BILLINGS – The Hardin Bulldogs took another step on their path toward a State title Saturday.
Hardin stifled Belgrade throughout the Eastern A divisional championship game, holding the Panthers scoreless in the second quarter on their way to a 48-39 win in front of a very pro-Bulldog crowd at Rimrock Auto Arena.
Hardin’s pressure defense held Belgrade to just 13 first half points, including zero in the final eight minutes. Belgrade shot just 38.5 percent from the field for the game (15-39 FG), including just 2-15 from three-point range.
The Panthers did cut the deficit to just one, 34-33, early in the fourth quarter, but Famous Left Hand scored eight points in a three-minute span to extend the lead back to 42-34. Belgrade never threatened again.
Left Hand finished with a game-high 16 points. Andrew House added 12 for Hardin, Trae Hugs 10, and David Evans chipped in eight with 10 rebounds.
Dawson Fowler led Belgrade with 13 points and nine rebounds, but struggled to just 4-14 FG shooting.
Hardin will be the East’s No. 1 seed at the State A tournament March 1-3 in Bozeman. Belgrade will be No. 2, Lewistown No. 3, and Billings Central No. 4.