BOZEMAN — Belgrade might have had the advantage at the divisional tournament, but Billings Central came through when it mattered most.
The Rams, who finished second behind Belgrade at the Eastern A divisional tournament, defeated the Panthers 22-25, 29-27, 25-15, 25-19 for the Class A volleyball state championship Saturday at Brick Breeden Fieldhouse.
After losing to Central in Friday’s undefeated semifinal, Belgrade got past Corvallis in Saturday’s third-place mach to set up the championship. The Panthers then won the first go-around, 20-25, 25-22, 25-21, 21-25, 15-8, to force a second championship.
The Panthers won the first set and opportunities to take another, but Central closed the door for its second consecutive championship. Olivia Moten-Schell had 18 kills and six blocks for the Rams, who also got eight kills and three blocks from Kristina Schafer. Sierra Schuster had 35 assists and three blocks, and Avery Hadley had a team-high 22 digs in the second championship.
Belgrade was led by Bailey Christensen’s 27 kills. Taylor Christensen had a match-high 26 kills.