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Three Forks loses thriller at 5B District Tournament

The fifth-seeded Three Forks High School Girls' Basketball team opened the 5B District Tournament with a heartbreaking 53-51 loss to fourth-seed Townsend on February 15 at the Manhattan Christian Events Center.

Trailing 50-49 late in the fourth quarter, Maddie Tesoro hit a layup with 19 seconds left to put the Wolves up 51-50. The Bulldogs would answer with a three-point play after an offensive rebound with 5.7 left in regulation to go up by two. Three Forks turned the ball over the next possession, sealing the victory for Townsend.

Following the game, Wolves Head Coach Lacy Noble said the team's intensity was much better than it had been lately, but playing at districts was a huge learning curve for the younger girls on the team.

"Close games are fun. They are intense. There is a lot of excitement. The girls just have to learn to keep their composure and take care of the ball a little better and not rush," Noble said.

It was a phenomenal first quarter on both ends of the court for Three Forks. The Wolves locked in on defense, were hot from the outside, and took a 16-6 late in the quarter after a Tanaya Hauser three-pointer.

The Wolves would stay hot to open the second, scoring the first four points to push the lead to 20-6.

The Bulldogs would respond with a run to cut the lead to 22-15 before Three Forks closed strong to take a 28-19 lead into halftime.

It was quite the half for Hauser, who would hit four three-pointers in the first two quarters.

Noble said after being off the last few games, she was really happy Hauser shot the ball like that.

Townsend would come storming back in the third and take a one-point lead with under a minute left before Maddie Tesoro scored the last three points of the quarter at the free throw line, giving Three Forks a 39-37 lead going into the fourth.

Tesoro led the team in scoring with 16, and Hauser and Devynn Judd each finished with 12.

Noble lauded the play of Judd in the paint for the Wolves.

"She was really smart for us tonight," Noble said.

Bella Jones added four points, and AdaRae Thomas added three. Maya Noble and Kylee Reichman finished with two.

Jack H. Smith

AdaRae Thomas gets off a shot in the first quarter of the 53-51 loss.

Three Forks will next play in an elimination game on Saturday, February 17, at 9 a.m.

Noble discussed what she told her team following the loss to Townsend as they look to game on Saturday.

"I said you can look at a bracket and say this is what I want to do, but districts is always a new game. You can pick a perfect plan, and it's never going to go that way. So, I said this is where we are at. This is the plan we are going to take now. We've got two games on Saturday; hopefully, that will give us a chance to move on to the Metra," Noble said.

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