State Hoops: Columbia Falls Girls, Bigfork Boys Advance to Semis

Bigfork plays Sweet Grass in semifinals; Columbia Falls squares off against Browning

By Dillon Tabish
Senior Garrett Beville tries to shoot over Florence defenders. Bigfork defeated Florence 65-54 to win the Western B Divisional trophy on Feb. 27, 2016. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

The Columbia Falls girls and Bigfork boys picked up first-round victories at the state basketball tournaments on Thursday. Action continues today in the semifinal rounds with teams vying for the Saturday championship games.

Here’s a breakdown of each tournament:

Class A

Ellie Johnson scored a game-high 22 points, Peyton Kehr chipped in 15 and the Columbia Falls Wildkats defeated Havre 64-52 in the opening round of the Class A girls state tournament in Belgrade on Thursday.

Columbia Falls (20-2) plays Browning (18-4) in the semifinals at 7 p.m., Friday.

Kiara Burlage scored nine points and Sydney Grilley and Cydney Finberg each scored six for the Wildkats on Thursday. Sydney Hovde added four.

Dillon (16-7) and Butte Central (22-0) play in the other semifinal game at 8:30 p.m.

Dillon defeated Billings Central, 32-30, and Butte Central took down Lewistown, 48-39.

Class B

The Bigfork Vikings survived a scare in the opening round of the state tournament in Butte, edging Townsend 55-53 on Thursday.

Jonathan Landon scored a game-high 15 points, Anders Epperly added 10 and the Vikes advanced to the semifinal round, where they will play Sweet Grass at 8 p.m., Friday.

Adam Jordt and Joseph Potkonjak each scored nine points and George Gibson added eight for the Vikes (23-1).

Sweet Grass defeated Shelby 71-67 in the first round.

Florence defeated Jefferson 51-47 and Choteau took down Missoula Loyola 70-51. Florence and Choteau play at 6:30 p.m. in the semifinals on Friday.

On the girls side, the Bigfork Valkyries fell in a first-round game against Malta, 58-42.

Montana Gatorade Player of the Year Sophia Stiles scored a game-high 27 points to lead Malta to the semifinal round.

Lana Berg led the Vals with 18 and Miranda Campbell had 13. Bigfork plays Missoula Loyola in loser-out action at 9 a.m., Friday.

Class AA

On the boys side, Missoula Hellgate and Billings Skyview will play in the semifinal round at 6:30 p.m. on Friday night, while Helena and Bozeman square off in other semifinal action at 8 p.m.

Hellgate defeated Great Falls 49-46 and Billings Skyview took down Helena Capital, 64-43. Helena beat Billings West 53-51 and Bozeman took down Missoula Big Sky 50-36.

On the girls side, Great Falls and Missoula Sentinel are set to square off in the semifinals at 3:30 p.m., Friday, while Bozeman and Helena Capital will play in the other semifinal game  at 5 p.m.

Great Falls beat Missoula Big Sky, 48-31, and Sentinel defeated Billings Senior 61-47 in the first round. Bozeman defeated Helena 59-48 and Helena Capital defeated Billings West 48-41.