Beavers face Miles City in State A opener

Dillon coach Terry Thomas and his starting five of Brady Richardson, Chance Kluesner, Troy Scott, J.D. Ferris and Trae Williams catch a rest in first quarter action of the Southwestern A title game in Butte Saturday. Thomas’ rotation of players allows the team to play at a high tempo. J.P. Plutt photo

 

The Dillon Beavers open the State A tournament at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in Great Falls on the night shift, facing a Miles City team that has gotten hot down the stretch.

The Cowboys were 5-13 during the regular season and as the No. 6 seed at the Eastern A divisional, upset No. 3 Billings Central in the first round, beat No. 2 seed Glendive in the second round, and fell to top-seeded Laurel in the final, 39-38, when the Locomotives rallied for the narrow victory.

“They seem to be a lot like us – not an overly tall team, very athletic,” said Dillon Hall of Fame Coach Terry Thonas. All of their kids can run, jump, and have good speed. They’re hot at the right time.”

Senior Brac Warren averages 18.9 points per game, second in the Eastern A, as the Cowboys’ top gun.

Should the seeds hold, Dillon would play Belgrade in the Friday night semifinal at 8 p.m. Belgrade, the Central A champion, opens against Northwestern A Polson, the challenge game winner and a team Dillon crushed Polson 74-30 in opening game of the season.

Belgrade lost to Butte Central twice during the regular season, a team Dillon handled in two conference meetings. According to Thomas, Belgrade is also similar to Dillon.

“They seem like they’re athletic, they like to run and shot the ball from the outside,” said Thomas.

The other side of the bracket is loaded. Laurel, the top-ranked team in Class A in the final poll of the season, knocked the Beavers out of the top slot for the first time this year. Columbia Falls, comes in as the Northwestern A champions and fourth-ranked team in the state. Laurel beat Columbia Falls in last year’s state consolation final.

Stevensville, the defending state A champion will give Laurel the first rounds toughest match-up at 12:30 p.m. Columbia Falls will play Havre in the 2 p.m. game Thursday.

According to Thomas, Laurel runs a dribble-drive offense and hard man to man defense. They have good height and leadership.

 
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