The easiest game in the Western A Divisional Basketball Tournament came in the championship game for the Wildkats Saturday as they defeated the Browning Lady Indians 59-52 for the title.
After struggling against Corvallis and Libby in their first two games of the tourney, the Kats had little trouble in the title game as they defeated Browning for the third time in three weeks.
The Kats got 27 points off the bench from Hannah Schweikert, Maddie Robison and Madysen Hoerner as Josie Windauer celebrated her birthday with a team-high 16 points and 13 rebounds.
Foul trouble plaugued the Kats in the first quarter as Trista Cowan was forced to the bench with 4:57 to play after picking up her second foul. Columbia Falls took the lead on the opening play of the second quarter as Schweikert knocked down a three that helped spark a 10-0 Columbia Falls run. The Kats went up by as many as nine in the frame before settling for a 30-22 halftime advantage.
Columbia Falls continued to add to its lead in the third quarter and went up by as many as 15 in the fourth before Browning fought its way back to cut the lead to 55-50 with 1:15 to play. A lob pass from Cowan to Hoerner on an inbounds play put the Kats up seven with under 30 seconds to play and Windauer knocked down a pair of free throws to ice the game with 11.9 seconds to go.
Along with Windauer’s 16 points, Schweikert and Ryley Kehr finished with 10 points each, Robison had nine, Hoerner scored eight and LaKia Hill, Cowan and Savvy Ellis each had two points.
With the win, the Kats advance as a No. 1 seed to the State Tournament in Great Falls March 7-9. They will open the tournament against Laurel at 9:00 a.m. March 7.