Girls, boys teams headed to state
by Scott Sacry
The Hamilton Lady Broncs took second in the Western A Divisional tournament, losing to Dillon 37-52 in the championship game on Saturday, Feb. 26th in Hamilton. This was the fourth meeting this season between the two teams, Dillon won both regular season contests, and Hamilton won in the district championship game the weekend before. Both teams are evenly matched, either team capable of beating the other on any given night, but the Beavers had the winning formula this time. Hamilton led 25-21 at halftime and looked poised to win, but Dillon came out on fire in the second half, outscoring Hamilton 31-12 to seal the victory. Layne Kearns led Hamilton with 15 points, Taryn Searle had 13, and Lavana Wetzel added three.
On Friday night, the Lady Broncs played Browning in the semifinals. The atmosphere at Dale Berry Court was electric, as Browning fans filled one side and Hamilton fans filled the other. After a tense first quarter, Hamilton exploded in the second quarter, outscoring Browning 24-9 to take a 32-19 halftime lead. They continued their dominance in the second half and cruised to a 62-47 victory. Taryn Searle had one of her best games of the season, scoring 28 points, hitting four 3-pointers (three in the pivotal 2nd quarter), and controlling the game from the point. Layne Kearns was solid with 19 points, Taylor McCarthy had seven, and Mya Winkler added four. The Hamilton girls played Polson in the opening round on Thursday. They dominated early, building a 34-9 halftime lead and winning 58-19. Layne Kearns led with 17 points, Taylor McCarthy had nine, Taryn Searle had eight, and Madi Nelson and Ayda Griffin each added six.
With their second place finish, the Lady Broncs advance to the Class A State Tournament as the No. 2 seed. They play Hardin, the No. 3 seed out of the east, on Wednesday, March 9th at 6:30 pm at the Adams Center in Missoula.
Hamilton boys take fourth
The Hamilton boys took fourth in the Divisional Tournament and advanced to the Class A State Tournament in Missoula. They play Lewistown, the top seed in the east, on Wednesday, March 9th at 5 pm in the Adams Center.
The boys were busy in divisionals, playing four games in three days. In the opening round on Thursday, they played Polson and fell, 47-50. Hamilton was down 14 points with six minutes left in the game. They made a frantic comeback and got within two points late, but couldn’t quite make it all the way back. The loss sent them to the loser out game on Friday versus Libby. The Broncs bounced back and dominated the game, winning, 50-37. Cole Dickemore led with 12 points, Tyson Rostad had 11, and Eli Taylor and Asher Magness each added 10. The win sent them to play Frenchtown on Saturday morning. Hamilton had lost the previous two games against Frenchtown, but this game would have a different outcome. Back and forth throughout, Hamilton got the ball with over a minute to play in the game with the score tied 45-45. Hamilton then ran the clock down to 15 seconds and called a timeout to set up the last shot – a move that won’t be possible next year because of the shot clock. On the final play, Cole Dickemore took a pass from Eli Taylor and nailed a game winning 3-pointer at the buzzer, electrifying the morning crowd and punching their ticket to the state tournament. Asher Magness had a huge game with 28 points, Dickemore had six, and Tyson Rostad added five. In the consolation game, Hamilton met Polson for the second time in three days, again coming up short, losing, 36-40. Tyson Rostad, Asher Magness and Eli Taylor each had 10 points, and Cole Dickemore and Max Cianflone each added three.
Stevensville girls finish in sixth
The Stevensville girls had a busy divisional tournament, playing four games in three days, and finishing in sixth place, one place out of a State bid. Although they didn’t make it to state, the Lady ‘Jackets played some of their best basketball at divisionals and ended the season on a high note. They met a strong Columbia Falls team in the first round on Thursday, Feb. 24th. They started slow and were down 10-22 at halftime. They made a push in the second half, but were never able to climb back and lost, 36-46. Shilo Lampi led with 13 points, Claire Hutchison had 10, Hailey Thomas and Kelti Wandler each added four. This sent them to the loser out game on Friday where they faced Ronan. The Lady Yellowjackets started strong and jumped out to a 29-13 halftime lead and held on for a 50-40 victory in a scrappy game. Cambree Praast led with 13 points, Claire Hutchison had 10, Lexy Perez had nine, and Shilo Lampi added eight. This sent them to play Browning on Saturday morning. Stevensville was able to handle Browning’s full court defensive pressure in the first half, and trailed 24-29 at halftime, but after the half Stevensville kept losing ground and eventually fell, 47-70. Claire Hutchison had a big game for Stevensville with 20 points, Cambree Praast had 11, and Kelti Wandler added four. This sent them to the 5th & 6th place game Saturday afternoon versus Butte Central, the winner getting a ticket to state. The girls started slow and were down 1-15 after the first quarter, then rallied in the second quarter to get the deficit to 10 points, but never were able to make it all the way back, losing, 32-56. Claire Hutchison led with 14 points, Shilo Lampi had eight, and Hailey Thomas added seven.