BILLINGS – It’ll be two No. 1 seeds in Saturday’s Eastern A girls championship game.
Havre and Hardin won semifinals Friday at Rimrock Auto Arena to punch tickets to next week’s State A girls tournament and set up a divisional title game worthy of the “super divisional” label.
In Friday’s first semi, Havre held on to beat Laurel, 48-37, behind outstanding play from their guards.
Naomi Terry led the Blue Ponies with 16 points, while Ceyara Plante added 13 and freshman Kyndell Keller chipped in 11. The three combined for 83.3% of Havre’s points.
Kaylee Nystrom meanwhile played shutdown defense on Laurel’s top two scorers, Rylee Clark and Aspen Cotter. Nystrom held Clark scoreless through three quarters with suffocating three-point defense. Maybe more impressively, Nystrom didn’t take a single shot on offense with a completely defensive-minded individual game plan.
Hardin’s team defense suffocated Belgrade in the second semi, as the Bulldogs forced 21 turnovers on their way to a 75-51 win.
Belgrade was within one at 44-43 early in the 4th quarter, when Hardin went on a 23-6 run to put the game away. The Bulldogs scored 31 in the 4th alone.
Karissa DuShane scored 22 points, including 5-7 shooting from three-point range, to lead everybody. Aubrey Meiwald added 17 and nine rebounds.
Belgrade freshman Gabby Weber led the Panthers with 16, but tied for a team high with six turnovers.
Hardin and Havre will play for the Eastern A title Saturday at 6:30 pm. Both Laurel and Belgrade will need to win loser-out games earlier Saturday to clinch a State berth. Laurel plays Glendive at 9:00 am at Rimrock Auto Arena, while Belgrade will take on Miles City at 9:00 am at Rocky Mountain College.