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By Jack H. Smith
Three Forks Voice 

Wolves move to 6-1, host Butte Central Thursday


January 15, 2020

Micaiah Hauser puts up the shot in the 70-62 win over Manhattan. Three Forks hosts Butte Central Thursday. Voice photo by Jack H. Smith

After starting the first half of conference play at a perfect 5-0, the Three Forks High School boys basketball team will get a break from 5B District play with two huge games this week. The Wolves are scheduled to host unbeaten and second-ranked (Class A) Butte Central Thursday and will be on the road Saturday at Manhattan Christian, a team that has not lost a game since 2018.

Three Forks (6-1, 5-0 5B) Head Coach Terry Hauser believes it is going to be a great weekend and he is really excited for the two games.

"We should go into these games feeling confident and loose because it is a non-conference game. If we can win both or split on the weekend the kids would gain a little confidence as we approach the second half of conference play," he said. Both these teams are good year in and year out, always playing in the state tournament with two great coaches who I respect and admire. They have built top tier programs in their respective classes and done it the right way," he said.

Three Forks is no stranger to playing Christian, and Hauser enjoys coach against "Belly" (Eagle Coach Jeff Bellach), and watching the Wolves compete at a high level in those matchups. He is also excited for the opportunity presented by a game against the Maroons.

"When I coached at Butte High, I was fortunate to coach against Butte Central and that was a fun rivalry game to be part of. Butte Central is one of the most disciplined teams on both ends of the floor. They will play man to man defense (probably the best man defense I've ever coached against) physical, aggressive and very disciplined. They won't make mistakes and if we make too many, they will take advantage of them. A great game to get us ready for the competition we will see come tournament time. Might be the best team (Brodie) Kelly has had since he took over the program," Hauser said.

Looking to the game against the defending state champion Eagles, Hauser said Christian is going to light up the scoreboard even on a good defensive team.

"The key will be holding them to under 70 and that should give us a chance. we are going to have to keep up with them offensively. We need to limit their threes and always know where their shooters are. It's a rivalry game and it's going to be loud and intense. I can't wait for the weekend," he said.

In action last week, the Wolves picked up a 70-62 home win over Manhattan and a 44-40 road win Saturday at Townsend.

Three Forks would start strong in Friday game against the rival Tigers and take a 17-10 lead at the end of the first half and 35-22 lead into the half. The Wolves would start strong in the third quarter and score 16 points in the first three minutes of the second half and push the lead to as many as 22.

Manhattan would storm back and cut the lead to 66-60 with 1:38 left before the Wolves were able to seal the victory.

Hauser said he thought his team got tired at the end of the third and start of the fourth and he needs to find a way to get the starters a break.

Owen Long had 14 points against Manhattan. Voice photo by Jack H. Smith

He also credited Manhattan and said they shot the ball really well, hit some tough shots and battled back.

Hauser was pleased with the way his team came out of the break, especially the way they shared the ball and utilized the fast break.

Dustin Dalke had a huge night for Three Forks with a game-high 24 points. Micaiah Hauser finished with 16, Owen Long had 14, Zach Pitcher had 10, Austin Allen finished with four and Zane Hansen added two.

Three Forks battled back from an early deficit last Saturday to pick up their first conference win with the road win in Townsend.

Trailing 23-18 at the half, the Wolves would outscore the Bulldogs 18-8 in the third quarter to take a 36-31 lead into the final quarter.

Hauser led the team with 16, Dalke added 13, Long and Allen had six, and Pitcher added three points.


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