HAMILTON – Arlee treated the Western C boys basketball divisional tournament like a business trip.
It was business as usual Saturday for the undefeated, top-ranked Warriors, who blitzed District 14C rival Plains 77-33 in the championship. Arlee has now defeated Plains four times this season.
The Warriors shot out of the gate, scoring 29 first-quarter points thanks in large part to Greg Whitesell. The junior scored 14 points in the first eight minutes, making four 3-pointers, including one from well beyond NBA range right in front of the Plains bench. Will Mesteth added nine points in the quarter as Arlee built a 29-14 lead.
The Horsemen tried to hang close in the second, but another Arlee onslaught ballooned the lead to 47-26 at the break.
The second half served as just a formality for the Warriors, who will defend last year’s state championship at the Class C state tournament in Butte next week. Mesteth finished with a game-high 21 points, Whitesell added 20 and Phillip Malatare 19.
Arlee will play Belt in the first round of the state championship.
Jay VonHeeder scored 10 points to lead Plains, which will now face second-ranked Manhattan Christian in a challenge game on Monday. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Philipsburg with the winner earning the Western C’s No. 2 seed for the state tournament.