LAUREL — Bridger won a hotly contested battle with Melstone to remain unbeaten and advance to the Southern C boys basketball divisional title game, while Broadus survived a 17-point fourth-quarter comeback by Harlowton-Ryegate to set up Saturday's championship game.
Bridger 49, Melstone 43
Bridger is still perfect and will play for the Southern C title on Saturday night.
The Scouts held off Melstone in the semifinals on Friday night in Laurel, 49-43, despite Bryce Grebe's 27 points for the Broncs.
It looked like a game that could be played in the mid-60s after the first half, as the two sides traded scores as Bridger built a 30-28 advantage. It slowed to a grind in the second half, though, as Bridger would grab a 37-34 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Bridger led by two midway through the frame when Grebe buried a 3-pointer to put the Broncs in front. That was their final lead, though, as Quin Gillespie had an answer for Bridger with his own 3-pointer to put the Scouts ahead 42-40. Melstone had a chance to cut into Bridger's 45-42 lead with less than a minute to play, but Grebe missed a fade-away jumper from the left elbow and Rod Zentner sprinted out for a layup on the other end.
The Scouts had a huge size advantage down low and beat up the Broncs on the glass, out-rebounding Melstone 38-26. Bridger had three players in double figures, led by Baylor Pospisil's 13 points. Gillespie and Jace Weimer each had 11. Grebe ripped down seven rebounds to go along with his game-high point total.
Bridger will play at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday night against Broadus. Melstone falls to loser-out action and will take on Plenty Coups on Saturday morning.
Broadus 74, Harlowton-Ryegate 64 (OT)
Broadus nearly let a chance at the Southern C title slip through its hands.
The Hawks led by as many as 24 points and were up 17 at the beginning of the fourth quarter but had to survive a massive comeback from the Engineers to pull out an overtime win, 74-64.
Harlowton-Ryegate was clutch down the stretch, as Johnny Mysse buried a pair of triples and Joseph Alvarez hit another to eventually push the Engineers in front, 58-55, for their first lead of the game with under three minutes to play.
Marcus Mader answered with a three-point play to put Broadus ahead, but a basket and two free throws from Jason Toddhunter had Harlowton-Ryegate up three with under 15 seconds remaining. Broadus, though, had its own heroics.
Johnny Richards hit a 3-pointer from NBA range with six seconds to play to force overtime. The Hawks out-scored the Engineers 12-2 in the extra period to punch their ticket to Saturday night's title contest against Bridger.
Sophomore Dillion Gee had a massive double-double for the Hawks, posting 34 points and 17 rebounds on 13-of-22 shooting. Mader scored 25 points and ripped down nine rebounds. He also hit 11 of his 16 free throw attempts. Alvarez, a freshman, led the Engineers with 17 points.
Bridger and Broadus are slated to tip off at 7:30 p.m. Harlowton-Ryegate will move to loser-out action and take on Wibaux on Saturday morning.