GREAT FALLS — Butte High will settle for the No. 2 seed.
The Bulldogs fell 53-35 to Billings West Saturday night in the championship game of the Eastern AA Divisional girls’ basketball tournament at the CMR Fieldhouse. (Stats)
Butte High qualified for the Class AA State tournament for the first time in six years with a semifinal win over Great Falls High Friday night. The Bulldogs will open the state tournament at 6:30 p.m. Thursday against two-time defending state champion Helena High Thursday at the Butte Civic Center.
The Bengals beat Kalispell Glacier 47-40 in the third-place game of Western AA Divisional tournament. West will play Glacier at 1:30.
Other first-round games pit Missoula Hellgate vs. Billings Senior and Helena Capital against Great Falls High.
West, which improved to 19-1 on the season, slowly pulled away each quarter. The Golden Bears led 14-10 after one, 23-17 at halftime and 39-29 after three quarters.
TyLee Manuel, a 6-foot-1 senior, scored a season-high 27 points to lead the Bears, whose only loss this season came to Butte High at the Civic Center. (Note: the official stat sheet shorted her two points).
Shayla Montague added 11 points in the victory.
Ally Cleverly scored 15 points and grabbed six rebounds to lead the Bulldogs, who will take a 16-5 record into state. Haley Herron scored eight points to go along with seven boards,
Brittney Tierney scored six points for Butte, Aspen Lovshin knocked down five, and MacKenzie Tutty tossed one.
Makenna Carpenter started and contributed for the Bulldogs. Justise Birkenbuel contributed off the bench. Trisha Erickson, Grace McGrath and McCaul McCarthy also saw time in the title game.