The Twin Bridges boys basketball team carried its momentum over from districts by beating Lincoln, 65-50, to open the Western C Divisional Tournament in the Maroon Activities Center on Thursday afternoon.
The Lynx were playing in just their fifth divisional in school history, but struggled to keep up with a more experience Falcons club that won its sixth straight game after winning the 12C title at the MAC a week ago.
The Falcons (17-4) advance to Friday's 3 p.m. semifinal against Manhattan Christian, while Lincoln will face Plains in a 9 a.m. loser-out contest.
Twin coach Josh Keller said it was a good draw for the Falcons.
“Lincoln came out and battled,” he said. “We did a good job of jumping on them early, and then we went into a bit of lull. We had a little bit of a cushion which helped us. We battled and survived and advanced.”
The Falcons pushed their lead to 64-45 in the final three minutes after four free throws from freshman Bryce Nye, and Keller subbed out his starters.
Lynx (11-11) coach Shane Brown said he felt like his team played well, but there were some big lessons learned.
“We didn’t do a good enough job on the boards, which let them have some transition points in the first half,” he said. “It kind of hurt us. I feel like we played with them inside and outside for the game. Fouls hurt us down the stretch, which caused our defense to come back a bit.”
Twin Bridges had a 14-point halftime lead, and it never dipped below 10 in the third quarter. Senior Chace Guinnane opened the period with a 3-pointer before adding two more field goals, including a three-point play.
Senior Logan Fuit went to work in the paint for Lincoln, scoring five of the Lynx's six field goals in the quarter. But a 3-pointer from Nathan Brown at the buzzer could only trim the deficit to 50-39.
The Falcons were led by senior Wesley Harshbarger's 23 points on the night, while Guinnane chipped in 17 points and four assists.
Harshbarger got the Falcons off to a hot start in the opening quarter by putting back his own miss. Nye drained a 3-pointer from the corner, and then Harshbarger made it rain. He scored the Falcons' next 11 points over the next two minutes, while Lincoln managed a single field goal.
A jumper from senior Cooper Christensen gave the Falcons their first 10-point lead of the game, before Harshbarger ended his scoring flurry with a trey to bring his first-quarter total to 16 points.
Twin led 23-12 after the opening quarter.
Both squads traded buckets in the opening minutes of the second. But the Lynx went cold for three and a half minutes, and Christensen’s jumper pushed Twin Bridges’ lead to 14 points.
But Lincoln got three 3-pointers from three different players in the final minutes of the quarter to trail just 37-26 heading into the locker room.
Lincoln was led by Fuit with 16 points, while Brown had 13 points.
Now, Twin Bridges' focus turns to its semifinal game against Manhattan Christian.
“Manhattan (Christian) is playing as good as any Class C team I’ve seen play in a while,” Keller said. “We’re going to go watch some film on them tonight and try to come up with a gameplan to slow them down. Maybe slow the game down a little bit. We’ll try to play a little more methodical and take advantage of some of our opportunities.”
MANHATTAN CHRISTIAN 80, PLAINS 66
The Eagles routed the Horesemen in the opening game of divisionals.
Manhattan Christian was led by James Ramirez's 19 points and 13 rebounds, while Parker Dyksterhouse had 17 points.
Plains was led by Ryan Ovitt with 19 points, while Jay Vonheeder chipped in 16.
ENNIS 73, VALLEY CHRISTIAN 57
After a slow opening quarter, the Mustangs defeated the Eagles to advance to Friday's second semifinal. The Mustangs will play Arlee at 5 p.m., while Valley Christian will face Gardiner in a 10:30 a.m. loser-out game.
The Mustangs put up 28 points in the second quarter to take an early lead, and an explosive fourth quarter sealed the win.
The Mustangs were led by Jake Knack with 31 points. Leading Valley Christian was Zach Bougher with 19 points.
ARLEE 95, GARDINER 56
The Warriors outplayed the Bruins to earn a trip to the semifinals.
Arlee took a commanding lead by doubling up Gardiner 29-14 in the opening quarter, and led 50-31 at halftime.
Arlee was led by Phillip Malatare's 27 points and five assists.
The Bruins were led by Ian McIntosh's 14 points and seven rebounds.