GREAT FALLS — The Big Sandy boys used a strong defensive second half while Belt cruised from tip-off as each team advanced on the first day of the Northern C tournament at Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls.
Like the Husky boys, the Belt girls dominated from start to finish to move on to the semifinals. Meanwhile, Hays-Lodgepole used a 35-11 run from the middle of the first quarter to advance.
Big Sandy 58, Centerville 54 (boys play-in game)
Big Sandy held Centerville to just eight points in the fourth quarter to win in comeback fashion 58-54.
Clint Darlington scored 31 points and added 17 rebounds to lead the Pioneers.
Centerville led 32-22 at the break on the strength of Carson McGinness's 18 first-half points, but the Pioneer defense stepped up in the second half, allowing just eight more points to the senior.
Big Sandy, the 3-seed from the 9C, advances to play 10C champion Heart Butte in first-round action on Thursday. Centerville will play Sunburst on Thursday at 8:00 a.m.
Belt 54, Sunburst 27 (boys first round)
Aidan McDaniel scored 17 and added four assists to lead Belt to an opening-round 54-27 win over Sunburst.
Belt held Sunburst scoreless for almost the entire first quarter, allowing just one free throw to take a 22-1 lead. The Huskies again held Sunburst to single-digit scoring in the third and fourth quarters, allowing seven points.
Bridger Vogl and Kaimin Evans each scored 14 for Belt, who advances to play the winner of Thursday's Fort Benton-Simms game in the semifinals.
Josh Kearns led Sunburst with 12 points.
Hays-Lodgepole 40 , Denton-Geyser-Stanford 24 (girls play-in game)
After trailing by one at halftime, the Hays-Lodgepole girls held Denton-Geyser-Stanford to just six second-half points on their way to a 40-24 win.
Nashone Shambo led the Thunderbirds with 11 points and Sydney Von Bergen matched with 11 for DGS.
Hays-Lodgepole moves on to play 10C champion Augusta on Thursday. The Elks are making their first divisonal tournament appearance since 1981.
Belt 66, Valier 15 (girls first-round)
The Belt girls tallied 18 assists and nine players found their way into the scoring column as the Huskies beat Valier in decisive fashion, 66-15.
Brooke Schraner led Belt with 13 points and Shelby Paulson scored 11. Erica Ramsey scored seven points for Valier.
Belt plays the winner of Thursday's Fort Benton-Simms game, while Valier plays Denton-Geyser-Stanford in loser-out action at 11 a.m.