BILLINGS -- The Bozeman, Billings Skyview and Great Falls High boys basketball teams are in Friday's semifinals at the Eastern AA divisional tournament after picking up first-round victories on Thursday at Alterowitz Gym on the campus of MSU Billings. Bozeman used hot shooting to get past Billings Senior, while Skyview jumped all over Belgrade from the opening tip. Great Falls High dominated rival Great Falls CMR to become the final team in the semis.
Bozeman 65, Billings Senior 56
Bozeman got off to a slow start, but hot shooting propelled the Hawks to a 65-56 victory over Billings Senior in the first round of the Eastern AA divisional tournament.
Senior led for most of the opening quarter, but Bozeman began to catch fire at the end of the frame and carried that into the second quarter. Five first-half 3-pointers helped the Hawks to a 27-24 halftime lead.
The Hawks continued their hot shooting in the third quarter to put some distance between themselves and the Broncs, leading 47-38 after three quarters. Morgan Harmon did his best to keep Senior close in the fourth quarter, helping the Broncs cut the deficit to seven on multiple occasions, but Bozeman had an answer for every Senior run.
Carter Ash had 17 points and nine rebounds for Bozeman, while Hudson Willett had 19 points, seven rebounds and hit 5 of 12 from beyond the arc. Harmon was the only Bronc in double figures with 18.
Bozeman moves on to Friday's semifinals against Billings West, while Senior falls to loser-out action and will play again on Saturday morning.
Billings Skyview 59, Belgrade 32
Bilings Skyview didn't waste any time in jumping all over Belgrade in the opening round of the Eastern AA divisional tournament in Billings. The Falcons suffocated the Panthers in the first half to open up a commanding 32-10 halftime lead on their way to a 59-32 win.
Skyview opened up its 22-point halftime advantage by holding Belgrade to 3-of-16 shooting in the first half, while the Falcons hit nearly 50 percent of their shots and knocked down four 3-pointers.
Skyview kept its foot on the gas pedal in the third quarter, as the Falcons opened up a lead as big as 36 points, 46-10. Skyview coach Kevin Morales called the dogs off in the fourth quarter, as Skyview cruised on to Friday's semifinal round.
Sam Tranel and Cameron Ketchum led Skyview with 10 points apiece. Skyview also forced 16 turnovers, 12 of which were steals.
Skyview will play in Friday's semifinals against Great Falls High. Belgrade falls to loser-out action and will play Great Falls CMR Friday.
Great Falls High 56, Great Falls CMR 21
Thursday's final boys first-round game didn't take long to get out of hand. Great Falls High jumped out to a 17-1 lead over rival Great Falls CMR after the first quarter en route to a 56-21 victory to advance to the semifinals.
CMR made just one shot in the first half and trailed 28-4 at the break. The Rustlers would shoot just 16.7 percent for the game and turned the ball over 19 times.
The Bison hit seven 3-pointers, including four from Levi Torgerson, who finished with a game-high 20 points. Drew Wyman added a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double for Great Falls High. The Bison led by as many as 39 in the fourth quarter.
Great Falls High will face Billings Skyview in Friday's semifinals. Great Falls CMR will play Belgrade in loser-out action on Friday at 12:30 p.m.