BILLINGS — Sports superstition says it's tough to beat a team three times in one season. Hardin's boys proved Saturday night they might be above all superstitions this year.
Hardin methodically pulled away from Billings Central for a 69-56 win in the Eastern A divisional boys basketball championship game at First Interstate Arena, the Bulldogs' third win in three tries over the Rams this year. It also avenged Hardin's losses to Central in last year's Eastern A and State A title games.
Central stayed with the unbeaten Bulldogs for much of the first half. It was 15-15 after the first quarter, but Hardin managed to gain a 29-23 advantage after the second. The Bulldogs doubled that lead to 50-38 after three quarters and didn't allow the Rams to make a run in the fourth.
Cayden Redfield led a balanced Hardin attack with 18 points. Kidd Little Light added 13, while Peyton Good Luck and Famous Lefthand each had 12. Lefthand exited the game with an injury, but coaches told MTN Sports afterward that he would be fine for the State A tournament in two weeks.
Central's Marcus Wittman led all scorers with 21 points on 8-of-9 shooting.
Hardin will be the East's No. 1 seed at the State A tournament, set for March 12-14 back at First Interstate Arena. Central, the defending champion which has played in the past four State A title games, will be the No. 2 seed. Livingston will be the No. 3 seed after beating Laurel in Saturday's consolation final, while the Locomotives will be No. 4.