Sentinel boys shooting for state

Sentinel boys shooting for state.

MISSOULA, Mont. - For the second time in three years the Sentinel High School boys basketball team is headed back to the class AA state tournament.

It's been a roller coaster season for the Spartans. A team that started the year losing four of its first five games has now righted the ship and is set to play two-time defending state champion Billings Skyview in the opening round of the tournament.

"We definitely had a tough schedule this year," said Sentinel senior guard Mitch Roberts. "I thought we benefited from it. Getting those tougher games improved us a little bit as a team down the road, and it's going to carry on through state, hopefully."

"Going through summer ball we were always one of the top teams, and we were always having fun, playing well together," said Spartans senior forward Griffin Line. "So I think coming into the season we were all expecting to at least make it to state."

Sentinel punched their ticket to state with an emphatic 60-37 win over Big Sky last week with the help of six seniors, each of whom has been in this position before.

"This is their second state tournament appearance," said Sentinel head coach Jay Jagelski. "A big chunk of them were there as sophomores when we went a couple years ago. They were very determined this year, just because they wanted to get back there very badly."

The Spartans will tip off against Skyview at 9 a.m. Thursday in Great Falls.

Sentinel's last state finals appearance was in 2008 when they finished as runner-up. The school's last state championship came back in 1986.