Lodge Grass wins state championship

Thursday, March 19, 2020
Lodge Grass wins state championship

Photo courtesy of Meagan Thompson / The Montana Standard

Lodge Grass' Ty Moccasin celebrates after making scoring against Shelby on Thursday during the 2020 State Class B Boys' Basketball Tournament in Butte.

The Lodge Grass Indians won their first state championship in 30 years this past weekend at the Class B State Basketball Championship in Butte, Montana.

In celebration of the Lodge Grass Indians victory, in a time-honored tradition, sang the Lodge Grass district victory song.

Prior to the tournament, the Lodge Grass Indians gave recognition to the late Elvis Old Bull, who helped Lodge Grass bring home their last state basketball championship. Now 30 years later, they bring the hardware home again, and are able to celebrate in Crow style fashion once again.

For Jeri Bends, mother of Lodge Grass forward D.C. Stewart, to see her son be a part of such a proud moment for the team.

“As a parent, I’m so proud of our boys! They created a strong support system for each other and knowing they are champions together is also a great feeling,” Bends said.

Bends said that seeing her son be a part of something so huge made her and the other mothers of the boys on the team very happy, especially after the 30-year interim to bring the championship back to the community.

Stewart and the rest of the team not only saw, but also felt the support and love from the community of Lodge Grass.

“It felt amazing knowing that the community is all there for you,” Stewart said. “They’re all supporting you and welcoming you back home.”

The tournament itself felt like any other tournament according to Stewart, but to play on the State Championship stage, felt entirely different.

“At state, there was so much at stake, but we came out on top and it feels good,” he said.

The community and support system behind the Lodge Grass Indians was equally apparent to the rest of the team, who assuredly felt the love and support from the community to see a fan caravan that spanned almost three miles.

Some vehicles even reported that their car horn even went out after traveling with the caravan all the way home from Butte, Bends said.

Ending the journey at the high school, the entire community piled into the high school gym and offered prayers, honor songs, and handshakes to all the players.

Lodge Grass fans needn’t worry about next season, as the stacked Indians have a very young squad who are sure to make it back next year and play at the same level of intensity as they played all year long.

The first game was against Shelby on Thursday, March 12, the first half was a nail biter, but the Indians took the momentum and ran with it, defeating Shelby 71-40.

In the semi final game, the Indians faced a tough Rocky Boy squad who advanced by playing against another tough team and former multiple Class C champs the Arlee Warriors.

Rocky Boy gave the Indians a good go in the first half only trailing by a few points, but in the style of the Indians, they came together after the half time break to dominate.

Scoring 36 points and never looking back, ultimately winning 71-54.

The COVID-19 virus outbreak led the Montana High School Association to cancel the last day of the tournament. The Indians share their championship this year with Fairfield.

March 15

First quarter: Lodge Grass 11, Shelby 11; second quarter: Lodge Grass 27, Shelby 21; third quarter: Lodge Grass 45, Shelby 32; FINAL: Lodge Grass 71, Shelby 40.

Lodge Grass: Damon Gros Ventre 22, Malachai Little Nest 19, Jadence Archilta 15, Ty Moccasin 6, DC Stewart 5, Jaxon McCormick 3, Bobby Pease 1.

Shelby: Rhett Reynolds 17, Logan Leck 6, Tanner Tustian 5, Taylor Parsons 4, Tanner Parsons 4, Taylor Parsons 4, Tanner Parsons 4, Kolby Lohr 2, Trenton Emerson 2.

March 16

First quarter: Lodge Grass 20, Rocky Boy 16; second quarter: Lodge Grass 36, Rocky Boy 33; third quarter: Lodge Grass 59, Rocky Boy 40; FINAL: Lodge Grass: 71, Rocky Boy 54.

Lodge Grass: Damon Gros Ventre 35, Malachai Little Nest 12, Ty Moccasin 10, Tai’van Brady 8, Jadence Archilta 6, Anthony Brown 3, Bobby Pease 3, Fred Backbone 2, Kendall Russell 2.