BILLINGS – In their first meeting since the 2018 State A boys title game, Billings Central got a little bit of revenge Saturday night with a 59-54 win over defending champion Hardin in front of a raucous crowd at Rimrock Auto Arena.
Central blitzed the Bulldogs out of the gates, taking a 20-9 lead after the first quarter. But Hardin responded with a 20-2 run in the second quarter to take a 32-27 lead before Central scored five consecutive points to tie the game, 32-32, at halftime.
The Rams regained their composure after the break, especially defensively, as they won the third quarter 11-5 to take a six-point lead into the fourth. Hardin never had the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead in the final eight minutes.
The win moves Central to 6-1 overall, 2-0 in the Eastern A. Hardin falls to 7-1, 4-1.
Central’s girls, meanwhile, won the double-header opener, 49-43, thanks to a strong run to begin the third quarter. Central led 22-16 at halftime, but the Rams ballooned the lead to 12 by scoring eight of the first 10 points after the break. Hardin could only get as close as five the rest of the game.
Isabelle Erickson led the Rams with 12 points, while Olivia Moten-Schell and freshman Solei Elletson added 11 each.
Central moves to 5-1 on the season overall, and 2-0 in the Eastern A. Hardin falls to 6-2, 3-2.