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By Jack H. Smith
Three Forks Voice 

Outstanding season comes to an end for Wolves basketball

 

March 13, 2019

Melissa Jenkins/Three Forks Voice

Colter Miller goes up for two against Poplar.

Another strong season that featured their second consecutive trip to the state tournament came to an end last Thursday morning for the Three Forks High School boys basketball team.

The Wolves (17-8) were eliminated from the Class B Tourney with a 51-40 loss to Big Timber.

Three Forks had fallen 68-67 to Poplar in overtime action Wednesday afternoon.

Head Coach Terry Hauser said although they wanted to win unfortunately had injuries to two key guards. He said junior guard Micaiah Hauser missed most of the season with a knee injury and when he did come back he was about 70 percent healthy, adding the team also lost senior leader Payden Lynn late in the season. Lynn was hurt for the second consecutive year the Divisional Tournament and missed the two games at state last week. Hauser said he hates to think of the what if's, but if they had their whole squad things could have been much different.

Despite dealing with the setbacks, the Wolves finished second at both the 5B District and Southern B Divisional Tournaments.

Three Forks will lose seniors Corey Yecny, Colter Miller, Bryce Olson, Kaeson Long and Lynn to graduation.

"Great group of seniors and sad to see them go," Hauser said.

POPLAR

It was a heartbreaker Thursday afternoon for the Three Forks High School basketball team.

Leading 52-35 at the end of the third quarter, the Wolves were outscored 26-9 in the fourth by Poplar and would eventually fall 68-67 in overtime to the Indians in the opening round matchup at the Class B State Tournament in Belgrade.

Hauser said once his team took the big lead they turned the ball over too much and hit the panic button down the stretch.

We blew it," Hauser said. "That's a tough loss. We should've won."

Miller lead the team in scoring with 19, Dalke had 15, Hauser finished with 14, Yecny added 11, Olson and Zach Pitcher added three and Long finished with two.

It was a good opening quarter for the Wolves in front of a raucous pro Three Forks crowd. The Wolves would score the opening points of the quarter on a bucket from Dalke. They would take a 14-7 lead after a Long layup and after a Poplar free throw would extend the lead back to seven (16-9) going into the second after a basket by Hauser who had six in the quarter.

The Indians would storm back in the second and score the first nine of the quarter to take a two-point lead before Pitcher would nail a corner three to once again take the lead 19-18.

After a Poplar basket to regain the lead by one, Yecny scored after grabbing the rebound off his previous miss to put Three Forks back in the lead 21-20. It would be the last points of a half where the Wolves had six players score lead by Hauser with six and Miller with five.

Three Forks would come out on fire in the third quarter. The Wolves would open the quarter on a 22-10 run and take a 40-27 lead on basket by Hauser. Four players scored during the run including two three pointers and a basket from Miller and six points from Dalke. Three Forks would take their biggest lead to date in the game 48-32 on another Dalke layup. After three Poplar points Miller would drain another three and a Hauser bucket would close out the third and give the Wolves a 52-35 going into the final quarter.

The Indians were far from finished and started the fourth on a 13-2 run to cut the lead to four 54-50. After a Miler basket, Poplar would score the next 6 and tie the game at 56.

Tied at 58, the Indians would take their first lead of the second half 60-58 with 1:25 left in the game.

Olson connected on one of two free throws to cut the lead to one with 45 second left. Poplar's Kenny Smoker missed the front end of a one on one with 27 seconds left but the Indians pulled down the rebound. Winn Mains hit one of two to push the lead to two. A Miller put back after a rebound would tie the game at 61 with 9.9 seconds left in regulation.

Poplar would miss on their next possession and a Hauser rebound would give Three Forks the ball back with 2.2 seconds remaining. Following a timeout, the Wolves were unable to get off a shot sending what had truly been a back and forth affair into overtime.

The Indians would score the first two of overtime, but Miller once again answered to tie the game at 63 with 2:45 remaining. Poplar would drain a three on their next possession to regain the lead at 66-63. They would increase the lead to 67-63 before Dalke scored to cut it to 67-65 with 11 seconds left. Smoker would drain one of before a Hauser layup with 2 seconds left to cut the lead to 68-67. The Wolves were unable to get the ball back and fell by one.

BIG TIMBER

Three Forks fell Friday morning 51-40 in an elimination game against Big Timber. It was the fourth matchup of the season between the teams.

Three Forks was led in scoring by Miller with 17. Olson was also in double figures with 10, Dalke added six, Yecny had five and Hauser finished with two points. Kell Schwers led the Herders with 17.

Big Timber would start strong taking an early 8-2 lead. Three Forks would battle back and cut the lead to 10-5 after a basket from Yecny. The Herders would stretch the lead to 13-5 before two Hauser free throws to cut the lead to 13-7 going into the second quarter.

Big Timber would extend their lead to 19-9 before the Wolves came to life with a run of their own. After two free throws by Olson, Dalke and Miller both hit shots to trim the deficit to 19-15. Big Timber would push the lead to six before Three Forks ended the half in impressive fashion with two Olson free throws and a three from Miller and trailed by just one 21-20 at halftime.

The Wolves would continue to fight hard in the third quarter sparked by strong inside play from Miller and two key three pointers from Olson. Three Forks would tie the game at 22 on a basket from Yecny and after four consecutive Big Timber points would cut the lead to one on an Olson three pointer. The Herders would once again go on a 4-0 run before a Miller basket cut it to 31-29. Big Timber would close out the quarter on an 8-3 run to take a 39-32 lead going into the fourth.

Miller continued his strong inside play in fourth. His basket with 4:51 remaining chipped the lead to 43-36. The Herders would answer with an Ethan Bullock basket, but Dalke answered to make it a 45-38 game with 4 minutes left in the game. Another Dalke basket would cut the lead to 45-40 with under three minutes in regulation. The Wolves defense forced a five second call on the next Big Timber possession but could not score on offense. Blake Finn would hit one of two free throws to go up 46-40. Big Timber would seal the game at the free throw line and will move on to play Friday.

 

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