RONAN – The top seeds all easily survived the first round at the Western B boys basketball divisional tournament in Ronan on Thursday.
Undefeated Bigfork started the day early in the morning with another impressive performance. The District 7B champion Vikings defeated Deer Lodge 44-27. Bigfork led 29-8 at halftime. Beau Santisteven and Logan Gilliard led the Vikings with 12 points each.
Anaconda followed with an even bigger win over Eureka. The Copperheads dominated the Lions 59-23. The District 6B runners-up were paced by another big day from their all-time leading scorer. Braxton Hill poured in 36 points for Anaconda.
Later in the afternoon, Missoula Loyola notched the widest margin of victory on the day, smashing Troy 67-19. The District 6B champs got everyone involved. Eleven different Rams players scored. Jack Lincoln chipped in a team-high 14 points. Bridger Bell added 12.
Then in the game that looked like the closest matchup on paper, Florence ran away from Thompson Falls, 69-42. Senior guard Marcus Zeiler turned in perhaps the best game of his career, scoring 40 points against the Bluehawks.
Bigfork and Anaconda will now collide in a semifinal at 4 p.m. Friday. Rivals Loyola and Florence will play a rubber match after splitting the regular-season series. The Rams and Falcons will tip off at approximately 5:40 p.m.
Deer Lodge will meet Eureka in a loser-out game at 8 a.m. Friday. Troy and Thompson Falls will follow with another loser-out contest.