GREAT FALLS -- Different venue, same result.
Arlee cruised to its 23rd straight win Thursday, an 85-46 thrashing of Culbertson in the first round of the State C boys' basketball tournament at Four Seasons Arena. The Warriors (23-1) will face Belt on Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the semifinals.
Belt downed Terry 43-34 in its opener, and Box Elder made quick work of Reed Point-Rapelje, 83-26.
The State C tournament saved the best -- or at least most competitive -- game for last, though. Westby-Grenora outlasted Manhattan Christian 63-60 in three overtimes to close out first-round action.
Arlee 85, Culbertson 46
The Warriors led 23-9 after the first quarter and 49-20 at halftime in the romp.
"We have a lot of kids who are young in experience or young in mind and it’s good to get those jitters out of the way," Arlee coach Zanen Pitts said. "Nice to play a team that’s not quite as much a heavy hitter, but they’re still talented. Nice to get a lot of kids in there and use our bench and save our legs for the big games that are coming."
Five Warriors reached double digits in scoring, led by Tyler Tanner's 16 points. Philip Malatare added 13, Brad Brazill had 11 and Greg Whitesell and Patrick Bigsam chipped in 10 apiece. Tanner led the team in rebounding with seven.
"It’s huge to get this out of the way and get a feel for the court and run up and down a few times," Tanner said. "It's good for us."
Now the Warriors get to face the Belt Huskies, who knocked off Arlee in last season's state tournament semis on their way to a championship.
"It’s like last week, we were able to take out Manhattan Christian and Valley Christian in that we want that revenge," Pitts said. "They (Belt) were a good program last year and are again this year. To be able to come in and get that win would be huge. Our boys have been talking about that for a year. They still remember the bus ride home.
"That being said, the dream for every kid on the reservation is to play another Indian school. Us and Box Elder? That’s the dream of the century. It's what every kid is hoping for and what every kid wants. It’s two great programs, heavy hitters and going to come down to who makes the fewest mistakes."
Tanner echoed his coach.
"We want to get some redemption from them," he said of Belt. "Good game, lost by two. Hopefully we come out on top this time."
Belt 43, Terry 34
Belt didn't struggle quite as much shooting the ball as Terry, granting the North's No. 2 seed the win over the top seed from the South.
The Huskies were 14 for 41 from the field (34 percent) for the game; the Terriers made 26 percent of their shots in the loss.
Belt's Koltin Haugrose didn't help his team's shooting percentage, going 5-for-15 from the field, but he did record a double-double. He finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds in the win, moving the Huskies into the semifinals against the Arlee Warriors.
Box Elder 83, Reed Point-Rapelje 26
Box Elder's Brandon The Boy had the hot hand, scoring a game-high 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting, and this one got ugly in a hurry.
The Bears took a 57-16 lead in the third quarter, setting off the running clock. Reed Point was outscored 30-6 in the third frame.
Cade Bare was the lone bright spot for the Renegades, finishing with 14 of his team's 26 total points on a 5-of-7 shooting performance.
Westby-Grenora 63, Manhattan Christian 60, 3OT
Kyle Frye's game-tying 3-point attempt was off the line at the buzzer for Manhattan Christian, preventing a fourth overtime and giving Westby-Grenora the win.
Frye had already hit two buzzer-beating 3-pointers to force both double and triple overtime and keep the Eagles temporarily alive. He finished with a team-high 22 points, but a 4-for-20 team effort from the free-throw line doomed the Eagles.
Westby's Kevin Rust totaled a game-high 25 points and Daulton Holecek added another 13 points in the first-round win.