Hardin boys play through injuries, illness for second place at state

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Photo by Tommy Robinson

Cayden Redfield, a forward for Hardin’s Bulldogs, jumps past a Billings Central defender for a layup Saturday in Great Falls during the Class A state tournament. This is the second year in a row the Bulldogs have faced Billings Central’s Rams for the state championship.

Photo by Tommy Robinson

Hardin guard Famous Left Hand aims a shot over a Butte Central defender in Great Falls on Friday during the semifinal match of Class A state.

The state tournament has come and gone, and while they gave it their all, the Hardin Bulldog boys’ basketball team fell short of bringing the championship trophy home this year.

The Bulldogs’ first game of the tournament was against the Browning Indians, a team Hardin hasn’t played in about two years, according to Athletic Director Mike Erickson. During the first half, things were going badly for the Bulldogs as most of Browning’s shots were landing.

“It seemed like everything they were throwing up was going in,” Head Coach Andrew Roundface said. “They just had one of those nights where they couldn’t miss very much.”

After halftime, the Bulldogs came in and swung the momentum back in their direction, Roundface said.

Hardin won the game 69-59, but Roundface said that his team is not used to playing from a deficit.

The Bulldogs matched up against the Butte Central Maroons in their second game of the tournament. According to Roundface, by the end of the third quarter, the Bulldogs lost their early lead and were ahead by only 2 points. They would need to play hard to keep the lead.

The game was complicated when Hardin starter Famous Left Hand suffered an injury to his hip and was taken out in the second half. This put Trae Hugs in the position to step up and help carry the weight for the team, reported Roundface.

Hardin would go on to beat Butte Central 79-73 to move up to the championship game against the Billings Central Rams – Hardin’s rival and the team who, in recent years, had given the Bulldogs the most trouble.

Despite having three high-profile players with injuries and others recovering from flu-like symptoms, the Bulldogs didn’t go down without a fight, Roundface said.

“Andrew [House], Famous and Trae were all pretty beat up,” he said. “But they didn’t want anybody to know, so we kind of kept it under wraps, just in the locker room.”

The Billings team, according to Roundface, was just too experienced and the odds were stacked against Hardin. Central defeated Hardin 62-44.

“I’m just glad we made it there as much stuff as we went through this season; to even make it to the championship game was an accomplishment,” Roundface said. “Winning it was a lot tougher and we just didn’t have the gas.”

This week, Left Hand and Hugs were awarded spots on the first all-conference and all-state teams. House was named to the second all-conference team and Hardin's Cayden Redfield was recognized with an honorable mention.

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