(Editor's note: This story will be updated throughout the day with game recaps and video highlights.)
BILLINGS - Missoula Sentinel built a strong second-half run and cut a double-digit deficit to just two before second-seeded Billings West survived their opening round State AA Girls Tournament game 58-48 Thursday morning at First Interstate Arena.
The Spartans connected on just two field goals in the first half and trailed 28-16 at break. The took the lead on a field goal 1:22 into the game, then beat the halftime buzzer for their only other basket.
But the third quarter was a different story as Sentinel went to work and trimmed it to two. The Bears responded with a run into the fourth capped by Halle Haber's three-pointer with 3:51 left to open the lead back to 10. They iced it with free throws.
West's Taylee Chirrick led all scores with 22 points and 14 rebounds. Bella Murphy was next for the Bears with 10.
The Spartans had two players hit double digits in scoring with Emily McElmurry's 12 and Megan Hamilton's 10.
Missoula Hellgate 71, Great Falls CMR 27
Hellgate enacted a running clock on Great Falls CMR in the fourth quarter on its way to a 71-27 win to earn a berth in Friday's semifinal against Billings West.
Hellgate opened up a 33-16 halftime lead but blew the game open in the third quarter, out-scoring CMR 26-7 to open up a 36-point lead. CMR turned the ball over 18 times and attempted 19 shots.
The Knights had several players in the scoring column, including three in double figures. Addy Heaphy led the way with 13 points, while Bailee Sayler added 12 and Alex Covill had 10. Five more Knights scored at least five points.
Missoula Hellgate and Billings West are slated to play Friday at 3:30 p.m. in the semifinals. CMR will play Missoula Sentinel at 9 a.m. in loser-out action.
Billings Senior 55, Kalispell Flathead 47
Billings Senior pulled away from Kalispell Flathead in the fourth quarter for a 55-47 win to advance to Friday's semifinals of the State AA girls basketball tournament.
Senior's nine-point halftime advantage was cut to two, 33-31, late in the third quarter, but Senior answered with a big run of its own to push its lead to double digits midway through the fourth quarter.
The Broncs were able to take that nine-point lead into the locker room thanks to holding the Bravettes to just 25.8 percent shooting in the opening half and out-rebounding Flathead by eight, 21-13.
Allie Cummings led Senior with 16 points. Brenna Linse had 10 points and 12 rebounds, as did Lauren Cummings. Kennedy Moore led Flathead with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Billings Skyview 57, Butte 39
Eastern AA champion Billings Skyview continues to roll.
The Falcons led Butte by 19 at halftime and cruised to a 57-39 win over the Bulldogs in the opening round of the State AA tournament. Skyview will face rival Billings Senior in Friday's semifinal at 5 p.m.
Skyview didn't shoot exceptionally well, just 44.2 percent from the floor, but they made 15 of 18 attempts from the foul line and held Butte to 34 percent shooting.
Brooke Berry and Breanna Williams led the way for Skyview with 15 points apiece and Cami Harris added 11. Ashley Olson and Kodie Hoagland led Butte with 10.
Butte will face Kalispell Flathead in loser-out action on Friday.
Updated scores and pairings can be found here.