BUTTE – On fire. That’s the only way to describe the performance of Butte Central’s Khloie Thatcher on Friday night at the Western A girls basketball divisional tournament in Butte.
Butte Central outscored Frenchtown 13-3 in the third quarter to build a 15 point edge heading to the final frame. The Maroons went on to win the first Western A girls divisional semifinal on Friday night, trouncing the Broncs 37-19. The Maroons also punched their ticket to the State A tournament in the process.
Khloie Thatcher hit a buzzer-beater to end the first half, and picked up right where she left off coming out of the locker room. Thatcher scored 11 of the Maroons’ 13 third quarter points, including eight in a row to push the lead up to 15.
Thatcher alone outscored Frenchtown, finishing with 26 points on 8-for-12 shooting, while also grabbing eight rebounds.
Suffocating defense throughout the game propelled the Maroons to their double digit victory, holding Frenchtown to five second half points and just one of 18 shooting from the field.
The Maroons will take on Browning in the Western A girls divisional championship game Saturday night after the Indians ran away from Dillon in the second semifinal of the night, 53-31.
Browning never trailed, leading 28-11 at halftime and pushing that margin to 44-20 by the end of the third quarter, completely dominating the Beavers throughout. Browning got a balanced effort to push them to the title game with eight players reaching the scoring column. Sophomore Tamika Guardipee led the way with 13 points and eight rebounds.
Saturday night’s championship game between Butte Central and Browning is scheduled for 8:30 p.m.
Frenchtown will move to loser-out action Saturday morning where they will take on Hamilton at 11:00 a.m. at the Civic Center. Dillon moves to loser-out action and will face defending state champion Columbia Falls. The winners of those two games will join Butte Central and Browning at the State A tournament.