BUTTE — The Class AA state tournament got underway at the Butte Civic Center on Thursday. Kalispell Glacier, Billings West, Bozeman and Missoula Hellgate all won in the first round to advance to Friday's semifinals.
Kalispell Glacier 65, Billings Skyview 48
Glacier controlled the game from start to finish. The Wolfpack quickly jumped out to an 8-0 lead until the Falcons offense woke up but still it was Glacier who led at the end of the first quarter, 13-7.
The Wolfpack started the second quarter with a 7-0 scoring run to go up 20-7 and went into the half leading 30-16. The Falcons found some offensive rhythm in the third quarter but couldn't slow down the Wolfpack offense as they extended their lead to go up 46-29 heading into the fourth quarter.
Glacier continued to pile it on and went on to ride out the early lead they built up to comfortably win 65-48 and secure a semifinal berth in style. The Wolfpack were led by Kaidrian Buls who finished with 15 points including three 3-pointers.
The Falcons were paced by Lane Love who led all players with 16 points.
Billings West 62, Missoula Big Sky 34
Big Sky jumped out to an early 7-4 lead but that was enough to poke the bear and Billings West proceeded to close out the opening quarter and go up 13-7.
The Golden Bears carried that momentum in the second quarter and wound up on a 34-4 scoring run to close out the half after trailing early on and they led 38-11. The third quarter closed with West still dominating up 49-23.
The Bears ended up closing out the game with a commanding 62-34 win to punch their ticket to the semifinals. West was led by Cooper Tyson who finished with 12 points.
Missoula Big Sky was led by Josiah Cuaresma who had 11 points.
Bozeman 77, Butte High 63
It was a tale of two halves between Bozeman and Butte. At the conclusion of the first quarter it was a back-and-forth contest but Butte led 15-12. The Bulldogs extended their lead into the second quarter and led by seven at the half, up 34-27 over the Hawks.
In the third quarter it was all Bozeman as the Hawks outscored the Bulldogs 29-19 to go up 56-53 and give them their first lead of the day heading into the fourth quarter.
The Hawks continued to ride their momentum in the fourth quarter out to a big 77-63 win and punched their ticket to the semifinals thanks to a monstrous 50 point second half.
Bozeman was led by Kash Embry who finished with 20 points. Butte was led by Hudson Luedtke who had 16 points.
Missoula Hellgate 63, Bozeman Gallatin 57
Hellgate and Gallatin played the closest game of the day, and it came down to the final minutes.
Hellgate started the game out strong and led 21-14 at the end of the first quarter. The Raptors got rolling in the second quarter and held the Knights to only five points over eight minutes and tied things up at 26 going into the half.
It was neck-and-neck until the end of the third quarter when Hellgate went on 13-6 scoring run to close out the quarter with a 43-39 lead. From there the Knights managed to hang onto the lead and despite a late push from the Raptors pull away with the win 63-57 to secure the final semifinal berth.
Hellgate was led by Easton Sant who had a huge 23-point game. Gallatin was led by Eli Hunter, who led all boys players on the day with a monstrous 27 point game thanks to five 3-pointers.