Thursday, February 17, the Southwestern A District boys and girls basketball tournament begins in Dillon. Hamilton, Corvallis and Stevensville will be moving through the games, with only four teams moving on to the Divisional A tournament, which is in Hamilton this year, February 24-26.

Both the girls and boys teams of the host Dillon Beavers from Beaverhead County are rated number one in the district and will get "byes" in the first day of competition Thursday. The Bitterroot Valley boys teams take to the court at 12:30 p.m. for the Hamilton Broncs against the Corvallis Blue Devils - a rematch of last week's game in Corvallis, where the Blue Devils defeated the Broncs 55 to 41. The Broncs will be seeking revenge.

On the rest of the first day matchups for the boys - Frenchtown will take on East Helena at 6:30 p.m. and the 8 p.m. game will bring the Stevensville Yellowjackets against the Butte Central Maroons, also rated at the top of the pack.

The Stevensville Lady Yellowjackets will be up against Frenchtown in their first game of the district tourney. That game will be at 11 a.m. Thursday. Corvallis will play at 2 p.m., when the Lady Blue Devils battle Butte Central. And the Hamilton Lady Broncs are scheduled for a 5 p.m. game against East Helena.

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The losers will go into the "losers out" bracket. If they have two losses, a team will be eliminated from the district tournament. The winners, of course, keep advancing to the Saturday Consolation games (Saturday at 3:30 p.m. for the girls and 5 p.m. for the boys) and the District Championships, which will be at 6:30 p.m. Saturday for the girls and 8 p.m. Saturday for the boys.

The top four girls teams and the top four boys teams will advance to the Western A Divisional Tournament at Hamilton High School the next weekend, February 24-26. By the way, the State A Championships will held March 10-12 in Missoula. Good luck to the Bitterroot teams in the district tournament!

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