Joliet boys secure State berth after nail-biter

Alastair Baker
News Editor
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Most fans of a team live on a knife-edge whatever the game but Joliet boys treated their followers to a nerve wracking finale in the Southern B tournament in Billings last week. 

Joliet was facing not just Roundup but the prospect of heading home if they lost. With the score 39-37 to the J-Hawks and 1.1 second to go, a Roundup player is upended and earns two free point throws. The first is perfect, the score 39-38, now for the second throw, and it is in. 39-39 at the death! Over time beckons. But wait, the referees consult and adjudge that the Roundup player stepped over the free throw line. They cancel the throw, the points, and Roundup’s hopes as Joliet wins the game. 

One observer called it the “Game of the Millennium.” 

What a battle it had been with both defenses in the first half tighter than a bolt on a ship's hull with Roundup having the narrowest of leads 17-16. This suddenly disappeared as Joliet took the 3rd 16-8 and looked on course to stroll home but this wasn’t the case.  Roundup turned back on the J-Hawks taking the 4th 13-7 and set up one of the greatest finishes in Boys’ Divisional basketball. 

Taylor Rowlison scored 15 points with one valuable 3-pointer, while Brett Robinson and Rylan Olson took 7, Reed Welch 6 and Terik Fike 4.

Joliet started the campaign on the back foot losing their opener to Lodge Grass 69-54. A close game during the 1st half that had Joliet leading 31-29 opened up completely in the 2nd as Lodge Grass found the key and ran off 23-7 in the 3rd. Joliet made a good effort to claw their way back in the 4th, but time ran out. 

Rowlison secured 25 points, with Robinson and Olson both on 12. Fike got 4 and Walker Anttila 1 point. 

Olson also made 12 rebounds total and Robinson 6. 

This defeat sent Joliet into a loser out game against St. Labrie who they dispatched with some ease 82-69.

The game was mostly notable for the 46 points Rowlison scored in his 32 minutes of playing time. He also made 7 rebounds.

Olson added 23 points and also 7 total rebounds, with Welch and Fike on 2 each. 

The victory set up the thriller against Roundup that saw Joliet progress to a third place game against Colstrip.

A tough game to follow straight after the Roundup one, saw Joliet understandably short on pace and they fell 52-36 but had secured a State place in Missoula. 

The J-Hawks rarely broke into double figures as Colstrip pinned them back. 

Rowlison scored a further 20 points, with Robinson on 12, Welch on 3 and Olson, Fike and Antila on 2 each.