In a divisional match-up with a state tournament berth on the line, the Flathead Bravettes jumped out to a 9-2 lead en route to 21 first-quarter points and never looked back, taking down Missoula Hellgate 62-44 at Flathead High School Saturday afternoon.
The Bravettes, 13-8 (8-5), will be Western AA’s No. 4 seed in the state tournament this week in Great Falls, kicking off the tourney against the east’s No. 1 seed Butte High on March 6 at 10:30 a.m.
A quartet of Bravette seniors guided a first-half onslaught that put Flathead up 41-21 at halftime. Through the first two quarters, seniors Kendalyn Habel and Kaylyn Heaton each had 10 points. Two other seniors, Meghan O’Connell and Ashley Younkin, had nine points and eight points, respectively.
Habel finished with 18 points to lead the team. O’Connell finished with 13. Senior Kirsten Vaculik led the Knights with 13 points.
Flathead set the pace in the first quarter by jumping out to a 21-13 lead. The Bravettes shot 8-for-8 from the free-throw line in the opening period. They finished 22-34 from the charity strip for the game, led by Habel and O’Connell, who combined to shoot 15-for-21.
The Bravettes cooled off after their 41-point first half, but their defense stepped up when it needed to, holding the Knights to eight fourth-quarter points. The Knights never got any closer than 15 points in the second half.
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