WORDEN — Trailing by five points late and struggling on offense, the Huntley Project boys basketball team rallied for perhaps its biggest win of the season.
The Red Devils, who are No. 2 in the 406mtsports.com Class B rankings, finished Friday’s Southern B matchup on a 14-2 run to snag a 55-48 victory at home against the No. 3 Colts.
Huntley Project and Colstrip both entered Friday with one loss. The Colts lost 77-51 at Lodge Grass two weeks ago, and the Red Devils fell 66-35 at Lodge Grass last Thursday.
“We did not take care of the ball. They had a crazy atmosphere,” Project junior Tim Rose said of the loss to the Indians, who moved up to No. 1 in Class B this week. “We just did not play to our potential, I felt like.
“I feel like the next time we play them, we’ll be more prepared.”
Last season, Colstrip beat Project 57-52 at home and 62-44 in Worden. Friday’s game, which was 20-20 after one quarter and 29-29 at halftime, looked like it would result in another Colstrip win during the second half.
The Colts led 40-37 going into the fourth quarter and took a 46-41 lead with 4:51 left on back-to-back 3-pointers from senior JT Baer, who finished with a game-high 19 points.
“I thought we were gonna get it done at that point,” said Colstrip coach Joe Egan.
The Devils had scored 12 points in the first 13 minutes of the second half. Not only did they tally 14 points in the final 4:51, they silenced Colstrip’s offense. Project forced a couple turnovers during that stretch and made the Colts heave low-percentage shots in the final minute.
“We’ve all been playing together for a while, so that chemistry just kicked in toward the end of the game,” Rose said. “We were all unselfish, and we just found each other for the easy bucket.”
The lopsided loss to Lodge Grass is the only blemish on Project’s otherwise impressive resume. They opened the season with a 54-38 win over now-No. 4 Three Forks, they beat No. 7 Columbus 58-41 last Wednesday and they’ve won their other seven games by an average of 18.1 points (including Friday’s seven-point victory).
Five players scored for Project (9-1) on Friday. Rose led with 13 points, followed by fellow juniors Noah Bouchard and Jake Fox with 11 each and seniors Isaiah Bouchard (Noah’s brother) and Rylan DeVries with 10 apiece.
Senior Corbin Small-Fisher chipped in 15 points for the Colts (9-2).
“We kind of got caught up in the emotion of the game, and we didn’t quite play smart enough the last few minutes,” Egan said. “It seemed like every time we made a mistake, they made us pay. That makes us better.
“We’re excited about where we’re going. That’s one of the best games we’ve played all year, and if we can build on that, I’m pretty happy.”