BILLINGS -- What looked like a comfortable lead for Billings Senior turned into urgency in the final seconds of Thursday's 53-48 boys basketball win over crosstown rival Billings West.
The Broncs used a 16-1 run to build a 12-point lead at halftime. Jacksen Burckley delivered 18 points before the break and finished with 20.
But, in a slow-moving third quarter, West climbed to within six on the heels of Sam Phillips' 3-pointer. That margin carried into the fourth where neither team scored until less than 4:00 remained in the game. With 46 seconds left, the Broncs had only scored two points in the quarter.
That kept the door open for West, and Teagan Mullowney took advantage when his 3-pointer with 1:32 left crashed off the backboard and rattled around the rim before dropping. That cut Senior's lead to 49-46. After a Broncs turnover, Mullowney netted a breakaway layup closing West to within 49-48.
But the Bears wouldn't score again and Senior's defense down the stretch, led by forward Melo Pine, came up with some timely rebounds and steals in the final seconds to hold off West.
"Our goal is not to be in close games, but when we can finish them out it makes you feel confident," Pine told MTN Sports. "We try to be better in the face of adversity and we did that (Thursday)."
The win improves Senior to 3-2 with all three victories coming at home.