‘A huge, huge issue’: Despite gains, anti-Native bias beliefs still plague Montana hoops

Editor’s note: This story is part of three-part series on perceived anti-Native bias in high school basketball in Montana.

BOZEMAN — With the scoreboard clock reading 4:32, in the final quarter of a game that still reverberates around Montana high school basketball two years later, a disconsolate boys team from Rocky Boy had finally heard one too many antagonistic whistles.

After a fifth technical foul, including a second on junior guard Benji Crebs for “flopping” and a second on Stars coach Adam Demontiney for arguing, the entire team walked off the Malta High School court. For Rocky Boy, a team comprised of Native American players, it was a breaking point — emotions that boiled over on a Hi-Line winter night but in truth have simmered in Indian Country for more than a century.

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To the Stars, the outcome was another painful reminder of a conviction held by Natives across Montana and, indeed, all of America: Historical racism permeating a bastion of passion and self-esteem, the basketball arena, in the form of biased officiating.

Crebs received his first technical — a foul related to sportsmanship, more egregious than common or personal fouls

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