BUTTE — Billings West will take a 12-game winning streak and an Eastern AA Divisional girls basketball championship into next week's state tournament in Billings.
The top-seeded Golden Bears rallied from an early deficit and beat second-seeded Billings Senior 41-38 in Saturday night's title game at Montana Tech.
Both teams will move on to state, which starts Thursday at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark.
West (18-2) trailed 10-5 after the first quarter, but went on a 31-17 run in the middle quarters to take charge over the Broncs (17-4).
"The girls just made enough plays down the stretch, grabbing some key rebounds and making some timely free throws," West coach Charlie Johnson said. "It was two of the best teams in the state going at it, and it was fun."
This will be West's sixth consecutive trip to state, including five in a row under Johnson.
Ambreya Windy Boy led the way offensively for the Golden Bears with 12 points, including a 9 for 9 shooting performance at the foul line.
Teammates Shayla Montague and Maddie Albrecht contributed eight points and five rebounds apiece.
When the game was on the line, Johnson credited his two seniors, Windy Boy and Megan Brown, with providing a spark.
Windy Boy pitched in with a clutch steal or two and some free throws, while Brown knocked down a big 3-pointer.
"You could not have asked for anymore from our two senior captains," he said.
Ellie Ostermiller topped Senior's scoring column with nine points. She also handed out four assists. Kola Bad Bear finished with eight points and 10 rebounds for Senior, which fell short after mounting a late charge.
West hasn't lost since a 49-34 setback to Senior on Jan. 18.
This time around, both teams shot close to 32 percent from the field, but the Golden Bears prospered at the foul line in shooting 16 of 19.
Senior was just 4 of 14 at the line.
"We just have to keep playing our game," said Johnson, whose Golden Bears will face Kalispell Glacier in the opening round at state. "We've been holding teams to under 40 points per game. If we keep doing that defensively and take care of the little things, we'll continue to do some good things."
Great Falls CMR boys 63, Bozeman 53
Garrison Rothwell scored 18 points and Sam Vining added 15 as top-seeded Great Falls CMR downed Bozeman 63-53 for the boys championship.
The Rustlers (16-4) led 30-24 at halftime and put the game away with a 19-12 run in the fourth quarter.
Bozeman was led by the 18 points and eight rebounds of Mack Anderson. Robbie Simpson added 12 points.
Great Falls boys 53, Billings Senior 47
Great Falls used a 10-point lead at halftime to hold off Billings Senior in the third place game at the Eastern AA Divisional for boys basketball.
Both teams earned berths in the Class AA state tournament with wins Saturday morning.
Kendall Kynett led the Bison with 16 points, while Kyle Torgerson added 11.
Sam Evenson led the Broncs with a game-high 17 points, shooting 7 of 8 from the field and making three free throws. Connor Kieckbusch added 13 points, while Brooks Zimmer had 13 rebounds and seven points.
Great Falls CMR girls 42, Bozeman 39
Great Falls CMR rallied from a third-quarter deficit to defeat Bozeman in the girls third-place game.
The Rustlers trailed 32-30 after three periods.
Nine players scored for CMR, led by Kyra Willis' 12 points. Addison Gardner added 11.
Ayla Embry led the Hawks with 12 points, while Angelle Diamond had nine points and 13 rebounds.
Senior 57 boys, Skyview 42
Connor Kieckbusch led the Broncs with 16 points, while Ben LaBeau had 15 and Braxton Haws 11. Brooks Zimmer added eight rebounds and six points.
Zach Schacht paced the Falcons with 16 points, while Tyler Kinghorn had a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds. Logan DeHaven added 10 points, while Alex Schaf had eight assists.
Senior outscored the Falcons by eight in the second and fourth quarters.
Great Falls boys 59, West 44
Hunter McKinney tossed in 17 points for the Bison, including four 3-pointers. Kyle Torgerson added 11 for Great Falls and Blake Thelen 10.
Jesse Owens led the Golden Bears with 16 points, while Cade Tyson had 13. Carson Prokop finished with seven rebounds.
Bozeman girls 58, Great Falls 32
Angelle Diamond led the Hawks with 12 points and eight rebounds, while Alex Carey and Sophia Robinson had 11 points apiece.
Bozeman led 12-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Jorgie Hawthorne had 13 for Great Falls.
CMR girls 45, Butte 41
The Rustlers outscored Butte 20-5 in the fourth quarter to rally for the win. CMR trailed 36-25 after three quarters.
Addison Gardner led the Rustlers with a game-high 19 points, including making 11 of 14 free throws.
Ally Cleverly and Justise Birkenbuel each had 11 for Butte.