UM Sports Trivia | March 4

By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN

If the Montana Griz and Lady Griz basketball teams sweep their final regular season games this week it will set up a double Big Sky tournament in Missoula for a third time. In 1991 the Griz won the title outright with a win over MSU in the regular season finale. In 2000 the regular season title came down to a winner-take-all final at Cheney between the Grizzlies and Eagles. The Griz needed to overcome a 15 point deficit to claim the title. The Lady Griz won the regular season title less dramatically.

It is a bit of irony that Montana closes out its regular season against Northern Arizona. Last season the Lady Griz had a very frustrating night in Flagstaff as they were upset by an NAU team at the bottom of the standings. Last season NAU men end a tough season with a lop-sided loss to the Griz, the Jacks will come to Missoula in the thick of the play-off race.

For Sacramento State it’s too bad that Friday is an off-day as March 8th is an important date in Sacramento State athletic history. On March 8, 2003 the Sac State Hornets pulled off their first ever Conference tournament win when they knocked off the Grizzlies at the Adams Center. Then last March 8th the Sac State women knocked off Eastern Washington in the Conference tournament quarterfinals in Pocatello for the Hornets’ women’s first ever tournament win.

Sacramento state star guard Dylan Garrity has been the engine to the Hornet express. Garrity is among the leaders in assists, steals, and 3-point shooting. The Huntington Beach product had to break with family tradition to pursue basketball as several of his relatives had gone to college on Soccer scholarships.

As Sacramento state tries to secure a higher seed in the Big Sky tournament they will be saying farewell to one of the program’s best players. Kylie Kuhns is among the Big Sky leaders in scoring rebounding and several other major categories. Kuhns is from Salem Oregon and is one of the players coach Jayme Craighead has brought in from her native pacific northwest.

Going from being a cult hero to a team leader, Northern Arizona’s Max Jacobsen was a bright spot coming off the bench last season for the Jacks and became a fan favorite. This season Jacobsen has been a big part of NAU’s improvement highlighted by the fact that Jacobsen is third in the Big Sky in field goal percentage.

Forty years ago this week the State AA boys basketball tournament returned to Missoula after a 12 year absence. The story the first day was basketball teams and dance teams dealing with the super slick surface in the arena. By Saturday morning a more serious problem had developed. Several members of the Butte High travel party had developed measles forcing the Missoula County Health Department to send the entire group home early Saturday morning and forcing Butte to forfeit a consolation round game with Havre. Saturday Night nearly 10,000 showed up at the Adams Center to watch as Missoula Hellgate and Sentinel basketball teams played for the state title–with Sentinel claiming their second consecutive state title.

What if they held a state basketball tournament and the top-seed refused to come. In March of 1963 the Missoula County High School Spartans went 22-0 but didn’t play in the state AA tournament. The Missoula County High School board was displeased with the management of the 1962 tournament in Butte and declared that the Spartans would not participate if certain safety conditions were not met. The Missoula board was not satisfied and the Spartans stayed home.

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Chris Walterskirchen has been an observer of Montana sports for nearly half a century. A Kalispell native, Chris has worked in various capacities for professional and college sports organization of at various times: ranging from announcing and statistical work to the concessions and even a stint as a costumedmascot.

Chris has academic degrees in communications and elementary education. His style of sports trivia involves more than just who won and who lost, but also focuses on the obscure or human side of sports. In this blog you will learn things like the Grizzly football team has won 210 games over the 19 seasons since they have had Monte as their mascot or that UNLV is the only school that both the Griz and Lady Griz have both faced in the NCAA basketball tournament

When not following sports Chris enjoys taking care of animals of all kinds (a peacock rescue?) and reading to pre-schoolers.