By Derek Hendrickson
The Dillon Beavers looked every bit the team to beat at the Western A Divisional Thursday afternoon, dismantling Columbia Falls 69-28. Stat sheet
Columbia Falls appeared to be poised to make a game of it, taking early leads on the shooting of Nathan Riley, the last of which came at 10-7.
From there Dillon was unstoppable, ending the period on an 11-point run and building the lead to 38-17 at half.
The mercy rule was put into play late in the third as Columbia Falls couldn’t find the bottom of the net with any shots and Dillon seemed to come up with every loose ball leading to easy baskets.
Three Beavers hit double figures, led by Tanner Haverfield’s 17 points on 6 of 8 shooting. His younger brother Michael added 12 and Nate Simkins had 11. In all twelve Dillon players saw time on the court and 10 scored.
Riley ended up with 9 for Columbia Falls and was backed by yesterday’s hero, Tyler Murphy, who had 7. The Wildcats will drop into loser out play where they will meet conference foe Whitefish, who was trounced by Butte Central, 71-40 earlier today.
Dillon will match up with the Maroons for the third time this season, winning both games. The first was a 50-43 game in Dillon where the Beavers got off to a hot start but Central clawed back to make a game of it. The rematch at the MAC was never close as Dillon piled on a 69-45 win to help them go undefeated in conference and against Class A foes on the season.
Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. Friday in that semifinal match up with the winner punching a ticket to the state tournament next week in Missoula.