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By Jack H. Smith
Three Forks Voice 

Three Forks moving on at state tournament


March 11, 2020

Micaiah Hauser rises for the shot at the Class B State Tournament.

It wasn't easy, but the Three Forks High School basketball boys basketball team is moving on. After leading the entire first three quarters, the Wolves fell behind in the fourth quarter but would rally back after two key Zach Pitcher three-pointers to defeat Deer Lodge 38-35 Thursday night in the quarterfinals of the Montana Class B State Tournament. Three Forks will move on to the semifinals and a matchup against Fairfield scheduled for 8 p.m. at the Butte Civic Center.

"The kids just battled. We didn't play well. Deer Lodge got us out of our game. Their 1-3-1 (zone) gave us fits, and we found a way to win," said Head Coach Terry Hauser.

With a close game near the end, Hauser told his team to figure out a way to win.

"Figure out a way to be on top at the end at that's what they did. It was a tough game," he said.

It was a low scoring first quarter with Three Forks notching the first four points of the game on two baskets from Dustin Dalke. Deer Lodge would not score their first points until the 2:20 mark to cut the lead to 4-2. Micaiah Hauser, who once again valiantly played through injuries to both hands, answered right back to put Three Forks up 6-2. After a Wardens basket, Dalke scored connected inside to push the lead to 8-4. Neither team would score again in the second with the Wolves taking a four-point lead into the second.

Three Forks once again played a ferocious brand of defense in the second quarter giving up just three points and led 18-7 lead at half. Dalke scored the first points of the second at the six-minute mark to increase the lead to 10-4. Zach Pitcher would make it a 4-0 run to start the quarter with a driving layup to give Three Forks a 12-4 lead. The Wolves would build their biggest lead of the game on three from Owen Long with under a minute left and would take the 11-point advantage into halftime.

Deer Lodge was strong to open the third quarter and cut the lead to 19-14 before a Zach Pitcher lead put the Wolves up 22-14 with 3:40 left. The Wardens would answer right back and go on their first extended run of the game to cut the lead to 25-22 with 59 seconds left in the quarter.

Deer Lodge continued their run and took their first lead of the game 26-25 in the first minute of the second. They would extend it to four on their next possession to lead 29-25. The Wolves would slowly chip away at the Wardens lead and retook the lead at 32-31 on a Pitcher three with 2:20 left in the game. Pitcher drilled another three at the 1:05 push the lead to 35-31.

"He's hit big shot after big shot for us," Coach Hauser said about Pitcher.

Deer Lodge senior Ben Anderson hit two free throws to cut the lead before a Hauser free gave Three Forks a 36-33 lead with a free throw of his own. After the Wardens cut the lead to 36-35 on two Ozzie King free throws, Hauser hit two more to once again make it a three-point game. A Deer Lodge shot at the buzzer fell short to give the Wolves the victory.

Pitcher led the team with 14, Hauser and Dalke each had 10 and Long added four.


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