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HAMILTON -- There may not be a hotter boys' basketball team in the state than the Arlee Warriors.

A week after waltzing to the District 14-C championship, Arlee blew through the competition at the Western C Divisional tournament in Hamilton and beat Manhattan Christian 67-54 for the championship Saturday.

Next up: state.

Arlee, which won its 22nd straight game since losing to Valley Christian by five points on opening night, and Manhattan Christian are now both bound for the State C tournament that begins Thursday in Great Falls.

Valley won twice Saturday to take third at divisionals, but is unable to challenge for the second state berth because Manhattan Christian beat the Missoula boys in Friday's semifinals.


Arlee 67, Manhattan Christian 54

The game started like a shootout, both teams racing to 20 first-quarter points and a draw headed to the second. Arlee's Tyler Tanner went off for 10 points in the second as his team gained the lead and never looked back, though.

Tanner finished with 30 points in all, including four 3-pointers. He had 19 points in the first half.

Patrick Bigsam added 10 more and Justis Haynes scored eight for the Warriors (22-1).

Kevin Blanksma led Manhattan Christian with 14 points and James Ramirez chipped in 10.


Valley Christian 48, Ennis 46

The Mustang's last-second, desperation shot bounced off the rim, and the Eagles escaped with the third-place trophy, though their season ends with the win.

Cameron Ireland hit three 3-pointers and scored a team-high 17 points for Valley Christian (23-2). Brian Gragg added seven rebounds and 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting.

Ennis' Jake Knack had a game-high 19 points in the loss.


Valley Christian 58, Seeley-Swan 39

After an 11-11 stalemate through a quarter, Valley Christian shook off the cobwebs and carried a 26-13 lead into the second half on its way to eliminating upstart Seeley-Swan.

Valley's leading scorer was Ireland with 18 points, including three 3-pointers, and Joey Lodine added 14.

Seeley, which ended the year at 8-14, was led by Jacob Haley's 11 points.


Ennis 53, Hot Springs 47

Hot Springs' shooting percentage dropped from 41.9 percent to 28.6 from the first half to the second and Ennis erased a 10-point deficit to eliminate the Savage Heat.

The Mustangs trailed 28-18 at the break, but outscored Hot Springs by eight points in each of the final two quarters. Ennis, which was led by Knack's 21 points and 16 rebounds, shot 50 percent in the second half.

Only four boys scored for Hot Springs, which ended its season at 18-8. Sam Hoff (17 points) and Zach Osborne (16) led the way.