GREAT FALLS — The 2021 State AA girls basketball tournament continued with first-round action on Thursday. The Bozeman High girls held off Missoula Sentinel in overtime, while Missoula Hellgate, the Western AA's top seed, dominated Great Falls High to advance.
Bozeman 48, Missoula Sentinel 45 (OT)
Gabby Klein scored 20 points and Bozeman outlasted Missoula Sentinel 48-45 in overtime in the first round of the State AA girls basketball tournament.
Sentinel held 16-14 lead at halftime, though neither team shot the ball well early. The Spartans shot just 9.5% from the field in the first half, with 12 of their points coming from free throws. Meanwhile, Bozeman shot only 16% in the first half.
The Hawks woke up in the third quarter, led by Klein, who scored 14 of her 20 in the second half. Bozeman went on an 11-2 run in the third to claim its largest lead of the game at 25-18. But the Spartans continued to attack the basket and draw fouls. Sentinel attempted 20 free throws in the second half (including overtime) and briefly retook the lead late in the fourth.
Tied 33-33 in the final minute, Sentinel had a chance to win at the buzzer, but Kodi Fraser's 3-pointer drew iron. In overtime with Bozeman trailing by one, Nicole D'Agostino hit a clutch 3-pointer to give the Hawks the lead, which they wouldn't relinquish again.
Brooke Stayner led the Spartans with 13 points, while Challis Westwater had 11.
Bozeman will play in the semifinal against Missoula Hellgate on Friday at 7:30 p.m. Sentinel will face Great Falls in loser-out action at 11 a.m. Friday.
Missoula Hellgate 46, Great Falls High 27
In contrast to the rest of the field, the Missoula Hellgate girls wasted no time getting comfortable at the State AA tournament, handily beating Great Falls High 46-27 in the opening round.
Hellgate dominated the opening quarter, building a 16-2 lead. The Knights held Great Falls without a field goal until midway through the second quarter, when Kendal Burcham hit a 3-pointer from the wing. Great Falls had momentarily cut the deficit back to 10, but Hellgate was too much, using smothering defense to extend the lead to 19 points in the second half.
Addy Heaphy led the Knights with 12 points, while Bailee Sayler had 10. Alison Harris was the only Bison in double figures with 11 points.
Missoula Hellgate will play Bozeman in Friday's 7:30 p.m. semifinal.
Great Falls will play Sentinel in a loser-out game Friday at 11 a.m.