BUTTE — Columbia Falls forced 27 turnovers and held Laurel to 28.6 percent shooting to cruise to a 59-35 win in the first round of the Class A state girls basketball tournament at the Civic Center.
The Wildkats used a 10-0 run in the first quarter to build a double-digit lead that would never be threatened. Laurel turned the ball over 17 times in the first half, as Columbia Falls, which has yet to lose to a Class A opponent this season, built a 29-13 lead.
Kiara Burlage recorded a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds for Columbia Falls. She made 9-of-13 free throws, as the Wildkats scored 26 points from the charity stripe. Sydney Hovde had 15 points, Dani Douglas chipped in 11 and Cydney Finberg and Peyton Kehr each added eight.
Laurel’s Aspen Cotter led all scorers with 20 points.
Columbia Falls (21-1) will play the Havre/Butte Central winner in a semifinal game Friday at 6:30 p.m. Laurel (11-11) will play the Havre/Butte Central loser in a loser-out game Friday at 12:30 p.m.