(Editor's note: This story will be updated throughout the day with game recaps and video highlights.)
BILLINGS - Two-time defending State AA champion Billings Skyview is marching into the semifinals once again.
The Falcons held off a late surge from Kalispell Glacier to win 51-46 and seal a trip to Friday's semifinals inside First Interstate Arena at MetraPark in Billings.
Skyview held a 44-37 lead late in the fourth quarter, but Glacier trimmed it to two on multiple occasions in the final minute, including 46-44 with 47 seconds remaining. Glacier elected not to foul, however Skyview's Payton Sanders converted a three-point play with 30.3 seconds remaining to put the Falcons up five.
Glacier answered back with a quick basket by Ty Olsen, then Skyview threw the ball away on the ensuing possession. A 3-point try by Will Salonen, however, came up short and Sanders corralled the rebound before being fouled and icing the game from the foul line.
Skyview led by nine at halftime and stretched it to 11 early in the second quarter, but Glacier hung around and chipped away at the Falcon lead before pulling within one possession late.
Sanders led Skyview with 20 points and four assists. Lane love added 14 for the Falcons. Glacier was led by Noah Dowler's 15-point, 11-rebound double-double.
Skyview is in Friday night's semifinal at 6:30 p.m., while Glacier drops to loser-out action.
Helena Capital 51, Bozeman Gallatin 41
Helena Capital closed the third quarter on a 7-1 run to grab a 32-29 lead and pulled away from Bozeman Gallatin in the fourth quarter for a 51-41 win to advance to Friday's semifinal against Billings Skyview.
Gallatin pulled within one to open the fourth quarter, but Brayden Koch promptly answered with a 3-point play to extend the Bruins' lead again. Koch had another two-handed punch on top of a Gallatin player with just under four minutes to play to put an exclamation point on Capital's second-half run.
Gallatin led 15-13 after the first quarter and was leading 21-19 in the closing seconds of the first half before a Capital steal led to a two-handed jam from Koch to pull even at the break.
Koch led all scorers with 25 points on 7 of 12 shooting from the floor and 10 of 11 from the foul line. He was the only Bruin in double figures. Jake Vigen led Gallatin with 13 points and six rebounds.
Capital and Skyview are slated to tipoff at 6:30 p.m. in Friday night's semifinal. Gallatin drops to loser-out action and will face Kalispell Glacier.
Bozeman 55, Missoula Big Sky 47
Bozeman closed the game on an 11-5 spurt to hold off a surging Missoula Big Sky, 55-47, and advance to Friday night's semifinal round.
The Hawks led by 10 at halftime, but the Eagles whittled the lead down to two, 44-42, with just under four minutes to play. Bozeman promptly pushed the lead back to double digits before icing the game at the foul line.
Bozeman had three players in double figures, led by Trent Rogers' 17 points. Jackson Basye added 14, while Ty Huse had eight points and nine rebounds. Big Sky was led by Caden Bateman, who finished with 14 points and seven rebounds.
Bozeman will play in the late semifinal on Friday night, while Missoula Big Sky is in loser-out action.
Billings Senior 74, Butte 62
Massive second and fourth quarters propelled Billings Senior to a 74-62 win over Butte in the opening round of the State AA tournament.
Senior trailed by two after the first quarter but out-scored Butte 18-9 in the second quarter to lead by seven at the break, 37-30. It was a similar story in the fourth quarter with Senior holding a 48-43 lead entering the frame. The lead was down to two at one point, but the Broncs ran away down the stretch and led by as many as 14.
Senior's Melo Pine led all scorers with 23 points while also pulling down nine rebounds. Cactus Runsabove had 17 points and sven boards. Kenley Leary led Butte with 19 points, including five 3-pointers.
Senior has a date with Bozeman in the semifinals at 8 p.m., while Butte will face Missoula Big Sky in loser-out play.
Updated scores and pairings can be found here.