BILLINGS — On Wednesday afternoon, the first round of the State C girls basketball tournament kicked off in Billings at Lockwood High School with Saco-Whitewater-Hinsdale and Roy-Winifred advancing to the semifinal round.
Check out the photo gallery from the first round here.
(1E) Saco-Whitewater-Hinsdale 66, (2S) Jordan 27
In the first game to kick off the tournament, Saco-Whitewater-Hinsdale was aiming to stay undefeated against Jordan.
The Mavericks jumped out to an 11-6 lead in the first quarter over Jordan and that would be more than enough. They would go on a tear in the second quarter, shooting 66% and playing relentless defense, swiping 13 steals in the first half. They outscored Jordan 25-0 in the second quarter to take a 36-6 lead heading into the half en route to a 66-27 win.
Saco-Whitewater-Hinsdale senior Kia Wasson (12 points) and Kaitlyn McColly (11 points) helped propel the team to their hot first-half start.
The Mavericks cruised from there to remain undefeated, and they're moving on to the semifinals, which take place at 5:30 p.m on Thursday.
Wasson would finish with a team-high 18 points, and McColly had 16.
Lindsay Lawrence had a team-high 10 points for the Mustangs.
(2N) Roy-Winifred 39, (1W) Seeley Swan 31
The Blackhawks came into the game undefeated after beating Manhattan Christian for the Western C division title last week. But Roy-Winifred, the reigning Class C co-state champion, had different plans, as the Outlaws earned a 39-31 win in Wednesday's first round.
In the first half, Seeley-Swan controlled the boards (22-16) and had eight steals compared to the Outlaws' four. However, Roy-Winifred found itself with a 20-13 halftime lead thanks to the Blackhawks only shooting 21% from the floor, while the Outlaws shot 45%.
In the second half, Roy-Winifred pushed its lead into double digits, heading into the fourth quarter up 31-19.
The Blackhawks would cut the deficit to six points, 37-31, with less than a minute left, but the Outlaws would hold on to win 39-31 and upset the No. 1 seed from the West.
The Outlaws take on Saco-Whitewater-Hinsdale in the semifinals at 5:30 p.m on Thursday.
Roy-Winifred junior Madeline Heggem had a game-high 18 points and was one rebound shy of a double-double. Freshman Isabelle Heggem did finish with a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Bethany Hoag had a team-high 11 points for Seeley-Swan.
(2W) Manhattan Christian 56, (1S) Melstone 32
Manhattan Christian entered the Class C girls basketball state tournament having lost only one game all season, a 57-51 setback against Seeley-Swan for the Western C title, and was hoping to defeat two-loss Melstone in the first round on Wednesday.
Melstone started out the game with an 8-6 lead over the Eagles to end the first quarter. However, Manhattan Christian's post players took control of the game after that and the Eagles cruised to a 56-32 win.
Senior Eliana Kuperus (8) and junior Kiersten Van Kirk (7) combined for 15 of the Eagles' 26 points in the first half as the Eagles took a 26-12 lead into the break. Their swarming defense didn't let Melstone score a single point from the field in the second quarter, as all four points came from the free throw line.
At the end of the third quarter Manhattan Christian had extended its lead to 42-23 and cruised from there.
Kuperus led the Eagles with a game-high 13 points. Junior Kayla Kobol had a team-high nine points for Melstone.
Manhattan Christian moves on to the semifinals, and that game takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday night.
(1N) Fort Benton 51, (2E) Plentywood 46
Fort Benton started the game out scorching hot, jumping out to a 9-0 lead just minutes into the game. Plentywood would come roaring back, though, to take a second-half lead before the Longhorns rallied to net a 51-46 win in the first round of the Class C girls basketball state tournament.
The Wildcats cut the early deficit to 16-13 by the end of the first quarter and then found themselves with a 23-20 halftime lead, thanks in large part to junior Liv Wangerin scoring 10 points in the first half. The Wildcats shot 62% (5 of 8) from beyond the 3-point arc in the first half, while the Longhorns made only 39% of their field goals.
At the end of the third quarter, Plentywood had a 38-33 lead, but Fort Benton started the fourth quarter on a 12-1 run to pull ahead 45-39 with about four minutes remaining in the game. The Longhorns would hang on for dear life and win 51-46.
Senior Aspen Giese had a team-high 17 points for Fort Benton. Another senior, Abby Clark, had 12 points and seven rebounds for the Longhorns, which helped Fort Benton out-rebound Plentywood 30-20.
Wangerin had a game-high 18 points for Plentywood, which will Melstone in a loser-out game at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
Fort Benton next takes on Manhattan Christian in the semifinals at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday night.