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Eastern AA boys: Second-half surge lifts Billings West to championship

Posted at 5:10 PM, Mar 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-02 20:36:06-05

BILLINGS — Trailing by 13 points in the second quarter Saturday, Billings West's prospects for a divisional tournament title didn't look promising.

But the Golden Bears rallied after halftime, outscoring Bozeman Gallatin by 15 in the final 16 minutes en route to a 55-48 victory in the title game of the Eastern AA tourney at Alterowitz Gynmasium.

Braden Zimmer had 19 points and 13 rebounds to help send West to next week's state tournament as the East's No. 1 seed. The Bears upset previously unbeaten Bozeman High in the semifinals on Friday.

Zimmer shot 8 for 10 from the floor, and teammate Cooper Tyson was 7 for 13 and finished with 16 points. Cash Rice added 11 poitns and five rebounds for the Bears.

Gallatin will head to state as the East's No. 2 seed. Grant Vigen had 14 points to lead the Raptors, while Zad Rodarte scored nine. Both Jack Repescher and Mac Melin added seven points for Gallatin.

With loser-out victories earlier Saturday, Bozeman and Great Falls CMR are also on their way to the state tournament.

Based on regular-season head-to-head records, Bozeman will be the East's No. 3 seed while CMR will serve as the No. 4 seed. Class AA does not contest third/fourth place games at its divisional tournaments.

Saturday loser-out scores

Bozeman 60, Belgrade 44

Great Falls CMR 46, Billings Skyview 43