BILLINGS – Laurel freshman Mya Hansen hit a 3-pointer with 1:34 left to give Laurel a 36-35 lead over Billings Central, and the Locomotives made enough free throws down the stretch to hold on for a 39-37 win in a battle for first in the Eastern A girls basketball standings.
Central freshman Solei Elletson hit a 3 moments before Hansen’s shot to put the Rams up 35-33. Central had a chance to win it with three seconds to play, but senior Chloe Paharik’s running 3-point attempt came up short.
Both teams struggled offensively early, as Laurel led just 6-4 after the first quarter. The Locos scored the first seven points of the second, however, to jump out to a nine-point lead, eventually taking a 19-12 advantage into halftime.
Central came out firing in the third, opening the quarter on an 11-2 run to take a 23-21 lead. The teams stayed close the rest of the game, with multiple ties and lead changes before Paharik’s last shot came up short.
The win moves Laurel into first place alone in the Eastern A at 5-0, 8-2 overall. Central drops to second in conference at 4-1, also 8-2 overall.