BILLINGS – The Billings Central and Hardin boys basketball teams must be getting to know one other.

The first meeting between the two on Jan. 6 took three overtimes before Hardin came out with a 97-87 win. It only took Central two overtimes Saturday to hand the Bulldogs their first loss of the season, 81-78, in another thriller at Rimrock Auto Arena.

Central forward Sam Gray hit a runner with 1.5 seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime tied at 67. Famous LeftHand had a chance to win it for Hardin at the end of overtime, but his 18-foot jumper rattled out, sending the game to another four minutes.

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Central led by as many as six in the second OT, but Hardin had a chance to tie down 81-78 with 10 seconds left. LeftHand had his 3-point attempt stripped on the way up, and Trae Hugs had the same happen to him after gathering the loose ball before time ran out.

Hardin falls to 12-1 on the year with the loss, but still leads the Eastern A at 8-1. Central is second in the conference at 5-2.

The girls didn’t need overtime this time, as Central outlasted Hardin 49-47 in the early game. Sharmayne Hardy had a chance to win it for the Bulldogs at the buzzer, but her 3-point attempt from the left wing was long.

Hardin beat Central 66-64 in double overtime in the first meeting.

The Rams led 46-40 late, but poor free throw shooting allowed the Bulldogs to climb back into the game. Marie Five converted an and-1 with 4.6 seconds left to pull Hardin within 48-47. Central’s Zoie Althoff then made one of two free throws before Hardy’s missed 3.

The result moves Central to 5-2 in the Eastern A and drops Hardin to 7-2. Laurel is still 5-1 after having its game with Miles City postponed Saturday due to poor travel conditions. The Locomotives will host the Cowgirls Tuesday.

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