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Braves, Pack drop Western AA openers

Feb. 29—BUTTE — Get ready for Crosstown III, and set your alarm.

Glacier and Flathead both lost their opening games at the Western AA boys basketball divisional Thursday, setting up a third meeting this season between the Kalispell programs, this time at 9:30 a.m. Friday at the Butte Civic Center.

Missoula Hellgate beat Flathead 65-31 in the tournament opener, and Helena Capital once again solved Glacier, 53-44. The Knights (17-2) and Bruins (7-12) will meet in Friday's 3:30 p.m. semifinal.

The Flathead-Glacier winner would need one more victory on Saturday to secure a spot at the State AA tournament next week in Missoula.

Both teams will be looking to climb off the canvas, after the shots wouldn't fall Thursday.

Capital 53, Glacier 44

The Wolfpack (9-10) never led in this one, and when Drew Mihelish capped a 10-0 Capital run — he started it with a 3-pointer — with a layup the deficit was 23-8 midway through the second quarter.

Glacier trailed 28-17 at halftime, and drew to 32-25 on two Noah Cummings free throws at 4:15 of the third quarter.

At that moment, and again when Glacier closed to 40-34 on a basket from Cohen Kastelitz with 7 minutes left in the game, Capital called time out. Both times the Bruins found answers, including a put-back by Cole Dawes that put them in front 42-34.

Jackson Endresen's follow shot got Glacier within six again, but then Kyer Meredith hit a three and Dawes' bucket inside — he had 16 points and 10 rebounds — pushed Capital's lead to 47-36 with 2:35 remaining.

Kastelitz had 14 points and 10 rebounds to lead Glacier. Cummings had eight points and six boards.

Dylan Almquist had 16 points for the Bruins, who outscored Glacier 15-10 at the line and improved to 3-0 against the Pack this season.

Capital 11 17 12 13 — 53

Glacier 8 9 13 14 — 44

HELENA CAPITAL — Cole Dawes 5-11 4-4 16, Conor Toivonen 1-4 0-4 2, Merek Mihelish 2-8 1-3 6, Kyler Meredith 1-7 2-4 5, Dylan Almquist 5-8 4-7 16, Dane Quinn 0-0 0-2 0, Gabe Fischer 0-1 0-0 0, Daniel Larson 2-4 4-4 8, Brenton Belzer 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 16-46 15-28 53.

GLACIER — Cohen Kastelitz 6-9 2-4 14, Noah Cummings 2-7 4-4 8, Brantly Salmonsen 1-4 2-2 4, Liam Ells 2-8 0-2 6, Easton Kauffman 1-6 1-1 3, Luke Nikunen 0-1 0-0 0, Owen Henry 0-2 0-0 0, Joshua Eagleton 1-4 1-2 3, Slate Burrington 1-3 0-4 2, Jackson Endresen 2-4 0-0 4, Ben Winters 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 16-49 10-19 44.

3-point goals — Capital 6-17 (Dawes 2-2, Almquist 2-4, Meredith 1-4, Mihelish 1-5), Glacier 2-10 (Ells 2-4). Rebounds — Capital 35 (Dawes 10, Toivonen 8), Glacier 36 (Kastelitz 10, Cummings 6). Fouls — Capital 19, Glacier 19. Fouled out — Burrington. Turnovers — Flathead 12, Glacier 12.

Hellgate 65, Flathead 31

By halftime Zane Gillhouse had nine points, Easton Sant had eight and the Knights owned a 34-14 lead.

Lyric Ersland reached double figures for flathead (0-19), with 10 points. He and Gabe Sims each snared four rebounds.

Gillhouse finished with 16 points and nine boards. Evan Pyron came off the benach and added 12 for the Knights.

Flathead 5 9 6 11 — 31

Hellgate 17 17 14 17 — 65

FLATHEAD — Gabe Sims 1-2 1-2 3, Gabe St. Germain 0-2 0-0 0, Lyric Ersland 3-9 1-2 10, brodee Zahn 1-5 0-0 2, Jordan Griffin 2-10 0-0 4, Dustyn Franchini-White 0-0 0-0 0, Stephen Riley 0-2 2-2 2, Noah Sonju 0-1 1-2 1, Brody Thornsberry 0-1 0-0 0, Tyler Willias 0-3 0-0 0, David Moody 1-1 0-0 2, Korbin Eaton 3-7 0-0 7. Totals 11-42 5-8 31.

MISSOULA HELLGATE — Luke Hoppe 0-2 0-0 0, Zane Gillhouse 7-10 0-0 16, Easton Sant 2-23 2-2 8, Colter Russell 2-3 0-0 4, Chane McNulty 3-5 0-0 6, Parker Link 1-2 2-2 5, Jacob Finch 0-1 0-0 0, Vinny Paffhausen 0-1 1-2 1, Evan Pyron 6-8 0-0 12, Schider 0-1 1-2 1, Spender Wayland 4-5 0-0 9, Ryan Davis 1-3 0-0 3. Totals 26-44 7-10 65.

3-point goals — Flathead 4-17 (Ersland 3-7, Eaton 1-5), Hellgate 6-12 (sant 2-2, Gillhouse 2-4, Link 1-1, Davis 1-3). Rebounds — Flathead 16 (Sims 4, ERsland 4), Hellgate 35 (Gillhouse 9). Fouls — Flathead 15, Hellgate 10. Turnovers — Flathead 11, Hellgate 11.