GREAT FALLS -- Tres Tinkle hit two free throws with 2.2 seconds remaining, and Missoula Hellgate held off Billings West 60-59 on Thursday morning in the first round of the State AA boys basketball tournament at Four Seasons Arena at Montana ExpoPark.
Hellgate stormed out of the gates in the 9 a.m. contest and led 23-9 early in the second quarter. West battled back and took leads of 56-55 and 59-58, the last with 18.3 to play.
But the Bears couldn't close the game out and dropped into Friday morning loser-out play. It'll be the first time in seven years that the Bears won't be playing in the state semifinals.
Tinkle led all scorers with 25 points while Devin Bray added 11 for the Knights (18-4).
West (18-4) was led by Andrew Campbell's 15 points and Jared Samuelson's 13.