Laurel and Glendive won a pair of slugfests at the Eastern A boys divisional basketball tournament inside First Interstate Arena at MetraPark on Wednesday night to set up a Friday night semifinal meeting.
Laurel 48, Miles City 33
The final score is just how Laurel head coach Tony Trudnowski likes it.
In a grind-it-out game, the Locomotives pulled away from Miles City in the second half for a 48-33 win in the opening round of the Eastern A divisional tournament.
The teams played to an 11-11 tie after one quarter, but then the game's pace slowed significantly as Laurel would lead 16-14 at the break.
Laurel slowly began to extend its lead in the third quarter. A Colter Bales steal and two-handed slam swung the momentum fully in the Locomotives' favor, as they'd lead 31-26 after three.
That lead quickly swelled to double digits in the fourth quarter. Miles City's pressure wasn't able to slow Laurel down. In fact, the Locos got several easy buckets late against the Cowboy press.
Bales, a Montana Tech commit, led all scorers with 21 points and was the only player in double figures for either side.
Laurel moves on to Friday night's semifinals, where it will play Glendive. Glendive won the only meeting with Laurel this season, 47-40, on Feb. 20. Laurel, though, wasn't at full strength in the contest.
Glendive 52, Hardin 48
Glendive was able to hold off Hardin down the stretch of the fourth quarter to advance to Friday night's semifinals with a 52-48 win.
The two sides were deadlocked at 35 after three quarters, but a Parker Buckley layup and 3-pointer on back-to-back possessions gave the Red Devils a lead they would not relinquish.
Hardin had a shot with less than 30 seconds to play, though. Glendive led 49-46 when Hardin's Bryson Rogers tossed up a 3-pointer. It caromed off the rim and Rogers corralled his own rebound, but he was promptly whistled for traveling. The Red Devils iced the game from the foul line in the waning moments to seal the win.
Buckley led Glendive with 13 points, while Max Eaton added 11. Glendive had five players with at least eight points. Hardin was led by Teivon Ramos' 23 points and nine rebounds.
Glendive and Laurel are slated to play on Friday afternoon at 2 p.m. Hardin moves to loser-out action and will play Friday at 6:30 p.m. in Lockwood.