BILLINGS -- The final autographs were signed, the final team photos taken.
With that, one of the most prolific high school girls' basketball careers in recent Montana history had officially come to an end.
And it ended with one last victory.
Shiloh McCormick scored a game-high 20 points to help Montana hold off Wyoming 62-56 Saturday night in the Midland Roundtable All-Star basketball series at the Rocky Mountain College Fortin Center, a win that came on the heels of Friday night’s loss in Sheridan, Wyoming.
The boys made it a clean sweep, winning that game 102-81 after taking a 93-79 win on Friday.
Each player on the Montana All-Stars contingent received warm support from the partisan crowd. But it was obvious from the start that McCormick had more supporters there than the other players, and she didn’t disappoint.
Of course, McCormick rarely did in her standout career at St. Labre. She scored more than 2,000 points in her four seasons there, placing her in the state’s top 10 list of all-time scorers. Now, it’s time for her to turn her attention to Montana State-Northern, where she’ll play next.
“It’s kind of sad, though, saying it’s my last high school game,” said McCormick, who was honored as Miss Basketball by Rocky Erickson of the Northern Sports Network in a brief ceremony before the game. Then, after a pause, she added, “Pretty sad.”
Montana was aided by eight points each from Malta’s Hailey Nicholson, Havre’s Dani Wagner and Broadview-Lavina’s Alexi Payne, who wasn’t on the original roster but who acquitted herself quite well in the two-game series.
Montana led by 18 early in the fourth quarter. But the scrappy Wyoming All-Stars tried to repeat their performance of 24 hours earlier when they erased a nine-point halftime deficit to win by seven.
The girls from the Cowboy State got within five with just over a minute to play, but that was it. They didn’t score again.
“I was really proud of the way they stayed with it and never gave up,” said Wyoming coach Frank McCarthy, who coaches the women’s team at Sheridan College.
Worland’s Hailey Schneider led Wyoming with 17 points. Gillette teammates Jessie Geer and Brooke Cargal added 14 and 10 points, but it wasn’t enough to get Wyoming its first series sweep since 2006.
Montana leads the series, which is in its 20th year, 27-13. And it’s the 14th win in the last 18 meetings between the border rivals. But it didn’t come without a few anxious moments at the end for Montana coach Wes Keller, who admittedly had visions of Friday night’s lost lead in his head.
“I’m just proud of the girls,” said Keller, who is the women’s coach at Rocky Mountain College. “It’s a fun week for me and the coaching staff to get to meet some of these kids. You recruit them throughout the year and now you get to coach them for a couple days. It’s a neat experience.”
Montana boys 102, Wyoming 81
Havre's Dane Warp, named Montana's Mr. Basketball before the game, helped key an early start for Montana. Picking up where they left on Friday night in Sheridan, the hosts raced out to a 9-2 lead, four of which belonged to Warp.
Box Elder's Jerrod Four Colors hit a three to give Montana a 29-18 first-quarter lead. But Wyoming cut it to three before Billings Skyview's Parker Stott scored five straight to stretch the lead to 44-36.
Wyoming then made another run with back-to-back 3-pointers to cut Montana's lead to 51-50. But Montana responded with a barrage of threes and a 17-7 run to take control of the game.
When Box Elder's Brandon The Boy hit Montana's sixth triple of the quarter -- and its 13th for the game -- he gave his team a 68-57 lead with 3:41 to go in the quarter.
The advantage was ballooned to 14 when Warp hit a bucket midway through the final quarter. He finished with 17 points, second to Four Colors' team-high 18.
Montana won its 10th straight over Wyoming, sweeping the series for the fifth straight year.