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Bigfork girls top T-Falls in battle of unbeatens

by CHUCK BANDEL
Valley Press | January 19, 2022 12:00 AM

Here in horse country the old saying goes “if you get knocked off the horse, get right back up in the saddle”.

The Thompson Falls girls took that adage to heart by rebounding in a big way from a lopsided loss in a highly anticipated match of unbeaten Western 7B teams on Tuesday.

Heading into the game with Bigfork, Thompson Falls was 7-0 on the year, while the Lady Valkyries were 8-0. It was a clash that left basketball enthusiasts drooling with anticipation, but the 69-30 loss to Bigfork turned the anticipation into head scratching.

What figured to be the girls game of the year fell apart quickly as the Valkyries used their superior height and experience to take control of the contest early and never look back.

Bigfork rode the shooting of junior Scout Nadeau and freshman Braden Gunlock, who scored six points each in the first quarter, to boost them to a 19-8 lead after the first eight minutes of the game. And the Bigfork defense was equally as dominating as they continue to pester the Lady Hawks throughout the night.

In the second quarter, senior Emma Berreth tossed in six points to keep the lead growing. By halftime Bigfork held a 33-16 lead and were never threatened the rest of the way.

Gunlock added another seven points to her total in the third quarter as the Valkyries expanded their lead to 56-24 with eight minutes to go in the game. That lead would grow by seven to reach the final 69-30 total.

Gunlock, a 5-11 forward, wound up as the game’s leading score with 18 points. Junior forward Avery Burgess led Thompson Falls with 11 points.

The win bumped Bigfork to a conference best 5-0 mark and kept them unbeaten on the year at 9-0. The Lady Hawks fell to 3-1 in the conference and 7-1 overall with the loss.

With that stinging defeat no doubt still ringing in their ears, the Lady Hawks took to the court to prove they were over the loss and ready to get back on track.

They showed no mercy against the Lady Wardens, blasting out to a 22-1 lead after the first eight minutes of play. With solid scoring throughout their lineup and their signature swarming defense back in action, the Lady Hawks expanded their early lead by outscoring Deer Lodge 24-8 in the second quarter, setting up a 46-9 halftime lead.

A total of four T Falls players scored in double figures on the night, topped by the 19 points from senior forward Maliyah LeCoure.

The Lady Hawks kept up the aggressive attack the rest of the game, adding 12 points to their commanding lead in the third quarter to go up 63-14 with eight minutes to play.

At that point, the Montana high school basketball Mercy Rule was in play and the game clock quickly sped by.

In addition to LeCoure’s offensive production, the Lady Hawks got 14 from Natalie Roberts, 16 from Caity Alexander and 11 from Ellie Baxter.

The Lady Hawks are scheduled to play a home game against county rival Plains tonight (Tuesday), then take to the road for a game against the Lady Loggers in Libby.

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