Wolves finish 1 win shy of state
March 8, 2023
There was plenty to be proud of with this year's Three Forks High School Boys' Basketball team.
After losing eight seniors from last year's state championship squad, the 2022-23 team forged their own identity, ended the campaign as 5B regular season and tournament champions, and finished just one game away from the state tournament.
The Wolves' season came to an end at last week's Southern B Divisional Tournament after a 73-55 loss to Lame Deer. Three Forks opened the Divisional Tournament on March 1 with a 70-57 win over Baker. Two days later, the Wolves would lose 51-46 in the semifinals against eventual champion Columbus, setting up the elimination game with the Morning Stars.
After falling behind 2-0 to the Spartans, a Hunter Feddes three would give the Wolves a lead they would never relinquish.
"It's amazing. It feels amazing. Nobody expected us to be here, and here we are in the semis. It's an awesome feeling," said Head Coach Terry Hauser.
Three Forks would lead 14-11 at the end of the first quarter, and Wolves started strong in the second quarter scoring the first ten points to push the lead to 24-11. Baker stormed back and scored the next eight, cutting the lead to 24-19. Three Forks would outscore the Spartans 7-4 to close the second and took a 31-23 lead into halftime.
It was a huge third quarter for the Wolves, who had as big as a 52-32 lead after another Feddes three-pointer and led 54-36 going into the final quarter.
Baker was far from done to start the fourth and went on an 11-0 run to cut the lead to 54-47. Following a bucket from Dylan Swenson to push the lead back to nine, the Spartans would get as close as seven one more time. After two Swenson free throws, a deep three from Sam Tesoro made it a 61-49 game with 3:50 remaining.
Swenson led Three Forks with a game-high 21, and Feddes finished with 11. Colten Hayder and Tesoro were also in double figures with 10. Shane Williams finished with nine, Caleb Van Vleet had seven, and Carson Woodland added two.
Hauser said his team aimed to get to the charity stripe, and although they only made 18, they still got 35 attempts.
In an intense battle in the semifinals Friday night against Columbus, Three Forks would take a 28-24 lead at halftime. The Cougars had a solid third quarter outscoring the Wolves 13-5 and a 37-33 lead into the final quarter.
Three Forks would battle back and pull as close as 46-45 with two minutes left in the game.
It was a big night for Williams, who finished with 18. Swenson was also in double figures with 12, Feddes finished with six, Tesoro and Van Vleet had for, and Hayder added two points.
The Wolves' season would come to an end Saturday morning after a 73-55 loss to Lame Deer in a game played at Rocky Mountain College.
Swenson ended his sophomore season with a huge night leading Three Forks with 24 points. Van Vleet had ten, and Williams had nine. Williams, McCauley, and Tesoro each had four.