BILLINGS - The showdown lived up to its hype.
Two of Montana's top Class AA girls basketball teams took it right down to the wire on Saturday before Billings West hit a home-court buzzer-beater to stun Billings Skyview 62-60.
The Falcons led most of the afternoon and by as many as 10 on multiple occasions before West chipped away in the final 60 seconds leading to Bella Murphy's game-winning follow shot under the basket as time expired.
"I saw it going up and was like, well, if it doesn't go in I've got to get the rebound and put back," Murphy recalled to MTN Sports afterward.
Kaitlin Grossman single-handedly kept West in it with 10 first quarter points before finishing with a career-high 32. Twice in the second half, she was able to grab a defensive rebound and go coast-to-coast for a layup, the second tying it at 60-60 with :05 seconds left.
Following a timeout, the Falcons' inbound pass bounced just wide of Brooke Berry's outstretched arms. Layla Baumann controlled the loose ball in front of her own bench for West and, without hesitation, fired toward the basket with Murphy sneaking underneath for the catch-and-follow.
"Honestly, there's no better feeling than that," She said. "Just having all your teammates around you and everyone's so happy. It's just awesome."
Grossman watched the drama unfold from near mid-court.
"I was back guarding Breanna Williams who's an awesome player," Grossman said of the final play. "My job was just to make sure we didn't get beat, and I saw the ball go in and I just wanted to give Bella a hug."
Taylee Chirrick was the only other Golden Bear in double figures with 10.
Williams, a sophomore, led Skyview's balanced offensive attack with 13 points followed by Berry with 12, Cami Harris with 11 and Alexis Brauer with 10.
Grossman attributed her monster effort to a father-daughter breakfast Saturday morning, thanks to advice some family friends across town.
"My dad and I were actually talking to the Venners from (Billings) Senior two weeks ago," she recalled. "And they said, every game day morning after like, Game 2, they would go out to breakfast, just the two of them. And ever since that, Kennedy (Venner) played awesome.
"So, this morning after I'd barely gotten up, my dad was like, hey, let's go to breakfast, just the two of us. I guess it has to be a tradition because it worked," she said with a smile.
West improves to 9-0 and 5-0 in conference with the win. Skyview enters the back half of this season 6-2, 4-1 in conference.