MISSOULA—Mya Hansen had 21 points and Maria Stewart added 16 as the Billings Central girls beat rival Hardin 61-52 in the State A semifinal.
The win sent Central to the state title game for the third year in a row.
Hardin established some momentum after coming out firing from the 3-point line. The Bulldogs knocked down three triples in the first quarter to take a 11-9 lead, but Central found its footing in the second quarter. The Rams outscored the Bulldogs 17-8 in the second frame.
Still, the Rams were unable to fully separate, and Evelyn OldCoyote briefly gave the Bulldogs the lead late in the third with a baseline jumper.
The frenetic pace continued throughout the fourth. With the Rams up 53-50 with one minute to play, Solei Elletson found a seam and converted an old-fashioned three-point play to make it 56-50 in favor Central. It became a game of fouls and free throws the rest of the way.
Kamber GoodLuck led the way for Hardin with 21 points and Dierra TakesEnemy scored 10.
Central will play in the state championship at 8 p.m. Hardin falls to loser-out action against Browning at 10:30 a.m.
Havre 48, Dillon 39
The reigning Class A champion Havre girls took another step toward defending their title with a 48-39 win over Dillon in the State A semifinal on Friday.
The win secured Havre’s fourth title game appearance in the last five seasons.
Havre broke out to a 10-3 lead in the first quarter and a 23-14 lead at halftime behind a three-pronged attack of Sadie Filius, Avery Carlson and Jade Wendland.
The Blue Ponies’ lead swelled to as much as 20 in the third quarter, although Dillon battled back late in the fourth with a full-court press that gave Havre fits. The Ponies shot a measly 9-for-20 from the free throw line, allowing Dillon to crawl back to within seven points in the final minute thanks to some timely 3-pointers. Nonetheless, Havre was able to drain the clock and escape with the win.
Carlson and Wendland each had 13 points for the Ponies, while Filius added 12. Sydney Petersen led Dillon with nine points.
Sydney Petersen led the way for Dillon with nine points, while Ainsley Shipman added seven points and eight rebounds.
The Ponies will see Billings Central in Saturday’s championship in a rematch of the 2021 title game, which Havre won in double overtime. Dillon will play in a loser-out game against Miles City at 10:30 a.m.
Browning 71, Butte Central 63
Miles City 52, Hamilton 43