The Hamilton Lady Broncs placed third in the Western A Divisional girls basketball tournament last weekend and this week are starting play in the State tournament in Great Falls.

But the COVID-19 pandemic has the Hamilton team playing at an earlier-than-ever opening game in a Montana High School Association State tournament. The team will take the floor against Havre at 9 a.m. Wednesday, March 3. We all discovered some of the COVID tournament rules in the divisional tournament weekend. There is a very limited crowd allowed in the gym, and after each game, those folks are moved out and the area is cleansed before the next contest and a new limited crowd. Plus, the boys and girls tournaments are on the same weekend at the same location. That adds up to a lot of games, spread over an extra day of play at two gymnasiums - this week it's the CMR High School and the Montana ExpoPark Pacific Steel & Recycling Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls.

Hamilton plays Havre at 9 a.m. Wednesday. The rest of the girls' games that day - Columbia Falls versus Dawson County at 11 a.m., Ronan against Hardin at 5:30 p.m. and Billings Central against Whitefish at 7:30 p.m. If the Hamilton team wins, they play Thursday at 5:30 p.m. and if they lose, it's at 1 p.m. game Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Class A boys teams are also scheduled to start Wednesday. Ronan will play at 1 p.m. against Laurel and the Dillon Beavers are against Hardin at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, the other opening games for the boys will be Polson versus Fergus County at 9 a.m. and Billings Central against Butte Central at 11 a.m. It's a double-elimination tournament, meaning that after two losses, you're out.

KLYQ will attempt to carry as many of the Hamilton Lady Broncs games as possible on 1240 AM Radio, at www.klyq.com and on the KLYQ cellphone app.

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