The United Tribes Men’s Basketball team opened their season on the road against three Region 9 basketball teams. The first night the Thunderbirds were able to outlast the LBHC Rams on their home court, 96-95. Rob McClain led the way with 23 points and 15 rebounds. Xavier Norris got hot in the second half and nailed 6 three pointers on his way to scoring 22 points. Sam Pendleton hit two free throws with 7 seconds left to seal the win. Pendleton had a team high 9 assits along with his 17 points.
On Friday afternoon United Tribes traveled to Miles City, MT to compete in their annual Booster Club Classic. First up was one of the top teams in the nation the Gillette College Pronghorns. Gillette’s size and athleticism wore down the Thunderbirds and they were defeated 93-64. Sam Pendleton had 17 points, 8 assists, and 5 rebounds in the loss. Jacob Martin and Shayden Keplin reached double figures with 10 a piece.
On Saturday the Thunderbirds took on the host team the Miles Community College Pioneers. The Pioneers jumped out to an early 10 point lead, but the Thunderbirds fought back and trailed 45-42 at the half. The momentum began to shift in favor of the Thunderbirds in the second half as they built a 13 point lead with 5 minutes to go. Miles came back to cut the lead to 2 points, but Tribes was able to get some clutch free throws from Shayden Keplin and few key stops down the stretch to hold on to win 82-78.
Keplin had a team high 23 points and also chipped in 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Pendleton had 13 points and 7 assists, McClain 12 points and 9 rebounds, and Montel Carlow reached double figures with 10 points.
The Thunderbirds have their home opener on Thursday night vs Stone Child College. The women tip at 5:30, followed by the men at 7:30 at the Thunderdome.