Kendra Spotted Bear fires off a shot in front of the Shelby bench Friday night. Photo by Mike Bashor

The Cut Bank girls basketball team cemented their spot at No. 2 in the league and secured a bye at districts with a 57-41 victory at Shelby on Friday night.

Fairfield will be the No. 1 seed at the district tournament this week at Cut Bank, and the Lady Wolves will be the No. 2 seed. Both teams receive a first-round bye.

Cut Bank scored the first 13 points, and Shelby’s Jori Clary finally got the Lady Coyotes on the board with a 3-pointer nearly 6 minutes into the first quarter. Reese Lee hit another 3-pointer to pull Shelby to within seven points at the end of the first period.

Cut Bank led by as many as 15 and was up 30-18 at the half, but the home team battled back and outscored the Lady Wolves 19-9 in the third to pull within two.

Ellie McDermott hit a 3-pointer with 7 minutes left in the game to pull Shelby to within a point at 41-40, but Cut Bank closed out the game with a 12-7 run.

Aliyah Cruz scored a team-high 15 points for Cut Bank, while Destini Anderson finished with 14. MacKenzie Johnson scored 10.

Shelby’s Cameron Blevins led all scorers with 21 points.

“We missed a few shots early in the second half, and they hit a few, and from there it was us responding to their runs and making plays down the stretch,” Cut Bank head coach Brandon Kavanagh said.

The Lady Coyotes ended up as the No. 4 seed and will open the district tournament against Choteau at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Conrad faces Rocky Boy at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the other first-round game. Cut Bank will open against the winner of that game at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Tickets for the six sessions of the District 1B girls and boys tournaments Feb. 16-18 are available for purchase online through GOFAN. For more information, visit https://gofan.co/app/school/MT17081. The top four teams at Districts head to Glasgow the following week for the divisional tournament.

Thursday at Cut Bank, the Lady Wolves hosted class A Browning, which was ranked No. 3 in the state going into the game. It was a rematch of a blowout earlier this season in Browning, when the Lady Indians led 19-0 after one period. Thursday’s game went by a different script, however. The Lady Wolves went toe-to-toe with their Glacier County rivals and trailed 33-30 at the half.

Browning outscored Cut Bank 17-2 in the third, however, and pulled away for a comfortable 67-42 win.

“I thought against Browning we did a great job at fighting back after getting down early to pull it close at half and tie it at 33-33 right out of the break,” Kavanagh said. “But Browning is good, really good. We are nowhere near being able to match their size or depth and got worn down as the second half went on but I’m proud of the fight we showed.”

Kendra Spotted Bear led Cut Bank with 13 points. Johnson scored 11 and pulled down six rebounds, and Cruz finished with 10 points and four steals.

Kaldie Connelly scored 15 points to lead Browning.

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