Basketball fans can at last pause and take a deep breath….Man that was some basketball we watched last week during the Big Sky Women’s and Men’s tourney!


As a long-time fan of Montana basketball this past week was outstanding. All basketball all the time, Wednesday through Saturday.  The tourney had some moments that really stand out in my memory;

Seniors Celebrate ! (Photo courtesy UM Relations/Todd Goodrich

The intensity of the Lady Griz defense in the title game was something you could almost feel. You could definitely see it on the player’s faces and in their attitude. They would not be beaten.

A special ceremony was held for a retiring referee, John Weeks. He’s been working basketball games for 42 years. He’s been an official in 16 Big Sky tourney games, it would’ve been 17 but he was sick one year.  He’s a real quality guy; he’s got a real talent for handling players and coaches.

Mentioning officials, we need to address a situation in the women’s title game. Lady Griz Shanae Gilham went to the floor with an obvious knee injury right under the basket. She drug herself off the floor as played continued around the basket. Lots of people were upset that play wasn’t stopped at that point. It’s my understanding the rules don’t allow that. It wasn’t pretty, but that’s the way it was. It might have been different had Shanae been on the court.

It's title time! (Photo courtesy UM Relations/Todd Goodrich)

Another player provided a ”tourney moment.” When Montana’s Kareem Jamar was named tourney MVP for the second year in a row, he went out to accept his award and then put his face down on team mate Will Cherry’s shoulder and cried. He had played so hard all through the season and the tourney. I think the phrase is, ”he left it all on the court.”  Sure is fun to watch players play and compete for the love of the game.

The city as a whole did a real good job of playing the host role. Fans that travelled here from the other schools were welcomed and enjoyed their stay. The Adams Event Center staff did a fantastic job of handling tickets sales and managing two major tourneys going on at the same time.

It wouldn’t be right unless the fans, you guys with your butts in the seats, were also mentioned. 4200 hundred fans turned out for the Lady Griz title game and you were loud! Then that night almost 7200 were there for the Griz game and you raised the roof. Man that was fun wasn’t it?