COLUMBIA -- Outscored 50-32 in the second half, the Hayti Indians couldn't punch their ticket to the Class 2 finals on Thursday falling to Billings 79-60 their semifinals game at Mizzou Arena in Columbia.
Maurion Newbill led Hayti with 12 points off the bench while Jerome Thomas added 10 points and 11 rebounds.
The first half was tight the entire way with Billings holding a slim 15-13 edge after one quarter after starting the game on a 5-0 run.
Hayti battled back and the two teams went back and forth for most of the second quarter.
Down by just one point at the half, 29-28, Hayti sprung out of the second half with a 10-4 run to take their largest lead of the night, 38-33.
Billings, however, answered with a 22-5 run to finish out the third quarter. Billings scored 11 points off turnovers in the third frame and had 20 points in the paint.
The closest the Indians could cut their deficit was 10 points early in the fourth. Billings led by as much as 26 points during the fourth quarter as they outscored Hayti 24-17 to advance to the state championship game.
Austin Essick led Billings with 25 points while Kaleb Harter and Brady Chastain added 16 and 15 points respectively.
Billings shot 47.8 percent from the field while Hayti went 40.9 percent and committed 24 turnovers, which Billings turned into 27 points.
Hayti (21-10) will play Osceola on Friday at 1:40 p.m. Osceola (21-10) was defeated by Salisburty 77-43 in the other semifinal on Thursday.
Billings (28-3) will seek their first state title on on Saturday at 1:20 p.m. when they take on Salisbury (30-1), who is also seeking their first-ever state championship in boys basketball.
HAYTI (60) -- Keenon Norris 6, Hunter Turner 7, Karnard Humes 8, Jerome Thomas 10, Demetrius Luster 4, Maurtion Newbill 12, Jermel Covington 1, Antonio Johnson 3, Frankie Burden 7, Brandon Burden 2. FG 27 FT 4-8 F 19 (3-pointers: Turner 1, Johnson 1. Fouled out: none.)
BILLINGS (79) -- Kaleb Harter 16, Chad Yeokum 5, Austin Essick 25, Connor Jenisch 10, Brady Chastain 15, Dawson Meyer 8. FG 32 FT 10-15 F 11 (3-pointers: Yeokum 1, Essick 1, Chastain 3. Fouled out: none.)