HELENA — With eight teams converging on the PE Center at Carroll College in Helena, it marked the beginning of the Western AA divisional girls basketball tournament, but only four will advance to the State AA Tournament in Billings.
1) Missoula Hellgate 65, 8) Kalispell Glacier 36
In the first game of the Western AA divisional girls tournament, it was all Missoula Hellgate en route to a 65-36 win over Kalispell Glacier.
The Hellgate Knights had four players reach double-digit points in the effort with Alex Covill leading the charge with 12 points, six rebounds, and two blocks.
The Knights got rolling early on both sides of the ball jumping out to a 20-6 lead through one quarter before the Wolfpack showed a bit of life and held the deficit steady at 33-19 at the half.
Though the second half, the Knights maintained their dominance outscoring the Wolfpack 32-17 in the last half of the game.
Noah Fincher led the Wolfpack with 12 points and five rebounds.
4) Helena High 66, 5) Missoula Sentinel 63
Up next, the Helena High Bengals and Sentinel Spartans.
Three Bengals hit double digits points to edge out their 3-point win. Avery Kraft lead in points with 17, followed by Maloree English and Alex Bullock with 10.
Sentinels' achilles heel? Fouls. They couldn't keep the Bengals off the line, allowing what was once an 11-11 game to become a 17-11 game. The Bengals lead at the half 30-22.
The Spartans almost had a comeback in the second half getting within two points with under two minutes left.
But they did it again, sending Helena players to the line allowing them to inch away point by point.
Kraft leads her team in free throws with 12, going 11/12 from the line.
3) Helena Capital 28, 6) Butte 24
In a grind of a game, the Helena Capital girls pulled out a 28-24 victory over the Butte Bulldogs.
The game started off rough for the Capital faithful as the Bruins failed to record a single point in the first quarter, though the Bulldogs didn't do much better only scoring four.
Both teams found a bit of life in the second with the Bulldogs and Bruins scoring nine points apiece to give the Bulldogs a 13-9 lead at the half.
The final two minutes of the game proved to be relatively eventful as Capital's Jada Clarkson stacked five of her 10 points for the Bruins to give them a five-point lead over Butte with about a minute left in the game. Butte's Kodie Hoagland saw an opportunity to pull Butte back within two points with a three-pointer and nailed it with about 45 seconds left to play.
Forced to foul, Bulldogs sent Kayla Almquist to the line who sank the two must make free throws to give Capital the four-point lead and eventual four-point victory.
Hoagland led the Bulldogs with 7 points.
2) Kalispell Flathead 48, 7) Missoula Big Sky 39
The Big Sky Eagles were looking to follow the Helena High boys' victory over Glacier and pick up the second upset of the day, but couldn't quite get it done against the Kalispell Flathead Bravettes.
The Bravettes led at the half 21-19, thanks to Kennedy Moore who had six points in the first half.
The Bravettes were able to keep their momentum, winning 48-39.