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By Jack H. Smith
Three Forks Voice 

Lady Wolves punch ticket to third consecutive state tourney

 

Keaton Lynn gets ready for the free throw against Huntley Project. Voice photo by Melissa Jenkins

The Three Forks High School girls basketball team is returning to the Class B State Tournament.

The defending state champion Lady Wolves won two games last Saturday and clinched their spot at next week's tournament in Belgrade with a 58-48 win over Big Timber in the Consolation Championship.

The Lady Wolves will open the state tournament at the Belgrade Events Center Thursday at 1:30 p.m. against Florence-Carlton, the top seed from the Western Division.

DIVISIONAL TOURNAMENT

It was an incredible night Saturday for Kyle Olson who finished with 35 points in the ten-point win over the Lady Herders. Kendall Lynn was also in double figures with 10, Paeton Ohs and Breanna Bloch each had four, Keaton Lynn and Kinzee Howey added two apiece and Erin Welter had one.

The Lady Wolves would take their first lead of the game 11-10 on a Kendall Lynn free throw.

After a Sydney Prather three to give Big Timber the lead back at 13-10, Three Forks would close out the quarter on a 5-0 run to take a 16-13 lead into the second.

Olson came out on fire in the second. She hit two consecutive threes and two free throws to increase the run to 13-0 and give Three Forks a 24-13 lead.

The Lady Herders would claw back into the game and cut their deficit to 26-25 with 18 seconds left in the half.

Three Forks would score the first four points of the third on baskets by Kendall Lynn and Breanna Bloch to stretch the lead to five. Big Timber would answer right back with three of their own before an Olson basket and free throw gave Three Forks a 34-30 lead. The Lady Herders would once again battle back and trim the deficit to 34-33 before a Paeton Ohs driving layup put the Lady Wolves up 36-33. Olson would connect on two free throws on the next Three Forks possession to put her squad up 38-33. After three Big Timber free throws, Olson would drain two free throws to put the Lady Wolves up four. Olson would connect on a layup with 17 seconds left in the quarter and the subsequent free throw would give Three Forks a 43-36 lead. Big Timber was able to drain a corner three with time running out and the Lady Wolves took a 43-39 lead into the fourth.

Olson would come up with a steal in the opening moments of the final quarter and was able to connect on a layup and free throw to once again extend the lead to seven, 46-39.

The Lady Herders would cut the lead to four at the four-minute mark of the quarter before Three Forks sealed the game at the free throw line.

The Lady Wolves stayed alive at the tournament Saturday morning with a 50-38 win over Townsend. It was a balanced scoring attack with Olson leading the way with 15 points and Kendall Lynn and Ohs each adding 12. Bloch had four, Keaton Lynn and McKenzie Feddes each had three and Erin Welter added one point.

Three Forks came out of the gates strong taking a 18-8 lead at the end of the first and 33-12 lead into halftime. It was the fourth time the teams had met this season and third consecutive win by the Lady Wolves.

The Lady Wolves opened the tournament with winning their fourth consecutive postseason game Thursday morning at the Southern B Divisional Tournament with a 48-38 win over Huntley Project.

It was a game of runs with Huntley Project taking an early 10-5 lead before Three Forks came to life with a 13-0 run sparked ferocious defense and eight points from Olson to take an 18-10 lead. The Lady Red Devils would add a free throw to cut the lead to 18-11 going into the second quarter. It was a huge quarter for Olson who finished with 12 points.

Lady Wolves head coach Mike Sauvageau said his team was able to get things rolling after falling behind when they switched to a man to man full court defense.

"That got us going," he said.

Three Forks opened the second with a cross court pass from Olson to Howey whose layup put the Lady Wolves up 20-11. It was a sign of things to come as the Lady Wolves would score the first nine points of the quarter with Olson connecting on a deep three and converting on a layup and subsequent free throw along with a basket from junior Kendall Lynn to push the lead to 30-11.

Huntley Project would close the half with a 6-0 run and would make things interesting when they score the first four points on the third quarter to cut the lead to 30-21. Sauvageau said after his team took the big early lead it was a like a faucet got shut off on their offense and they let the Red Devils back in the game.

Bloch would break the scoring drought with two huge free throws. Howey would connect on a layup on another assist from Olson to push the lead to 34-21.

Huntley Project would continue to fight to keep in the game and cut the lead to 36-27 early in the fourth before Kendall Lynn was able to hit a five-foot jumper and Olson followed on the next possession with a deep three-pointer.

Olson had a monster night for the Lady Wolves with a game high 28 points. Howey and Kendall Lynn each had six, Keaton Lynn and Welter added three and Breanna Bloch finished with two. Sauvageau praised the play of his bench including Keaton Lynn and Howey who he said came up with big baskets.

He said the team only finished with 14 turnovers and when they finish with under 15 they have a chance at winning games. He said the biggest blackeye from the game was rebounding adding they missed too many layups.

Three Forks fell in the semifinals Friday 53-43 against Forsyth.

The loss Friday by Three Forks was the first time they have lost a postseason since the semifinals of the 2017 tournament, a streak of 13 games.

Olson led Three Forks in scoring with 26 points. Kendall Lynn added five, Ohs finished with four, Howey and Keaton Lynn each had three and Bloch added two.

It was a slow start to the game offensively for the Lady Wolves who scored just two points in the first six minutes of the game. Trailing 7-2, Three Forks would come to life when after a free throw from Howey and Keaton Lynn put back. She tied the game with her free throw and on their next possession Olson gave the Lady Wolves their first lead of the game with a jumper just inside the three-point line. Then Forsyth would answer on their next possession and the game would go into the second half tied at 9.

A three from Olson would give Three Forks back the lead on the first possession of the second quarter. The Lady Wolves would up the lead to 14-10 on a jumper from a Bloch an take a 17-10 lead after an old-fashioned three-point play by Olson. Following a Dogie basket, Three Forks would regain the seven-point lead on a layup from Howey. Forsyth would cut the lead to 21-18 with 2:30 minutes before Olson responded with a jumper to push the lead to five. The Dogies would cut the lead to two on a three pointer late in the quarter before an Olson layup extended the lead gave the lady Wolves a 25-21 lead. Forsyth sophomore Lindsey Hein was able to score in the closing seconds of half to cut the lead to 25-23 going into the break.

Kendall Lynn battles for the rebound. Voice photo by Melissa Jenkins

Hein would tie the game for Dogies on the first possession of the second half for Forsyth who would open the third with seven consecutive points to take a five-point lead before an Olson three cut the to 30-28. After a Dogie bucket, Kendall Lynn cut the lead back to two with consecutive free throws with 3:13 left in the quarter. After a Roxanne Keefer basket to extend the lead to four, Olson would once again cut the lead to two with a pair of free throws. A three pointer from Forsyth with time running out the quarter would give them a 38-32 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Three free throws early in the quarter from Kendall Lynn would keep Three Forks around and cut the lead to 39-35. Following a steal, Olson would take it the length of the court and her layup would cut the lead to 39-37. Olson would cut the lead to one 41-40 with 5 minutes left in the game with a three pointer from the top of the key. Olson wasn't quite done, she would hit another deep three on the next Lady Wolves possession to give them a 43-41 lead. Hein would connect on the next Forsyth possession. The Dogies would take a 45-43 lead on a Jordan Cookman 10-foot jumper with 3:19 remaining. They would score the next six to take a 49-43 lead with 54 seconds remaining.

 

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