GREAT FALLS — The State A boys basketball tournament got started at the Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls on Wednesday. Laurel and Dillon each broke out in the second half to advance to the semifinals. The other first-round boys games (Lewistown vs. Polson and Billings Central vs. Butte Central) take place Thursday morning.
Laurel 62, Ronan 44
Richard Cortese scored 22 points and Ty Barta added 15 as the Laurel boys pulled away from Ronan to earn a 62-44 win in the first round of the State A boys basketball tournament.
The game was back and forth in the first half, featuring four ties and three lead changes. Laurel broke the 24-24 halftime score and separated for good in the third quarter.
Leonard Burke had 12 for the Chiefs.
Laurel will face Dillon on Friday night in the semifinals. Ronan moves to a loser-out game against Hardin Friday morning.
Dillon 53, Hardin 32
The Dillon boys used a dominant defensive second half to take down Hardin 53-32 in the opening round of the State A boys basketball tournament.
Dillon immediately jumped out to a lead, but Hardin responded with a run of its own to take a 13-12 lead at the end of the first. The Beavers led 25-19 at halftime and used swarming defense in the second half to create easy transition buckets. Dillon held Hardin to just four points in the fourth quarter.
Jonathan Kirkley had 16 points for the Beavers, while Jace Fitzgerald added 13. No one scored in double figures for Hardin, but Bryson Rogers and Hance Three Irons each had nine points.
Dillon will take on Laurel in the semifinal round on Friday at 5:30 p.m. Hardin faces Ronan in loser-out action Friday at 9 a.m.