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Western A girls: Browning, Frenchtown advance to semifinals; Hamilton, Dillon win late quarterfinals

Browning celebrate.jpg
Posted at 5:53 PM, Feb 23, 2023

RONAN — The Western A divisional girls basketball tournament got underway at Ronan High School on Thursday. Here are the recaps as well as highlights in the videos above:

Dillon 62, Ronan 26

The Dillon Beavers were the final girls team to punch their ticket to the Western A semifinal round as they cruised past Ronan 62-26.

Four players scored in double-figures for Dillon as Sydney Petersen led the way with 13, Kenleigh Graham had 11 and Kylie Konen and Ariel Thomas each had 10. The Beavers shot out of the gates fast and led 35-15 at halftime.

Dillon, the No. 1 seed out of the Southwest A, will face Hamilton in the semifinals on Friday at 5 p.m.

Arianna Zepeda led Ronan with nine. The Maidens, the No. 4 seed out of the Northwest A, will face Polson in a loser-out game at 10:30 a.m. on Friday.

Hamilton 48, Polson 43

The Hamilton Broncs held off a furious rally by Polson in the third girls game at the Western A, and they advanced to the semifinals with a 48-43 win over the Pirates.

Taryn Searle led the way for Hamilton with 17 points and Taylor McCarthy added nine as the Broncs were in control for most of the game. Hamilton led 30-19 at halftime and ballooned its lead to as much as 15 in the third quarter.

The Pirates rallied late however, getting within two possessions multiple times but were unable to break through with a bucket as Hamilton held on. The Broncs — the No. 3 seed out of the Southwest — will take on the winner of Dillon and Ronan on Friday at 5 p.m. in the semifinal round.

Mila Hawk led Polson with 15 points. The Pirates — the No. 2 seed out of the Northwest — will play either Dillon or Ronan in a loser-out game at 10:30 a.m. on Friday.

Browning 65, Stevensville 54

Top-seeded Browning survived a brief scare from Stevensville, but rallied thanks to a huge game from Mecca Bullchild to win 65-54.

Bullchild scored 30 points for Browning, the Northwest's top seed. Kalcie Connelly added 11 and Amari Calf Robe-Thomas chipped in 10 as Browning advanced to the semifinal round.

Browning led 17-11 after coming out firing in the first quarter, but their offense stalled in the second as the Yellowjackets responded and took a 26-24 lead into halftime.

The third quarter was back-and-forth but Browning went into the fourth quarter up 40-37 and never looked back as Bullchild scored 16 of her points in the final frame.

Browning will meet Frenchtown in the semifinals at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Stevensville, the No. 4 seed in the Southwest A, will play Columbia Falls in a loser-out game at 9 a.m. on Friday. Claire Hutchison led the Yellowjackets with 20 points and Cambree Praast added 11.

Frenchtown 51, Columbia Falls 35

The Frenchtown and Columbia Falls girls basketball teams opened the Western A tournament on Thursday, and the Broncs got the win, 51-35.

Sadie Smith scored 23 points for the Broncs, including their first eight in the second half as Frenchtown led 38-22 midway through the third quarter and never looked back.

Haylee Kaufman added 12 for the Broncs and Madison Kaufman chipped in 10 for Frenchtown, the No. 2 seed from the Southwest A.

Hope McAtee led Columbia Falls — the No. 3 seed from the Northwest A — with 15 points and Emalee Alton added 12.