BILLINGS — The Columbus Cougars and Big Timber Herders will play at least one more week after winning semifinals at the Southern B girls basketball divisional tournament on Friday inside First Interstate Arena and clinching berths to the State B tournament.
BIG TIMBER 46, Roundup 35
Big Timber scored 30 of its 46 points after halftime, led by 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting by sophomore Bailey Finn, as the Herders ran away from Roundup 46-35 in the second semifinal of the day.
Finn finished with a game-high 16 points plus seven rebounds. Emily Cooley added 12 and six rebounds while Hailee Brandon chipped in 10 points.
The teams played an even first half. Big Timber led 16-15 as neither shot the ball very well -- Roundup was just 5 of 20 (25%) from the field, with the Herders at 8 of 24 (33.3%). The offenses got on track in the third, combining for 31 points to match the 31 in the entire first half.
It was just a one-point game -- 30-29 -- with under a minute to play in the third quarter, before Finn got a friendly roll on a 3-pointer to put Big Timber up 33-29 going into the fourth. Roundup, however, went cold again over the final eight minutes, scoring just six points.
Tia Stahl led the Panthers with 13 points, with Blythe Sealey adding 12 and Meghan Eiselein chipping in 10, but the team shot just 10 of 41 from the field (24.4%).
Big Timber is back in the State B tournament for the second straight year after reaching the state semis in 2020. The Herders advance to Saturday's Southern B championship at 6 p.m.
Roundup will play Colstrip in a loser-out game Saturday morning at 9 a.m. The winner will play for the South's final state berth in the consolation final.
COLUMBUS 43, Whitehall 34
After trailing 26-22 late in the third quarter, Columbus went on a 19-3 run, thanks largely to a defense that racked up 13 steals and forced 20 turnovers, to put away Whitehall 43-34.
Five different Cougars recorded multiple steals, led by three each from Sawyer Wiggs and Payton West. The two turned a lot of those into points, combining for 36 of Columbus' 43 total. Brooklyn Wyllie added 13 rebounds, including six on the offensive end.
The game was close for the first 28 minutes, as there were five lead changes and six ties. Columbus led 13-12 at half, but Whitehall came out hot in the third, taking a four-point lead on two separate occasions. The Cougars tied it by the end of the third, paving the way for a fourth-quarter run.
Jada Clarkson led Whitehall with 14 points and five assists but also committed six turnovers.
Columbus is headed to state for the second time in six years. After winning the Southern B title in 2019, the Cougars will play for the title again Saturday against Big Timber.
Whitehall will face Joliet in a loser-out game Saturday at 9 a.m. at Lockwood High School. The winner will play for the South's final state berth in the consolation final.