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Southern B girls: Star underclassmen send Huntley Project, Baker to semifinals

Posted at 1:28 PM, Mar 02, 2023

BILLINGS — All four semifinalists are set at the Southern B girls divisional tournament, after two star underclassmen helped Huntley Project and Baker win quarterfinals Thursday morning at First Interstate Arena at MetraPark in Billings.

Huntley Project 66, Manhattan 43

Huntley Project used a 23-9 run spanning the second and third quarters to run away from Manhattan in a 66-43 win. Red Devils sophomore Paige Lofing scored 22 points with seven rebounds and five assists, and maybe most importantly, drew 10 fouls with her aggressive play. Maddison Akins had a double-double for Project with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Manhattan was within 15-14 midway through the second quarter after two nice assists from Haley Halvorsen to Gracie Millimen. Millimen led the Tigers with 16 points and 10 rebounds. But Huntley Project then pulled away as Lofing hit multiple threes in the run.

Huntley Project took 27 more shots than Manhattan, finishing 22-68 from the field compared to 16-41 for the Tigers. Turnovers also played a big factor: the Red Devils forced Manhattan into 20, while Project only committed seven.

Huntley Project moves on to Friday's semifinals, with a berth in the State B tournament on the line. Manhattan falls into loser-out play.

Madison O'Connor
Baker freshman Madison O'Connor is one of the leading scorers in the state.

Baker 65, Jefferson 37

Freshman Madison O'Connor scored 26 points, dished out seven assists, grabbed six rebounds and chipped in seven steals in a dominant performance as Baker rolled past Jefferson. O'Connor scored 20 in the second half to go along with five steals. She's been doing this all season for the Spartans.

Hope Gonsioroski added 12 points and five rebounds for Baker in the win.

Izzy Morris scored 17 of the Panthers' 37 points, including drawing a game-high 11 fouls. She also had five steals going toe-to-toe with O'Connor.

Baker will face Huntley Project at 3:00 p.m. Friday in the semifinals. Jefferson will face Manhattan in a loser-out game at 9:00 a.m.