BELGRADE — Boys Eastern AA divisionals tipped off early Monday morning with Belgrade and Billings Senior punching their ticket to the semifinals in dramatic fashion.
#8 Belgrade 53, #1 Bozeman 50
Belgrade (6-13) may have pulled off the upset of the year, taking down the top-seeded Bozeman Hawks (17-2) in the final minutes to win by three, 53-50.
Bozeman, who didn't lose a single game in conference play, struggled from three shooting just under 20-percent (7-36) while Belgrade finished 8-19 (.421).
The Hawks held the lead for the majority of the game holding an eight-point lead at the half and leading by as much as 11 in the third quarter.
However, a late push led by Belgrade's Ta'Veus Randle brought the Panthers back within three with just over four minutes remaining.
With less than 30 seconds left on the clock, Wyatt Russell scored the go-ahead bucket for the Panthers with a layup in transition to ultimately lead Belgrade to their first victory over the Hawks since 2002.
Randle led all players with 29 points. Bozeman's Jackson Basye followed with 19.
Belgrade will play Billings Senior in the semifinals Friday at 3:30 p.m.
#4 Billings Senior 50, #5 C.M. Russell 45
In true March Madness fashion, Billings Senior and C.M. Russell was a back-and-forth affair that went into overtime with the Broncs pulling past to win by five, 50-45.
With nine ties and six lead changes, four points was the largest margin for either team in regulation play.
Down by one with 2:30 remaining in the fourth, a steal by CMR's Gavin Grosenick translated to a put-back layup by his teammate Trigg Mapes to retake the lead 42-41.
With the Rustlers in double bonus, a foul on the floor sent the Broncs to the charity stripe, which ultimately sent the game into overtime.
CMR followed with four freethrows of their own in overtime to take a 45-42 lead. However, a 3-pointer from Chazz Haws and a short corner jumper by Walker put the Broncs back on top by one.
Chasing three with 4.1 left in the clock, CMR had one final shot off an inbounds play from the sideline, but Senior's Bubba Bergen sealed the deal for the Broncs with a steal and layup at the buzzer
to win 50-45.
Senior will play #8 Belgrade in the semifinals Friday at 3:30 p.m.