BILLINGS -- Hardin and Laurel punched tickets to Friday's semifinal round with first-round victories on Wednesday in the Eastern A girls basketball divisional tournament at First Interstate Arena at MetraPark. Hardin enacted a running clock in the fourth quarter, while Laurel rebounded from a slow start to put Glendive away in the second half.
Hardin 64, Lewistown 19
What a start to the postseason for the Hardin girls basketball team. The Bulldogs scored the first 29 points of the game against Lewistown, including a 27-0 first quarter, on their way to a 64-19 win to advance to the semifinals.
Marie Five poured in 11 first-quarter points to pace the Bulldogs, as Hardin opened up a 38-5 lead by halftime. Cindy Farmer was able to rest her starters in the fourth quarter with the game in hand.
Five led Hardin with 18 points. The Bulldogs also forced 22 Lewistown turnovers, 17 of those being steals. Hardin will play Laurel in Friday's semifinals.
Laurel 55, Glendive 40
Glendive opened up an early 11-2 lead over Laurel, but that was the lone bright spot for Glendive on Wednesday evening. Laurel outscored Glendive 53-29 after trailing early in the first quarter to win 55-40.
Laurel held just a one-point lead at halftime, but the Locomotives started to pull away in the final minutes of the third quarter. Maeson Cotter buried a triple from NBA range and Sophia Timm hit a layup as the third-quarter horn sounded to give the Locomotives a nine-point lead.
Cotter would bury another long-range bomb to help push the Laurel lead to as many as 17 early in the fourth quarter. Glendive was out-rebounded by the smaller Locomotives 33-30, and Laurel knocked down nine 3-pointers, including 7 of 8 in the second half.
Cotter and Timm led Laurel with 11 points apiece, while Sammi Spitzer added nine. Savannah Toms had 19 points and seven rebounds to lead Glendive.
Laurel will play Southeast A foe Hardin in Friday's semifinals.