Copperhead girls knock off defending state champs, 58-50

Megan Reich drops in a floater in the lane, leading Anaconda in scoring to drop defending state champs Loyola Saturday at the Snake Pit. COPPERHEAD COUNTRY/Blake Hempstead

The undefeated, defending state champions met their match in the opening week of the truncated season.

Led by three scorers in double-figures, Anaconda started off on a 14-0 run to stun Missoula Loyola 58-50 Saturday night at Memorial Gymnasium. The loss broke a 30-game winning streak for the Breakers.

Senior Megan Reich led the team with 15, freshman Makena Patrick had 11 and junior Alyssa Peterson ended with 10 to pace the scoring effort. Senior Mia Sullivan-Sanders had a monster night on the boards, grabbing 18 rebounds along with nine points.

Mia Sullivan-Sanders was unstoppable in the paint. leading the game with 18 rebounds for Anaconda. COPPERHEAD COUNTRY/Blake Hempstead

Anaconda did it all primarily inside the arc, only knocking down one trey (Peterson) on the night.

Down big early, Loyola used their customary up-tempo style and deep shooting ability to claw themselves back in. Trailing 35-29 at the half, Loyola outscored Anaconda 15-7 in the third to take a 44-42 lead into the final quarter.

Loyola senior Natalie Clevenger scored a game-high 20 points followed by Lani Walker’s 17. They both combined for all nine three-pointers by the Breakers led by Walker’s five.

It was the first time since March of 2019 since Loyola tasted defeat, falling 54-44 in the first round of the State B tournament to eventual champion Wolf Point. They would win three-straight to take home third that year followed by a perfect 25-0 campaign last year.

Also scoring for Anaconda was junior guard Sami Johnson with eight, freshman forward Maniyah Lunceford with three and Cara DeMarois with two.

Anaconda will return to Memorial Gymnasium Tuesday to host Florence in a 6B contest.

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