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Bitterroot Takes Montana Girls Title

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Bitterroot Takes Montana Girls Title

Sierra Paulsen finds some space for Bitterroot.

Rugby Montana crowned its girls HS champions late last month with the Bitterroot Koa Wahines edging the Kalispell Black & Blue 19-10 in the final.

The Koa Wahines hit their peak at the right time, cruising through the playoffs with wins of 33-5 and 48-0 before taking on the very tough Black & Blue, a game that Coach Dana Cather called a slugfest.

"The girls played well and had two amazing games before the slugfest in the championship," said Cather, who added that learning the game through the season was crucial for the team. 

"All the girls were new to the sport this year and grew from week to week," said Cather, who teams had only three seniors, one junior, and two sophomores, with the rest being freshmen. "Several girls stepped up with amazing play on both sides of the ball during the final weekend."

Sam Shier, Madison Lee, and Reese Jessop were strong in the breakdowns and, on both sides of the ball, were "vicious" said Cather.

Dawsyn Brewer controlled the pace of the game offensively and launched the backline nicely, with Sierra Poulsen and Cambree Praast showing good hands and passing skills.

With that, said Cather, "we were able to take advantage of amazing speed on the outside with Jessica Mosbrucker."

It was that speed that helped Bitterroot come back from an early deficit to regain the lead. What also helped was Praast's kicking. The freshman was posed with the ball on the tee. Her kicking on difficult conversions ensured that while both teams scored two tries through until the final moments, the Koa Wahines led 14-10.

But the game remained on a knife edge until the final seconds, when Jessop scampered in to seal the game 19-10.