Three Forks Voice - Connect With Your Community!

By Jack H. Smith
Three Forks Voice 

Incredible season for Wolves ends at state

 

March 18, 2020

Austin Allen works inside against Fairfield.

Just seconds after the Three Forks High School boys basketball teams 58-39 semifinal loss to Fairfield in the semifinals of the Class B State Tournament, the public address announcer at the Butte Civic Center announced the rest of the state tournament had been canceled. The Wolves (20-5) who had battled through two key injuries and still managed to win the 5B District regular season and tournament titles, finish second at the Southern B Divisional Tournament and win a quarterfinal game at state would not have an opportunity to play for a chance at third place.

Shortly after the game, Head Coach Terry Hauser said it was a tough situation and the kids were down, he also shared what he told them in the locker room moments after the loss to the Eagles.

"I just let them know, the things they achieved and the adversity they went through with injuries, no state championship can compare with what we went through. The heart of these guys is unbelievable. They proved so much to me and they've shown me a lot. We are as good as any team in the state tournament with injuries. We've got guys playing at 60 percent and still putting forth the effort and battling. I cannot say enough about our team. They are the best group I've ever coach," he said.

With his team down 10 in the fourth quarter, Hauser said he found out the rest of the tournament would be canceled, and he let his team know this during a time out. Hauser added he probably should not have said anything to the team, but he wasn't sure what to do.

He also wanted his team to know just how special the run they had was.

"When I was in high school, we had dang good teams and I never played in the state tournament. Guys you have played in three. It sucks right now, but you're going to smile on it later. We had a great year, but you can't win them all. They have done a lot for this community and for me. It's sad to end, but all good things come to an end," he said.

Hauser would find out Sunday that senior Dustin Dale had refractured his fibula and it was worse than when he injured it late in the regular season.

"He battled and played for two weeks on a fractured fibula. That's' some heart right there," he said.

Hauser also expects that when senior Micaiah Hauser visits a doctor this week his x-ray will show that he was playing with a broken hand.

"What a great season and tournament run even though both our all-state players were playing through pretty significant injuries," he said.

QUARTERFINALS

It wasn't easy but, the Three Forks High School basketball boys basketball team will take it. 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.

"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 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 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 the 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.

SEMIFINALS

Dustin Dalke drives past his defender during the 38-35 quarterfinal win over Deer Lodge.

Three Forks scored the first four of the game on baskets from Dalke and Hauser to up 4-0, but the Eagles would respond scoring the next nine. The Wolves would respond to cut it to 9-6 with another bucket from Hauser. On the next Three Forks possession, Hauser would connect on a deep three to tie the game at 9. After a Fairfield basket, Hauser would tie the game with his seventh and eighth points of the opening quarter from the free-throw line to tie the game at 11. The Eagles would drain a 40-foot shot as time ran out in the quarter to take a 14-11 lead into the second.

Fairfield continued the momentum with the first four points of the quarter before Three Forks answered back with a Long free throw a Zach Pitcher three and Hauser turn around jumper to cut the lead to 18-17. The Eagles would increase their lead to 22-17 before a Dalke bucket and two Hauser free throws made it a 22-21 game. Two Eagle free throws before the break would give Fairfield a 24-21 lead going into the half.

Fairfield would stretch their lead in the third and take a 40-28 lead into the fourth quarter.

Hauser led the team with 17, Dalke had nine, Pitcher had eight, Austin Allen and Antonio Boggio added two and Long finished with one for Three Forks.

 

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