Missoula Hellgate, pictured defending Helena's Alex Bullock on Thursday night in Helena, is No. 1 in the first 406mtsports.com girls basketball rankings of the season.

BILLINGS — The first 406mtsports.com girls basketball rankings of the 2020-21 season include two co-state champions at No. 1. The other two top teams fell one game short of that prize.

Missoula Hellgate is No. 1 in Class AA thanks in large part to Saturday’s two-point win over Helena Capital, which beat Hellgate 46-38 in last season's state semifinals and returned many of its best players. Capital is No. 2, one spot ahead of fellow co-champion Billings West.

The top two spots in Class A are occupied by the two defending co-champions. Billings Central is No. 1, and Hardin is No. 2. The Rams will face Eastern A rival Laurel, which is ranked No. 5, Friday at First Interstate Arena at MetraPark.

Class B’s No. 1 team, Big Timber, is led by all-state players Bailey Finn (a sophomore) and Emily Cooley (a junior), who are averaging 18 and 16 points per game, respectively. The Sheepherders lost to Forsyth in last season’s State B semifinals after beating the Dogies in the Southern B Divisional semifinals to improve to 22-0. Big Timber lost in the divisional title game to Colstrip, which is No. 2 in these rankings.

Roy-Winifred, which shared last season’s State C title with Belt, is No. 1 in the Class C rankings. One of the Outlaws’ four wins this season was 41-26 last Tuesday over Belt, which is ranked No. 7 and went 2-2 against Roy-Winifred last season. The Outlaws will play at No. 2 Fort Benton on Thursday.

Class AA

1. Missoula Hellgate (2-0)

2. Helena Capital (2-1)

3. Billings West (2-0)

4. Great Falls (2-0)

5. Missoula Sentinel (2-0)

Class A

1. Billings Central (4-0)

2. Hardin (1-0)

3. Havre (2-1)

4. Columbia Falls (3-0)

5. Laurel (3-0)

Class B

1. Big Timber (3-0)

2. Colstrip (3-0)

3. Anaconda (2-0)

4. Missoula Loyola (3-1)

5. Malta (2-0)

6. Forsyth (2-1)

7. Fairfield (3-0)

8. Eureka (2-1)

9. Whitehall (1-1)

10. Thompson Falls (2-1)

Class C

1. Roy-Winifred (4-0)

2. Fort Benton (4-0)

3. Melstone (4-0)

4. Turner (3-0)

5. Valier (3-0)

6. Saco-Whitewater-Hinsdale (4-0)

7. Belt (2-1)

8. Circle (3-0)

9. Seeley-Swan (3-0)

10. Charlo (1-0)

406mtsports.com's Victor Flores, Chris Peterson, Mike Scherting and Jeff Welsch contributed to this week's rankings.

Disagree with the rankings, or have a question? Email Victor at victor.flores@406mtsports.com.

Load comments