GREAT FALLS — Great Falls High defeated Great Falls CMR 53-48 in a crosstown semifinal at the Eastern AA boys basketball divisional tournament, and will face Bozeman, which defeated Billings Senior 87-43, in Saturday night’s 7:30 p.m. championship.
The Hawks and Broncs split the regular-season series.
The Great Falls High boys defeated their crosstown rival for the third time this season, 53-48 to advance to the Eastern AA divisional championship and clinch a berth at state.
Blake Thelen led all scorers with 19 points, sophomore Drew Wyman added 13 off the bench. Thelen was 7 of 15 from the field and 5 of 12 from deep. Bryce Depping led the Rustlers with 17 points, Russell Gagne joined him in double figures with 11.
Great Falls High jumped out to an eight-point lead in the first before CMR closed the gap and tied the game at 15 after one quarter. The teams would trade buckets in the second and were still knotted up at 27-all at halftime.
CMR clamped down on defense in the third and built a five-point lead only to see the Bison close the gap and lead 40-38 after three. The Bison clung to the lead the rest of the way, hitting just enough three throws down the stretch to keep the game out of reach.
Great Falls High, which lost to CMR in the Eastern AA semifinals in 2018, will advance to Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. divisional championship game against Bozeman.
Four Hawks players scored in double figures and the Bozeman boys trounced No. 6-seed Billings Senior 87-43 in the Eastern AA semifinals.
On Friday, Senior upset Billings West to advance to the semifinals and came out with energy against the No. 2-seed Hawks. The Broncs jumped out to a 12-6 lead before Bozeman closed the gap and ended the first quarter tied at 19.
The Hawks would start the second quarter on a 10-0 run, getting hot from distance to claim the lead for good and put the game out of reach with a 47-26 halftime lead.
Carter Ash led the Hawks with 18 points, Jackson Coles added 17, and Ryan Lonergan and Ryan Simpson scored 13 and 10, respectively.
The Hawks were 12 of 17 from beyond the arc. Payton Turner was the only Broncs player in double figures with 10 points.
Bozeman will face Great Falls High in the East AA championship game Saturday at 8 p.m. The Hawks and Bison split the regular-season series.
Billings West 58, Butte 46, loser-out
Great Falls High 53, Great Falls CMR 48, semifinal
Bozeman 87, Billings Senior 43, semifinal
Billings West vs. Great Falls CMR, loser-out, 11 a.m. (at Paris Gibson Gym)
Billings Skyview vs. Billings Senior, loser-out, 11 a.m.
Billings West/Great Falls CMR winner vs. Billings Skyview/Billings Senior winner, consolation, 4:30 p.m.
Great Falls High vs. Bozeman, championship, 7:30 p.m.