RONAN — Two heated rivals will collide for a third time in the Western B girls basketball championship game Saturday night.
Missoula Loyola and Florence both posted impressive semifinal victories at the divisional tournament. Loyola topped Anaconda 55-39. Florence beat Bigfork 59-39.
Loyola got out to a slow start, trailing Anaconda 6-5 after one quarter. But the fast-paced Breakers exploded for 22 points in the second quarter, building a 27-16 halftime lead. The Copperheads fought back to within seven entering the final quarter, but then Loyola scored 18 points in the fourth, mostly from the free throw line, leading to the win.
Outstanding freshman Lani Walker led the Breakers’ attack with 23 points. Isabel Saltenberger scored 14 for Anaconda.
The Falcons didn’t waste any time jumping to a lead in the second semifinal. Florence led Bigfork 18-5 at the end of the first quarter. After that, the Vals played the Falcons pretty even. The Florence lead was 15 at halftime and 12 entering the fourth quarter, but the Vals never threatened down the stretch.
Star senior guard Danielle Zahn scored 22 points for Florence, with 15 coming in the first half. Rilee Mangun added 14 points. Ansleigh Edgerton was the only Val in double figures with 11 points.
The Falcons beat the Breakers in both of their earlier meetings, but both games were competitive until the end. The third meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in Ronan.
In earlier Friday loser-out games, Eureka eliminated Thompson Falls, 48-33. Deer Lodge survived against St. Ignatius, 49-44.
At 9 a.m. Saturday, Deer Lodge will face Anaconda in another loser-out game. At the same time, Eureka takes on Bigfork.