STATE HOOPS: Malta Cruises Past Bigfork in Semifinals

By Beacon Staff

Updated at 7 p.m., Friday

Malta, Class B’s reigning champs, defeated Bigfork 47-35 in the semifinals of the boys basketball state tournament on Friday night in Butte.

Bigfork will play Columbus tomorrow at 9 a.m. in loser-out play. Malta will defend its state title against Wolf Point on Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. Malta beat Manhattan last year 67-62 while Wolf Point won the 2011 title over Columbus 50-44.

Hellgate Edges Glacier in Semifinals

Tres Tinkle scored 19 points and Missoula Hellgate held off Glacier 48-45 in the semifinals of the Class AA boys basketball state tournament in Great Falls on Friday.

The Wolfpack fell short of advancing to its first state championship game for the second year in a row. Glacier lost in last year’s semifinals to Flathead.

Hellgate took its first lead of the game late in the second quarter and led 31-30 at halftime. The Knights entered the fourth quarter up 38-36.

Glacier drops to loser-out play against Great Falls at 9 a.m. on Saturday. Hellgate advances to the Saturday night championship game at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday against Helena Capital. Capital defeated Billings Skyview Friday night, 59-53.

Hellgate is playing in its first state championship since 2005 when the Knights defeated West. Capital is in its first title game since 1983 when the Bruins won their lone championship, beating Billings Senior 46-45.

Flathead Bows Out of Tournament

Billings Senior ended Flathead’s season with a 53-37 victory over the Bravettes in loser-out action on Friday afternoon at the Class AA girls state basketball tournament in Great Falls.

Flathead opened the third quarter with an 8-2 run and cut Senior’s lead to 27-24. But Billings pulled away from there and expanded on a 43-32 lead in the fourth quarter.

Emma Andrews led FHS with 15 points. The Bravettes end their season with a 11-11 record after qualifying for state for the first time since 2008.

Columbia Falls Stays Alive, Eliminates Browning

Columbia Falls’ season is still alive.

The Wildcats defeated Browning in loser-out action at the Class A boys state basketball tournament in Billings on Friday afternoon.

Columbia Falls will play tomorrow at 11 a.m. against the loser of Butte Central and Billings Central, which tips off tonight at 8 p.m. In the other semifinal match, Laurel faces Stevensville.

Frenchtown is playing Belgrade in loser-out action today.

West Eliminates Glacier Girls

Billings West eliminated the Glacier girls 43-37 on Friday in loser-out action at the Class AA girls state basketball tournament in Great Falls.

The Wolfpack got within three points with under a minute remaining but the Lady Broncs outscored Glacier 5-3 to seal the victory.

Glacier junior Cassi Hashley had a game-high 19 points and 14 rebounds.

The Wolfpack finish the season 17-6 after qualifying for state for the second year in a row.

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