LEROY -- The first round of the Division 3 District 72 boys basketball tournament began with the Evart Wildcats earning a 63-59 win over the Hart Pirates on Monday evening at Pine River High School.

With the opening-round victory, the Evart advances to the semifinal round where they will take on Shelby.

The winner moves on to the District 72 title game on Friday.

The Pirates are eliminated from the tournament and sees its season end with the defeat.

Evart trailed by just two points after what proved to be a back-and-forth first quarter.

The Wildcats used a 10-1 run to close out the second quarter and take a 29-23 lead with them into halftime.

During the first half, Evart was fueled mostly by the offensive production of Cameron Brasington and Donavin Reagan, who combined for 27 of the team's 29 points in the first 16 minutes.

The sides were deadlocked at 52 points apiece at the end of regulation after Hart trailed by as many as 14 points during the third quarter.

Evart and Hart traded buckets and each had a number of chances to put the game away as regulation came to a close, but it was the Wildcats who eventually held strong and earned the playoff victory.

In the regular season, the Wildcats turned in a 10-11 overall record and went 5-11 in Highland Conference action to finish in fifth place in the final league standings.

Hart ended its campaign at 4-17, and went 0-14 in West Michigan Conference competition, where the Spartans finished in fifth place.

Tipoff in the semifinal round is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday.