Friday, May 27, 2022

Blue Hawks dominate Deer Lodge

Valley Press | January 19, 2022 12:00 AM

By the time the Deer Lodge Wardens rolled into Thompson Falls this past Saturday, the Blue Hawks were anything but welcoming hosts.

A pair of losses earlier in the week to Western 7B conference foes was the impetus for not hitching up the welcome wagon as Thompson Falls rolled over Deer Lodge 60-29 Saturday afternoon on the Blue Hawks home court.

Earlier in the week, the Hawks had lost by a lopsided 56-30 margin to the visiting Bigfork Valkyries after being upended 56-48 by the Eureka Lions in Eureka.

So by time Deer Lodge came calling, the Blue Hawks were in the mood for a victory.

They got what they wanted.

T Falls let the Wardens know early on they were in no mood to be cordial hosts, jumping to a 12-5 first quarter lead over the 1-6 Deer Lodge team and pouring it on the rest of the way.

The Blue Hawks went on to outscore the Wardens 19-9 in the second quarter, upping their half-time advantage to 31-14.

With Nathan Schraeder and Jesse Claridge leading the way offensively, the Blue Hawks made up for a lackluster week that included the disheartening, lopsided loss to Bigfork, by taking no prisoners against the Wardens.

They added five points to their halftime lead during the third quarter and were up 44-22 as the two teams headed into the fourth quarter.

The win boosted Thompson Falls to 2-2 in Western 7B play and 5-4 overall, while Deer Lodge fell to 1-6 on the year.

Schraeder led all scorers with 17 points on the night, while Claridge added 16 to the Blue Hawks total.

That win came on the heels of an unexpectedly large loss to Bigfork this past Thursday in Thompson Falls.

The game began with what looked like a close battle shaping up, with Bigfork holding a narrow 13-9 lead after the first quarter. Things changed quickly in the second quarter as the Bigfork defense held Thompson Falls to three points while their offense scored 12. That upped Bigfork’s halftime lead to 25-12.

The Valkyries built on their halftime lead in the third quarter, outscoring the Blue Hawks 16-7 behind the shooting of Nick Walker, who finished with a team-high 12 points. The fourth quarter began with Bigfork holding a 41-19 advantage.

The visitors added four more points to their lead in the last eight minutes of play to secure the win, and up their season record to 5-4. The Valkyries are 4-1 in conference play.

Thompson Falls, meanwhile, dropped to 2-2 in Western 7B play and 4-4 overall with the loss.

The Blue Hawks began their week with a road trip to Eureka to face the Lions.

And as the final score indicated, it was a close game most of the way. Eureka grabbed a 16-13 first quarter lead, then added one point to that margin in the second quarter when they out-pointed T Falls 12-11.

At halftime the host team was up 28-24.

Throughout the game the Lions were led by Gavin Bates, who scored a game-best 24 points for the Lions, who added another four points to their lead in the third quarter. Heading into the final eight minutes of play, the Lions clung to a 41-33 advantage.

Both teams scored 15 points during the final quarter, allowing Eureka’s early lead to stand up the rest of the way.

This week the T Falls boys play at Libby tonight (Tuesday), then come home to host rival Plains on Thursday. Plains was one of two area teams to greatly curtail their extra-curricular activities due to co-vid concerns, so check with your school’s website for confirmation of upcoming games.

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