GREAT FALLS -- The State A basketball tournaments kicked off Wednesday at the Four Seasons Arena with opening-round girls action. In the early games, the Havre girls easily dispatched Hamilton, while Columbia Falls defeated Glendive with a strong defensive second half.
In the late games, Hardin made quick work of Ronan, while Billings Central recorded 20 steals to take down Whitefish handily.
Havre 54, Hamilton 37
The Havre girls used a stifling full-court press to break out to an early lead and never looked back, defeating Hamiton 54-37 in the opening round of the State A tournament.
Havre led 15-3 at the end of one quarter and pushed it to 30-11 by halftime. Yelena Miller and Kylie Walker each had 10 points for the Blue Ponies, while Layne Kearns had a game-high 23 points for Hamilton.
The Blue Ponies move on to Thursday's 5:30 p.m. semifinal game. Hamilton will play a loser-out game on Thursday at 1 p.m.
Columbia Falls 37, Glendive 21
Columbia Falls broke away in the second half to beat Glendive 37-21 in the first round of action at the State A girls tournament.
Columbia Falls held the Red Devils scoreless for most of the first quarter, building a 14-2 lead. But Glendive returned the favor in the second quarter, holding the Wildkats to just three points and closing the deficit to 17-12.
In the second half, the Wildkats quickly increased the lead to double digits and kept it there before pulling away late in the fourth quarter for the their largest lead of the game.
No one scored in double figures for either team. Maddie Robinson led the Wildkats with nine points, while Codi Nagle had eight for Glendive.
Columbia Falls advances to the semifinal game against Havre at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday. Glendive will play Hamilton in a loser-out game on Thursday at 1 p.m.
Hardin 66, Ronan 38
Hardin used balanced scoring to dominate from start to finish, defeating Ronan 66-38 to advance to the semifinal round in the State A tournament.
Hardin built a 28-10 halftime lead. Ronan finally saw shots start to fall in the second half, but the Bulldogs saved their biggest quarter for last, outscoring the Maidens 22-17 in the frame.
Nevaeh Alden led the Bulldogs with 14 points and Kylee Old Elk had 12 points and four assists. Breanna Old Elk scored 11. In total, 10 Bulldogs found their way into the scoring column. Jay Lunceford had seven points to lead Ronan.
Hardin moves on to Thursday's semifinal game against Billings Central at 7:30 p.m. Ronan will play in a loser-out game Thursday at 3:30 p.m.
Billings Central 57, Whitefish 35
Mya Hansen scored 21 points and recorded seven steals to help Billings Central to a 57-35 first-round win over Whitefish.
After leading 13-11 at the end of the first quarter, the Rams held Whitefish to just three points in the second quarter to take a 29-14 lead into the break. Central controlled it the rest of the way, recording 20 steals as a team.
Belle Erickson followed Hansen with 15 points for the Rams. Gracie Smyley finished with 10 points for Whitefish.
Billings Central will play Hardin in the semifinal round on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Whitefish will play Ronan Thursday at 3:30 p.m. in loser-out action.