BUTTE – The Western A boys basketball divisional tournament kicked off Thursday in Butte at the Civic Center with teams from the Southwestern A sweeping the four first-round games. Friday will feature undefeated Hamilton against defending champion Dillon in one semifinal and Butte Central versus Frenchtown in the other.
Hamilton 71, Libby 45
Hamilton ran its unbeaten record to 21-0 after dominating Libby, 71-45, in the opening round of the Western A divisional tournament. The Broncs built an 11-point halftime advantage, but nearly doubled that by the end of the third quarter after outscoring Libby 22-12 in the frame. Carter Kearns had 16 points and nine rebounds for Hamilton in the win. Ryggs Johnston led Libby with 15.
Dillon 67, Ronan 60
Dillon trailed by one point at halftime but outscored Ronan 17-9 in the third quarter to grab a seven-point lead heading into the final frame, where the Beavers would hold on for a 67-60 win. Dillon stretched the lead to as many as 13, but Ronan cut the Beavers’ lead to four with 56 seconds remaining. Ezekiel Misa was a one-man show for Ronan in trying to keep them close. Misa showed off his range by burying multiple 3-pointers from well beyond the NBA line. However, clutch free throws by Dillon’s Coby King and Jake Ferris kept Ronan from completing the comeback. Dillon shot 23-for-36 from the foul line. King had 18 points and seven rebounds for the Beavers, while Misa had a game-high 27 points on 7-for-13 shooting.
Butte Central 61, Browning 54
Luke Heaphy scored 20 points as Butte Central continued its strong play in a 61-54 win over Browning in the first round of the Western A divisional tournament. The Maroons, who placed second in the Southwestern A district tournament last week, led by as many as 13 points in the win. Dylan Sestrich added 14 points and Cade Holter chipped in 13 for Butte Central, which will face Frenchtown in a semifinal game at 5 p.m. Friday. Browning got 17 points and 13 rebounds from Brandon Aimsback. The Indians will face Polson in a loser-out game on Friday.
Frenchtown 55, Polson 53
Jared Cole led a balanced Frenchtown scoring attack as the Broncs notched a 55-53 win over Polson in the first round of the Western A divisional tournament. Frenchtown used a 22-8 advantage in the second quarter to build a 14-point halftime lead, which the Broncs extended to 19 points in the third period only to see Polson rally in the fourth to close within the final two-point margin. Cole scored 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including a 3-of-7 mark from 3-point range. Cade Baker, Zach Backer and Adam Botkin each scored 10 points in the win, and Hank Rugg chipped in nine. Polson, which will play in a loser-out game against Browning on Friday, got 16 points from Connor Lanier and 12 from Robin Erickson. Frenchtown will face Butte Central in a Friday semifinal at 5 p.m.