BUTTE -- Polson turned in the biggest rebound of the Class A state tournament when it bounced back from a 20-point loss in its opening game against Billings Central. The Pirates then won three hotly contested consolation games and captured the third-place trophy with a 54-47 win over Belgrade on Saturday at the Butte Civic Center.
Dillon's title run, on the other hand, was hardly ever in doubt. The Beavers completed their perfect season with a Class A title, topping Billings Central, 59-45.
In the third-place game, the Pirates held the Panthers in check early, as they struggled through the first half. Belgrade shot just 19 percent from the floor and trailed by a 29-10 margin at halftime.
Their low shooting percentage in the first half included a 1-for-12 mark from 3-point range.
Belgrade started to find its mark midway through the third quarter and staged a furious comeback that saw Polson’s led shrink to four points with 1:11 to play in the fourth quarter.
The Pirates were able to build a 52-44 lead with 24.9 seconds to play but Brock Salsbury hit a 3 after a mad scramble for a loose ball.
Polson closed out the win at the free-throw line.
Rensvold finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Pirates, with Jeremiah Noth Piegan adding 15 points. Fowler led Belgrade with 17 points. Layman had 12 points, and Salsbury finished with 11 rebounds.
It was Polson's second straight third-place finish at the Class A tournament.
Dillon 59, Butte Central 45
Twenty-four games, 24 opponents, 24 wins and another state championship.
That turned out to be the story for the Dillon boys’ basketball team, this season, which scripted its happy ending with a 59-45 win over Billings Central in the State Class A Championship game Saturday.
Tanner Haverfield scored 26 points and the Beavers’ defense stepped up to its latest challenge to win its second straight Class A crown – both coming against Billings Central.
The Beavers were playing in their fourth straight Class A title game. They lost to Columbia Falls and Laurel in 2014 and 2015, respectively, before beating Billings Central, 66-61, last season.
“We knew, coming back from winning last year, that we were going to get everybody’s best shot,” said Troy Andersen, who finished with nine points and nine rebounds. “We just tried to take it one game at a time and just play really hard at practice. If we practiced hard, we would play hard and it all ended up good for us this year.
“Our coaches are just great. They prepared us for everything that anyone can throw at us.”
The Beavers scored the first five points of the third quarter to build a 36-24 lead, and the advantage never got closer than 10 points.
Though Dillon’s defense came up big, Billings Central struggled to get the ball into the basket. The Rams shot 42 percent (6 of 14) from 3-point range in their semifinal win over Laurel but had to settle for 21 (7 for 28) percent against Dillon.
“The ball didn’t go in for us and it definitely went in for them,” Rams coach Jim Stergar said. “It’s tough to overcome. They did the same thing to us last year. They got guys hitting 3’s all over the place. It’s tough to get to every single guy on that team that can hit a three. They put the time in and they deserved to make those shots.
“We had our chances. Not as good as looks as they had, but ours didn’t go in and theirs did.”
Polson 62, Butte Central 59 (OT)
In a battle for a trip to the consolation championship game, the Butte Central Maroons and Polson Pirates boys’ basketball teams duked it out all morning. But in the end, the Pirates defeated the Maroons 62-59 in overtime to move into the third place game.
During the Western A divisionals tournament, the Pirates bested the Maroons, but on Saturday it was tight until the final seconds.
Rensvold finished with another double-double to carry the Pirates. The senior post and University of Montana football recruit finished with 10 points and 12 boards in the early game. Fellow Pirate and soon-to-be Griz gridder Tanner Wilson added a game-high 23 points.
The Maroons were led by McGree with 13 points and four rebounds. Senior Tanner Kump chipped in 11 points and two rebounds. Butte Central shot 43 percent from the field and was 70 percent at the free-throw line.
Polson shot 52 percent from the field and was 79 percent at the free-throw line. Rensvold had a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. The Pirates outrebounded the Maroons 30 to 17.