BUTTE — Daniel Kruer scored 14 points and led a balanced Twin Bridges attack as the Falcons defeated Charlo 62-43 in the first round of the Western C boys basketball divisional tournament. The win pushed Twin Bridges to 20-0 this season.
Kruer joined Jake Hughes (13 points) and Nate Konen (12) in double figures, while the Falcons made six 3-pointers in the win. Twin Bridges led 20-10 after the first quarter and held a nine-point lead at halftime.
Landers Smith scored a game-high 18 points and tried to will Charlo to within single digits, but each Vikings run was answered by the Falcons, who shot 47 percent from the floor. The Twin Bridges defense was also smothering, blocking nine shots, four by Hughes, and collecting seven steals, four from Bryce Nye.
Josh Keller’s unbeaten Falcons advance to the Western C semifinal on Friday night, a 5 p.m. contest against fellow unbeaten Manhattan Christian.
The top-ranked Eagles scored 46 first-half points and led by as many as 48 during a 67-25 throttling of Alberton-Superior. Caleb Bellach had 25 points, five rebounds, four steals and two assists for Manhattan Christian, which held the Mountain Cats to only seven field goals.
Josiah Amunrud scored 14 points and had four steals, helping the Manhattan Christian defense force 26 Mountain Cat turnovers. The Eagles also out-rebounded Alberton-Superior 31-19 in the win, which saw a running clock in the second half.
Aaron Waddle had nine points for Alberton-Superior, a team high, while Bryan Mask had four rebounds in the loss. The Mountain Cats face Charlo in loser-out action Friday morning at 10:30 a.m.
Earlier in the day, Lane Johnson scored 19 points and grabbed five rebounds as two-time defending State C champion Arlee routed Drummond 72-53 in a Western C divisional first-round contest Thursday.
Johnson paced the Warriors early in the first quarter, sparking a 6-0 run and eventual 18-8 lead. Isaac Fisher added a pair of jump shots in the lane, four of his 10 points, as Arlee led 18-10 after the opening quarter. Zanen Pitts’ club extended its lead to 16 at halftime, 37-21, with Greg Whitesell hitting a pair of fast-break layups. Whitesell finished with 17 points and three assists.
Arlee never trailed in the contest, opening up a 26-point lead at one point. Darshan Bolen and Fisher collected six rebounds each, while the Warriors shot 45 percent from the floor.
Jonah Parke scored 23 points, including a dunk in the waning seconds, while grabbing a game-high eight rebounds for the Trojans. Luke Holland added 20 points and five boards in the loss.
Drummond shot only 33 percent in the game and had 24 turnovers against the Arlee pressure defense.
For the fourth consecutive season, Pitts and the Warriors advance to the divisional semifinals, which are scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on Friday.
In the first game of the tournament, Gardiner used a 20-point opening quarter to jet past Darby 56-44. Sean Rehmer had 13 points to lead three Bruins in double figures, as Luke Stermitz and Jacob Perius each chipped in with 11.
Gardiner led 29-22 at halftime and led by as many 16 points in the final minutes.
The Tigers, fresh off their first district championship since 1991, were led by Dylan Parks’ 19 points, but Darby shot just 26 percent from the floor, making only four of 20 3-point field goals.
Arlee and Gardiner meet in Friday’s first semifinal, scheduled for 3:30 p.m. The winner will advance to the Western C championship on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.