MISSOULA — Bigfork entered the Class B boys basketball state tournament as the heavy favorite, and the Vikings flexed their muscles in the first round on Thursday.
The Vikings got out to a quick start against Joliet, building a 21-5 lead just 3:30 into the game, and dominated the J-Hawks for a 67-38 win. Bigfork, the lone undefeated team remaining in Class B, will play in Friday’s semifinal round against Rocky Boy.
Thursday’s win was never in doubt, as the powerhouse Vikings scored early and often on their way to a 32-9 advantage at the end of the first quarter. The lead was 42-19 at halftime.
Logan Gilliard and Beau Santistevan each scored 18 points to lead Bigfork. Chase Chappuis (15) and Anders Epperly (10) also finished in double figures. Epperly added nine assists.
Ry Olson scored 24 points to pace Joliet.
The J-Hawks, who advanced to the state tournament as the No. 4 seed out of the Southern B, will face Three Forks in a loser-out game at noon Friday.
Rocky Boy 67, Three Forks 56
Four players scored in double figures as Rocky Boy built a big early lead and then held off Three Forks, 67-56, in the first round of the Class B boys basketball state tournament on Thursday.
The Stars led by as many as 15 points in the second quarter — 21-6 — before Three Forks started chipping away. The Wolves closed to within 26-22 at half. Rocky Boy answered with a strong third quarter and then held off Three Forks’ comeback attempt in the fourth period.
Kordell Small recorded 18 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and four steals for the Stars, who also got a big performance from Kendall Windy Boy, who scored 14 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked five shots.
Ben Iron Eyes (15 points) and Frankie Bacon (12) also finished in double digits for Rocky Boy. Three Forks was led by Micaiah Hauser’s 22 points and Colter Miller’s 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Rocky Boy will play Bigfork in a semifinal game at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Three Forks will face Joliet in loser-out action at noon.