Havre Daily News sports editor
District boys and girls basketball tournaments are under way all across the state. On the Hi-Line, it was a rough opening day for a pair of local teams.
At the girls District 2B tournament in Wolf Point on Wednesday, the Harlem Wildcats lost a thrilling but heartbreaking first-round game to Plentywood, 41-40.
Harlem played extremely well in the third quarter, outscoring Plentywood 18-5 in the eight-minute stretch. But Harlem squandered a golden opportunity to advance to the semifinals by blowing a 35-25 fourth-quarter lead.
In the fourth quarter, Plentywood reversed roles and reeled off 13 unanswered points to start the period. In all, Plentywood outscored Harlem 15-4 in the final stanza to pull ahead. In the game's final two minutes, Harlem had several chances to reclaim the lead, including a couple of missed game-winning shots at the end.
The loss overshadowed an outstanding offensive performance by Harlem's entire starting five. Ida Mountain Chief and Leandra Thomas led the way for the Wildcats with nine points apiece. Star Carrywater and Dani Dirden both chipped in with eight points.
Harlem (7-12) will move into the loser-out bracket, where the Wildcats will face the loser of the Glasgow/Wolf Point semifinal on Friday afternoon.
In District 10C boys action in Cut Bank on Wednesday, the Chester/J-I Hawks dropped their opening round game at the hands of the Augusta Elks, 68-52.
Trailing 11-10 at the end of the first quarter, Chester/J-I jumped all over the Elks in the second period and took a 26-18 halftime lead. But the Hawks, who have struggled throughout the season, couldn't finish Augusta off in the second half.
Augusta scored 44 points in the second half and held Chester/J-I to 26 en route to the easy win.
Chester/J-I got an outstanding individual effort from Kevin May, who scored a game-high 21 points and pulled down 13 rebounds. Cullen McKinley added 10 points in the loss.
The Hawks will move into the loser-out bracket on Friday afternoon.
The District 10C girls tournament gets under way today in Cut Bank, and top-seeded Chester/J-I (17-1) has a bye in the opening round.
District 2B at Wolf Point
Plentywood 41, Harlem 40
Harlem 10 8 18 4 - 40
Plentywood 13 7 5 15 - 41
Harlem - Mountain Chief 9, Dirden 8, Filesteel 3, Thomas 9, Carrywater 8, A. Stiffarm 3. Totals: 15 7-12.
Plentywood - Angvick 2, Howard 17, Kleppen 3, Henderson 2, Christensen 11, Fellon 6. Totals: 13 11-18.
Total fouls - Harlem 16, WP 10. Fouled out - Carrywater. 3-pointers - Mountain Chief, Dirden, A. Stiffarm, Howard 3, Kleppen.
District 10C at Cut Bank
Augusta 68 Chester/J-I 52
Chester/J-I 10 16 12 14 - 52
Augusta 11 13 21 23 - 68
C/J-I - Derek Fraser 2, Chase Diemert 7, Kevin May 21, Cullen McKinley 10, Tyler Han 5, Shay Richter 7. Totals - 17 15-20 52
Augusta - Nathan Young 2, Reid Fleming 9, Chase Young 12, Derek Dellwo 19, JC Isakson 17, Caleb Ford 9. Totals - 25 13-27 68
Total fouls - C/J-I 25, Augusta 19. Fouled out - D. Fraser, JC Isakson. 3-pointers - K. May 2, T. Han, C. Young, D. Dellwo 4.