BOZEMAN — For the second straight night, the Dillon Beavers survived a cardiac game at the Class A State boys’ basketball tournament.
Friday night, Dillon hung on to beat Havre 60-58 in the semifinals as Blue Pony Nate Rimson’s baseline 3-pointer bounced in and out at the buzzer in a semifinal game at the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse.
The shot capped an edge-of-the seat affair that has become commonplace at this tournament, of which the Beavers will play Laurel in the championship game.
Dillon is looking for its fifth state title since 1999. Dillon’s last crown came three years ago in the Butte Civic Center.
Havre came out firing early as Jerod Boles hit an NBA-range 3-pointer to start the Blue Ponies off on the right foot. The Poniers led 18-8 before the Beavers went on a 15-2 run to take the lead.
Dillon led 29-28 at halftime, and the Beavers took a 44-42 lead into the fourth quarter.
Havre’s Michael Bakke hit one of two free throws to tie the game with 6 minutes, 32 seconds left in the game. The next time down the court, Trae Williams hit a jumper to give the Beavers the lead for good.
That lead grew to six when Jason Ferris scored back-to-back hoops.
Havre, though wouldn’t go away quietly.
Boles hit another long three — this time using the glass — to pull within 58-56 with a minute left.
Dillon answered when Williams hit both ends of a one and one to make it 60-56 with 51.8.
Dane Warp was held going through the key, and he hit two free throws to cut the lead to 60-58 with 37.1 seconds left.
Nate Rimson stole the ball, and Havre called its last timeout with 27.4 seconds left. The Ponies played for the last shot, and it almost paid off.
Warp, who hit 9 of 9 free throws, scored a game-high 20 points to lead the Ponies. Bakke scored 10, while Boles and Rimson each scored nine.
William’s 17 points paced the Beavers, who got 14 from Jason Ferris. Nate Simkins scored nine, Tanner Haverfield tossed in six, J.D. Ferris scored five, Travis Ackerson scored four, Tyler Jorey knocked in three and Justin Ferris scored two.
Parker Love and Nick Huber also contributed for the Beavers, who improved to 21-1.