The top-seeded Twin Bridges girls basketball team remained undefeated with a 44-24 win over Clark Fork at the Western C Divisional Tournament in the Maroon Activities Center on Thursday afternoon.
The Falcons (22-0) will battle Lone Peak in Friday's 6:30 p.m. semifinal. The Mountain Cats (15-6) will try to stay alive in a noon loser-out game against Saint Regis.
Twin Bridges coach Josh Keller said the first win is “the big one.”
“Coming in, you don’t know how you’re going to come out,” Keller said. “We went to the film and we made a gameplan. Our girls just executed it to perfection. We jumped on them right away with some layups, and the rest of it kind of went as it did.”
The Falcons already had a 28-9 lead as the second half began.
The Mountain Cats couldn't overcome Twin Bridges' height and experience after the break, scoring a single point in the third quarter.
Keller began to pull his starters in the fourth, and Clark Fork scored its first field goal in more than 10 minutes with a jumper from sophomore Madison Mask. She followed up one play later with another bucket.
But the Mountain Cats struggled at the free-throw line. In the final five minutes of play, Clark Fork missed seven free throws.
Mountain Cats coach Jeff Schultz said for the first time all season, Clark Fork blocked out.
“I was really excited about that,” he said. “That’s like our Achilles heel and we really hammered that because they are so much taller than we are. I thought we did an awesome job rebounding. We’re a young and inexperienced team, so going into these kinds of games you could see those nerves.”
Junior post Kailee Oliverson quickly got the Falcons off on the right foot by winning the tip off and driving in for a layup. The Falcons followed up with a steal and Oliverson popped in her second layup of the game. Senior Audrey George's gave Twin Bridges a fast 6-0 lead.
It was their first trip to the divisional tournament for all of the Mountain Cats players, and Schultz said there were nerves and jitters as it took Clark Fork two and a half minutes to score. Junior Hailey Kelly scored Clark Fork’s first basket with a drive through the paint.
But the Falcons went on an 8-0 run with senior Cassandra Williams hitting two 3-pointers to give Twin Bridges a 20-5 lead at the end of the quarter.
The Falcons fell into a lull in the second quarter, taking almost four minutes to score their first field goal. But Oliverson broke the spell with a jumper and added two more buckets for a 26-7 lead.
The Falcons limited the Mountain Cats to nine total points in the first half.
Keller said he’ll be doing his homework before the Falcons face a familiar foe in Lone Peak in Friday's semifinals.
“We played them twice, but it’s one of those things where it’s always hard to beat a team three times,” Keller said. “But we’re going to go back and look at both tapes and see what we did for success. We’ll try to continue to build on that and come up with a gameplan.”
LONE PEAK 43, SAINT REGIS 35
The Big Horns, leading by just three points entering the fourth quarter, held off the Tigers in what was a close game from start to finish.
Lone Peak was led by seniors Luisa Locker and Dasha Bough with 12 points apiece. Madison Hill had a game-high 16 points for the Tigers.
SEELY SWAN 36, ENNIS 23
The Blackhawks broke through in the third quarter to defeat the Mustangs for a trip to the semifinals.
Seeley Swan will face Arlee at 8 p.m. in Friday's semifinals, while the Mustangs face White Sulphur in a 1:30 p.m. loser-out game.
Ennis led 16-15 at halftime, but was outscored 14-2 in the third quarter to fall behind for good.
Seeley Swan was led by Tessa Grimes' seven points, while Jourdain Klein had 11 for Ennis.
ARLEE 54, WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS 32
The Scarlets built a 31-15 first-half lead to beat the Hornets for a trip to the semifinals.
Arlee was led by Alyssia Vanderburg's 20 points, while Mesa Williams had 11 for the Hornets.