BILLINGS — Colstrip was nervous before Friday’s battle of the final two unbeatens in Class B boys basketball, but it certainly wasn’t by tipoff.
“We were super tight in the locker room, actually,” said junior forward JT Baer. “Then coach said a joke and we all started laughing and started getting loose.”
The Colts led Big Timber 31-25 at halftime, then used a big third quarter to run away to a 66-44 win in the Southern B divisional semifinals at Rimrock Auto Arena.
The Herders trimmed the deficit to four early in the third before Colstrip got layups on three straight possessions off of assists from three different players.
“We work on that hard in practice,” said senior Kobee BigBack. “We just move the ball around, move the ball around, and if we’re patient enough, it’ll always come to us. We always just say, ‘Make the smart pass.’ And the smart pass is usually the one with the open layup.”
BigBack put on one of the best shooting performances of the tournament, scoring 29 points on 10 of 15 from the field, including 5 of 8 from 3-point range. He also grabbed nine rebounds.
Kellen Big Head added 13 for Colstrip, while Baer scored 12 with eight rebounds and five assists. The Colts also took excellent care of the ball, committing just four turnovers.
Kell Schwers was the only Big Timber player in double figures with 15 points.
The Colts will play Three Forks in Saturday’s Southern B championship after the Wolves beat Huntley Project 57-48 in the second boys semifinal.
The Wolves led 29-23 at halftime and then pushed the advantage to 12 midway through the third quarter. The Red Devils never got any closer than seven the rest of the game.
Micaiah Hauser led Three Forks with 16 points, while Corey Yecny added 11, seven rebounds, and three blocks.
Isaiah and Noah Bouchard combined for 27 of Huntley Project’s 48 points, but the rest of the team shot just 28 percent from the field (7 of 25).
The Southern B boys championship is set for Saturday at 8 p.m. Big Timber and Huntley Project will play loser-out games Saturday morning. Winners meet in the consolation final at 4:30 p.m., with that winner clinching the final Southern berth to the state tournament.