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Northern C boys: Box Elder, Belt win semifinal games to set up championship bout

Posted at 5:44 PM, Feb 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-23 21:26:44-05

GREAT FALLS — The Box Elder and Belt boys basketball teams advanced to the championship game of the Northern C divisional tournament with semifinal wins Friday at Four Seasons Arena. The Bears ran away from Winnett-Grass Range for a 69-41 win, while Belt held off Chester-Joplin-Inverness 62-53.

Box Elder 69, Winnett-Grass Range 41

Box Elder topped Winnett-Grass Range to advance to the Northern C title game.

Box Elder scored the first 15 points of the game and never looked back in a 69-41 win over Winnett-Grass Range to punch its ticket to the Northern C divisional championship.

The Bears, who improved to 22-0 with win the win, led 22-4 at the end of the first quarter behind a pressure defense that forced the Rams into multiple turnovers leading to easy Box Elder points. WGR had 24 turnovers in the game.

Star Tracen Jilot led Box Elder with 26 points, five assists and six steals. Tuarie Stiffarm-Rosette scored 14 points, and Julian Henry had 11. The Bears will play Belt in the championship game at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

Winnett-Grass Range was led by Jace Bantz, who scored 16 points and grabbed 18 rebounds. The Rams fall to loser-out play and will meet Heart Butte at 8 a.m. Saturday. The Warriors defeated Dutton-Brady 54-44 in a loser-out game Friday.

Belt 62, Chester-Joplin-Inverness 53

Reese Paulson
Belt's Reese Paulson drives to the basket against Chester-Joplin-Inverness in the semifinal round of the Northern C boys basketball divisional tournament at Four Seasons Arena on Feb. 23, 2024.

Belt built a big first-quarter lead and then held off Chester-Joplin-Inverness 62-53 in a Friday semifinal game to advance to the Northern C divisional championship game.

The athletic Huskies built a 19-7 lead in the first quarter and led by as many 15 points in the game, but CJI got back within single digits in the second half before Belt was able to secure the win in the fourth quarter. Four Huskies — Reese Paulson (15 points), Ethan Triplett (12), Jeremy Nebel (12) and Walker Maki (10) — finished in double figures. Paulson added five rebounds, four assists and two blocks to his stat line.

Ryland St. John scored 16 points and Nate Nelson added 14 to lead CJI, which falls to loser-out play with the loss. The Hawks will play Roy-Winifred at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

Belt will play Box Elder in the championship game. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

Friday loser-out scores

Roy-Winifred 67, Cascade 46

Heart Butte 54, Dutton-Brady 44

This story will be updated.