The Billings Central girls basketball team shook off a slow start to eventually down rival Laurel on the road on Tuesday night, 49-43, to clinch the Southeastern A regular-season title.
Laurel burst out of the gates, grabbing a 13-9 lead after the first quarter and stretching that to 25-16 by halftime courtesy of four 3-pointers. Central, though, wasn't going to go quietly.
The Rams opened the second half on an 11-0 run to grab a 27-25 lead, but the Locomotives answered right back, grabbing a 35-33 lead entering the fourth quarter after a Becky Melcher triple just before the buzzer.
Central standout junior Mya Hansen went to work to open the fourth quarter, though, as she scored the Rams' first seven points of the quarter to put the Rams in front. With the game tied at 42-all, Central's Lily Bland went baseline for a layup to give the Rams a lead they wouldn't relinquish, as they sealed the game from the free throw line down the stretch.
Hansen led all scorers with 21 points, making 12 of her 13 attempts from the foul line. Isabelle Erickson had 12 points for the Rams. Melcher led Laurel with 12 points, while freshman Emma Timm had 10.
Central will be the top seed from the conference at next weekend's Eastern A divisional tournament at First Interstate Arena at MetraPark.