Return to Glory: Hellgate Boys Win 4th State Title In 20 Years


Hellgate celebrates at the Butte Civic Center after defeating Billings West 70-50 on 3/4/23

BUTTE- Donovyn Headswift, Mario Rosemond, Cuinn Powers, Asher Topp, Leo Filardi, and Connor Dick. Those names will not soon be forgotten. 

As freshmen, Missoula Hellgate’s six seniors endured Brett Clark’s buzzer-beating jumper, which lifted the Bozeman Hawks to a 56-54 OT State championship win in 2019. 

On the same court, exactly 4 years and 1 day later, as seniors, those same players took back what they lost. 

The Hellgate Knights wrestled down the visiting Billings West Golden Bears 70-50 on Saturday evening, and were crowned the 2023 AA Montana Boys State Champions at the Butte Civic Center.  

Dick saved his best game of the year for last, and led the Knights with 28 points and 8 rebounds. Headswift complimented Dick’s stellar night with a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds. Rosemond added 10 points, and Easton Sant, Topp, and McNulty Chance paired up and combined to pitch in an additional 14. 

As for Billings West, their superstar Cooper Tyson was held to only 5/20 on field goals for the night, and made only 1/7 from beyond the arc, en-route to a chilled 16 points. 

But despite the Golden Bears shooting 80% from the line on the night, the Knights did not back down. After 8 minutes, the chipper was the closest it would be, showing a 15-13 Hellgate lead.

“It was awesome,” said Dick after the game. “I felt like I could throw anything up, and it would’ve gone in. The entire defense did an amazing job helping contain Tyson.”

Defense wins championships, and that is exactly what the Knights exhibited to close out the opening half. Holding the Golden Bears to only 38% on field goals in the opening frame, and 33% from the arc, Hellgate outscored Billings West again, thanks to 9 defensive rebounds. 

“We felt determined. The first time we played them (game one of the 2022-23 season) we were up 5 at the half, and went on to lose. We wanted to show them that we were the better team, and we have improved since the first game.”  Dick said.

To open the second half, the Golden Bears shaved the lead to one possession, before Jeffery Hays’ phenomenal sophomore in Sant,  hit a high risk- high reward contested corner 3, which sparked the Knights in holding Billings West to only 9 points in the third. As Hellgate stretched their lead to 13 after 24 minutes, they would only go up from there. 

“It felt great,” said Sant. “We really started to pull away in the second half, and it was a ton of fun to be a part of it.”

The final frame showed everything that these Knights have played for during the past 3 and ½ months. Dick exploded for a pair of triples, accompanied by Chance McNulty throwing down a shot from beyond the arc, and a duo of free throws. The Knights went on to shoot 13/18 total field goals and 77% from the foul line to finish out their stellar 19-4 season.

“This win means so much. I’m very happy for the Seniors, especially to have been able to go out with a championship. It’ll be sad not to have them for the next two seasons,” Sant said.

And to conclude the AA 2022-23 winter sports season, on the same hardwood that they fell short on- 1461 days later- the Hellgate Knights hoisted the 2023 AA Boys Montana High School State Trophy. For the 4th time in 20 years.