BUTTE — Arlee turned the defensive intensity up in the second half as the Warriors turned a three-point halftime lead into a 58-37 first-round state Class C state tournament win Thursday over Belt.
Will Mesteth hit three consecutive three-pointers in the third quarter for Arlee, which helped stretch the lead out. He finished with a game-high 15 points on 5-of-11 shooting.
“We’ve been looking forward to this for a long time, to be able to come back here and play them,” Warriors head coach Zanen Pitts said. “The halftime talk was real simple, and basic. It was get back out there and get some shots up so we can find our rhythm.
“We overplayed a lot and exposed ourselves and then we went to more of a contained effort. We were able to get some shots to fall and that was an advantage for us.”
Arlee allowed just 14 points in the second half as Belt went 5-of-20 over the final 16 minutes of the game. The Huskies made just 4-of-17 shots from behind the arc for the game.
Keagan Stroop led Belt with 12 points, but also had seven turnovers in 26 minutes. Trey Heiztman was also in double-digits for the Huskies, scoring 10 and grabbing six rebounds.
Arlee will get Scobey in the semifinals at 6:30 p.m. Friday night. Scobey advanced with a 45-43 win over Melstone on a buzzer-beating shot by Caden Handran.
“My fourth assistant coach, Tyler Tanner, has been in eastern Montana getting us stuff on them all season long,” Pitts said. “I guess you’ll know my scouting report tomorrow night at about eight o’clock, you’ll see what happens.”