The Billings Skyview girls basketball team led by 24 points at halftime en route to a 70-37 win over Great Falls CMR on Thursday night in a Class AA play-in game. The Skyview boys led by as many as 25 in the first half against Belgrade, as the Falcons topped the Panthers 64-35. With the wins, both teams punched their tickets to next weekend's State AA boys and girls basketball tournaments in Great Falls.
Billings Skyview 70, Great Falls CMR 37 (Girls)
Billings Skyview's girls were dominant on Thursday night.
The Falcons led 37-13 at halftime and never looked back, defeating Great Falls CMR 70-37 to advance to the State AA girls basketball tournament next weekend in Great Falls.
"We are so excited. (CMR) knocked us out of the state tournament last year, so we knew we had that little bit of grit coming in," Skyview junior Brooke Berry said. "We're trying to prove ourselves and make some noise at the state tournament."
Skyview, the No. 3 seed out of the Eastern AA in the regular season, raced to a 19-9 advantage after the first quarter but really blew it open in the second. A pair of 3-pointers by MG Spotted Bear and Cami Harris ignited Skyview and sparked an 18-4 second quarter to effectively put the game away.
"We have been in the position before that CMR was in," Berry said. "We know it's not over, that anything is possible, so we just have to keep inching away, keep on making plays and playing our game and not play down to someone else's level."
The Falcons had an extremely balanced attack on Thursday night, putting three players in double figures and nine of its 12 players in the scoring column. Freshman Breanna Williams and Berry led Skyview with 15 points apiece, while Harris added 12 and Spotted Bear had nine.
"(Williams) has been huge, not only these last couple games but all season," Berry said. "Adding her to our program has definitely increased our play. It's just the missing piece that we needed. We ask a lot of her being a freshman, but she steps up."
Skyview advances to next weekend's State AA tournament and will play Helena Capital in the first round.
Billings Skyview 64, Belgrade 35 (Boys)
The Billings Skyview boys were equally impressive on Thursday evening.
The Falcons led visiting Belgrade by as many as 25 in the opening half on their way to an emphatic 64-35 victory to punch their ticket to next weekend's State AA boys basketball tournament in Great Falls.
"I've been playing with these guys, all the seniors on the team, for five years now. We kept telling each other that this wasn't going to be our last game together. We had confidence in each other, confidence in our team and coaches and we're super happy to be going back to the state tournament," Skyview senior Abe Seybert said. "In a divisional tournament we have a little leeway, but it's win or go home. We knew Belgrade well coming in, we were pretty confident and our goal was to jump on them early."
Skyview, the No. 2 seed out of the Eastern AA in the regular season, led by nine after the first quarter but boat-raced the Panthers in the second quarter 19-6 to take a commanding 37-15 lead into the locker room.
Nearly every Skyview player scored. Cam Ketchum was the lone Falcon in double figures, finishing with 17 points. Belgrade's Ta'Veus Randle led all scorers with 22 points.
"We're super close as a team. We all believe in each other. These young guys coming in, they push us in practice every day," Seybert said. "They make us better. Then when they come in they're able to step up and make their shots."
Skyview will play Butte in the opening round of the state tournament.