HAVRE 43, HAMILTON 39
Havre topped Hamilton 43-39 Thursday at the State A tournament in a game that reminded fans of a famous play by Chris Webber at the NCAA championship in 1993.
Down, 40-39 with the ball and 4.9 seconds left Hamilton head coach Mark Albert called a timeout he didn’t have. The officials met and assessed the Broncs an administrative technical foul.
Kyndall Keller hit both foul shots and the Blue Ponies got the ball back up by three with less than five seconds to play effectively ending the game.
“I felt really bad for Mark,” said Havre coach Dustin Kraske. “I’ve seen it before. He’s a good coach, and that’s a good program. They had a good gameplan today.”
The late game mistake was the only stain on an otherwise great game for Hamilton. Playing against undefeated Havre as the West’s No. 4 seed, the Broncs were more than game for the talented Blue Ponies, outshooting (51.6-percent to 35.1-percent) and out-rebounding (25-to-18) the heavily favored team.
The difference was free throws. Havre finished the game 13-of-20 from the line, but more importantly 8-of-13 in the second half, including several crucial shots down the stretch to maintain a slim lead.
“We didn’t play our best basketball game that’s a credit to Hamilton,” Kraske said. “They put us in positions where we weren’t quite comfortable. Our kids made foul shots down the stretch, key rebounds down the stretch.”
Havre jumped out to an 18-13 lead after the first quarter, but a rough second frame where Hamilton outscored the Blue Ponies had the game tied at 18 entering the break.
The Broncs and Blue Ponies went back and fourth in the second half, with six lead changes over that stretch.
Keller, the sophomore star, led all scorers with 14 points. Lauren Ryter led Hamilton with 12 points.
Havre improves to 22-0 on the season and will move on to face the winner of Browning and Belgrade in the semifinals, Friday at 6:30 p.m.
BROWNING 63, BELGRADE 51
Ronnal Jordan scored 22 points and the Browning Lady Indians topped Belgrade 63-51 in the first round of the State A tournament.
Browning used a dominant second quarter to jump out to a 38-27 lead at halftime, but Belgrade clawed back in the third led by 19 points from Kiah Hohenstein to cut the lead to 47-42 entering the fourth quarter.
Hohenstein hit a three to open the fourth quarter, to cut the lead to two. But the Lady Indians answered with a four point run and never let the Panthers get any closer the rest of the way.
Olivia Hall joined Jordan in double figures for Browning with 14 points and rebounds. Tamika Guardipee added nine points and 11 rebounds.
Abby Weber scored 16 points for the Lady Panthers.
Browning moves on to face undefeated Havre in the semifinals at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, while Belgrade will take on Hamilton in loser-out action in the morning.