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Missoula Hellgate’s Connor Schenk puts up a shot as Missoula Big Sky’s Josh Malone, left, and Seamus Lucostic defend on Thursday at Hellgate. The Knights won 47-44 in overtime.

TOM BAUER, Missoulian

Class AA boys' and girls' basketball teams will join the postseason fray this week with state-qualifying playoffs scheduled around the state.

Those playoffs will begin Tuesday, while the State A and C boys' basketball tournaments begin Thursday in Missoula and Great Falls, respectively.

Four teams from the Western AA have already secured berths in the State AA tournaments -- March 10-12 in Bozeman -- by virtue of placing first or second in the regular season -- the Missoula Hellgate and Helena High boys, and the Missoula Sentinel and Helena High girls.

On the Western AA boys' side, Kalispell Glacier will host Kalispell Flathead at 6 p.m. with the winner advancing to take on Helena Capital on Friday at 6 p.m. Missoula Big Sky will host crosstown rival Sentinel on Friday at 7 p.m. for the other berth to state.

On the girls' side, Flathead travels to Helena Capital on Tuesday at 6 p.m. with the winner traveling to Hellgate on Friday at 7 p.m. Kalispell Glacier hosts Missoula Big Sky on Thursday at 7 p.m. for the other state berth.

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Missoula, meanwhile, will be hosting its first boys' basketball state tournament since 2004 when the Class A boys invade Dahlberg Arena beginning on Thursday.

Hamilton will face Havre at noon to tip off the tournament, followed by Billings Central vs. Polson at 1:30 p.m., Hardin vs. Butte Central at 3 p.m. and Dillon vs. Laurel at 4:30 p.m.

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Tickets are currently on sale; all-session adult tickets are $28 and $17 for students, single-session tickets range from $6-8. University parking lots P, Z, M and M1 are reserved for state tournament visitors.

The start of Thursday's Montana men's basketball game against North Dakota has been pushed back to 8 p.m. to accommodate the state tournament, while Saturday's game against Northern Colorado will begin at 2 p.m.

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The State C boys' basketball tournament also begins Thursday at Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls.

Western C champion Arlee will put its 22-game winning streak on the line in the opener against Culbertson at 12:30 p.m., followed by Terry vs. Belt at 2 p.m., Box Elder vs. Reed Point-Rapelje at 6:30 p.m., and Westby-Grenora vs. Manhattan Christian at 8 p.m.

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