BILLINGS -- Hardin and Livingston set up a date in Friday's Eastern A boys basketball semifinals with wins in Wednesday's opening round at First Interstate Arena at MetraPark. Hardin dismantled Glendive from the opening tip to the final buzzer and Livingston held off Havre, as both teams are one step closer to the State A tournament.
Hardin 72, Glendive 34
Hardin jumped up on Glendive 17-2 in the first quarter and carried an identical 15-point lead, 32-17, into halftime. The Bulldogs put more distance between them and the Red Devils in the third quarter on their way to a 72-34 win.
The Bulldogs sat their starters for the entirety of the fourth quarter with the game already in hand. Hardin's second team salted the game away, sealing the Bulldogs' trip to the semifinals.
Cayden Redfield and Teivon Ramos led Hardin with 13 points apiece. Eleven of Redfield's points came in the first half. Hardin also out-rebounded Glendive 34-10 and held the Red Devils to just 26.7 percent shooting and turning them over 17 times.
Hardin moves one victory from a return to the State A tournament, as the Bulldogs will play Livingston in Friday's semifinals with a trip to the state tournament on the line.
Livingston 55, Havre 47
Livingston led wire to wire in its 55-47 victory over Havre, but the Blue Ponies had the Rangers in their sights the entire game.
The Rangers led by just two after the first quarter and at halftime and by three entering the final period. Livingston extended its lead to eight, 46-38, on a three-point play by Tristan Stenseth with just 4:18 left on the clock.
Livingston's lead grew as large as 10 in the fourth quarter, but Havre cut it to five with 1:04 to play on a triple by Kellen Detrick. The Blue Ponies were forced to play the foul game to attempt a comeback in the final minute, but Livingston calmly iced the game from the free throw line.
Brendon Johnson had 15 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals for Livingston. Nick Battrick had game-highs of 18 points and nine rebounds. The Rangers will play Hardin in Friday's semifinals at 3:30 p.m.