By Tiffany L. Rehbein
The Chinook Sugarbeeters (12-11) fell to the Conrad Cowgirls (20-2) 56-33 in the opening-round North/East B divisional game at Cut Bank Thursday.
The 'Beeters kept it close in the first quarter, down only 13-12 after eight minutes of play.
However, Conrad erupted for 17 second-quarter points and led 30-19 heading into the locker room.
The Cowgirls held Chinook power Renda Birky to just four points in the game. Birky has been the offensive leader for the 'Beeters throughout the season.
Conrad shot 52 percent from the field in the first half, versus just 31 percent by Chinook.
From the free throw line, Conrad was also tough, connecting 5-for-7 for 71 percent. Chinook shot a mere 22 percent from the foul line in the first half.
But the Cowgirls sewed up the victory in the third quarter, when they outscored the Sugarbeeters 15-2.
Tara Zoanni led the Cowgirl attack with 21 points, while Ali Kronebusch added 13 in the effort.
The 'Beeters outscored the Cowgirls 12-11 in the final eight minutes, but could not dig themselves out of the hole, shooting just 27 percent from the field on the night. The Sugarbeeters went 0-for-4 from the foul line in the second half, managing just 23 percent in the contest.
Katie Hoffman led Chinook with 11 points.
The Sugarbeeters meet the Fairfield Eagles in loser-out action Friday.
In other Class B action, the Wolf Point Wolves downed the Fairfield Eagles 53-48. The top-ranked Malta M-Ettes downed the Cut Bank Wolves 78-50, and the Glasgow Scotties edged the Fort Benton Longhorns 48-47.
Wolf Point will meet Conrad and Malta will play Glasgow in semifinal action Friday.