a 20-0 record, the Bigfork boys are 18-0 ahead of Western B Divisionals and Class C's Arlee boys have a 39-0 record dating back to last season.

Not to be outdone, the Clark Fork girls are 20-0 ahead of Western C Divisionals too. 

But it's far too early to celebrate. There are plenty more games to be played. 

"We haven't really talked much about our record or anything," Hamilton boys' coach Travis Blome said. "We try not to focus on it. It's not anything that's on our top priority, really."

Arlee's coach Zanen Pitts and Clark Fork's coach Jeff Schultz both agreed.

"The big thing right now, we've been focusing on those areas we need to fix," Pitts said. "We don't really look at how good we're doing as a whole."

Schultz said: "For us, all season hasn't been about winning and losing. Our goal was never to become undefeated. We never once talked about that. We still don't. It wasn't the end goal, it's just been a by-product of us focusing on communication, hustle, rebounding and working as a team."

Boys Western A Divisional Preview

Of the eight teams vying for one of four Western A spots in the Class A state tournament, three of them are coming off berths to last year's tourney: Billings Central, Polson and Hamilton. 

Butte Central was last year's runner-up, Polson was last year's third-place finisher and Hamilton lost both of their games last season on Class A's final weekend. 

This year's field in the Western A Divisional: Hamilton, Libby, Dillon, Ronan, Butte Central, Browning, Frenchtown and Polson.

"The Western A is a tough division all the way through. I think anyone on any given night can beat anyone. We're going to have to really step up no matter who we're playing," Blome said. "... All of them seem to really play well and no matter who we're playing, it's going to be a tough game."

Hamilton tips off against Libby at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

"It's going to be tough on both teams and whoever comes with the best attitude and plays the hardest I think will have a chance to win," Blome said of the early start.

Girls Western A Divisional Preview

Class A's reigning state champion Columbia Falls is back at divisionals after losing in the Northwest A district chipper to Browning. 

Right out of the gate, the Wildkats face a tough foe in Butte Central, last year's third-place finisher at state. 

The rest of this year's Western A field: Frenchtown, Ronan, Dillon, Libby, Hamilton and Browning. 

Frenchtown, with a 12-9 record, shocked the field to win the Southwest A district, upsetting both top-seeded Hamilton and No. 3 seed Dillon along the way.

"It was one of those wins that reconfirmed everything we've been trying to do and trying to accomplish, and then putting it all together, it gave the girls a pretty sound base that we can achieve what we are trying to do," Frenchtown coach Jim Tolman said of beating Hamilton and Dillon last week.

The Broncs play Ronan at 12:30 p.m. Thursday. 

Hamilton went into districts as the No. 1 seed with only one loss on the season. The Broncs come into divisionals with three losses on the year and as the fourth and final seed in the tournament from the Southwest A. 

The Broncs play Browning at 8 p.m. Thursday.

Boys Western B Divisional Preview

Anaconda lost a close game against Malta in last season's Class B chipper and the Copperheads are back as the No. 2 seed from 6B in the Western B Divisional. 

Loyola Sacred Heart, the other team in this year's Western B Divisional field to make last year's state tournament, lost a series of heartbreakers at last season's tourney. The Rams lost their semifinal game against Malta by two points in double overtime and lost a loser-out game to Whitehall by two points the following day. 

Both those teams are looking for better outcomes than last season, but undefeated Bigfork stands in the way of both of them. 

The rest of this year's Western B field: Deer Lodge, Eureka, Troy, Florence and Thompson Falls. 

Girls Western B Divisional Preview

The Florence girls are the only team in the Western B Divisional field that made last year's state tournament. 

But last year was nothing like this one for Western B. 

The rest of the Western B field: Thompson Falls, Deer Lodge, Eureka, Bigfork, Anaconda, Troy and Loyola. 

Bigfork and Florence are the two No. 1 seeds in this divisional and both of them are heavy hitters. One of Florence's losses on the year is to Bigfork and Bigfork's lone loss is to Class A's Columbia Falls. 

Boys Western C Divisional Preview

If the Western C Divisional goes to chalk on Thursday, the rematch of last year's state title comes in the semifinals. 

Arlee, still undefeated, took home Class C's state title over Manhattan Christian, 71-67, last season.

"It's going to be a fast, fun game in western Montana," Pitts said. "If you're not there, you're going to be missing out. Simple as that. It's going to be one of the hottest games in the state."

But Pitts isn't looking past his Thursday opponent in Darby. 

"I've never been one to look by anybody," Pitts said. "My gut always twists before every game so I try to get prepared for them. We've got a pretty good game plan. I guess we'll see if it works."

Girls Western C Divisional Preview

The tallest player for Clark Fork is 5-foot-10, but that hasn't slowed down the Mountain Cats all season. 

The Alberton-Superior co-op heads into divisionals with a perfect record, but  Schultz isn't taking anything for granted. 

Arlee advanced to the divisional on a challenge game win, but the Scarlets are last year's Class C state runner-up. And that's who Clark Fork faces first. 

"Alyssia Vanderburg is arguably the best player in the division, maybe even the state. They're coached extremely well by Bill Stockton," Schultz said of Arlee. "They're a challenge and we have to open with them. If there is a hardest draw of divisionals, we definitely got close to it if we didn't get it."

He added: "We tell our girls, we control our own destiny. We truly feel that way," Schultz said. "... This is a loaded divisional bracket. Top to bottom there is no weak spot. It's going to be very, very difficult, but I think that if we play our game, the only one that can stop us is us."

The rest of the field: Manhattan Christian, Ennis, Charlo, Seeley-Swan, Lone Peak and last year's third place at state and divisional champion Twin Bridges.

Amie Just covers Griz football and Missoula-area preps. Follow her on Twitter @Amie_Just or email her at

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