It was not a conference game, but the enthusiasm was certainly there last Friday night when Thompson Falls hosted Plains in varsity boys’ basketball.
Thompson Falls led by as many as 11 points late in the third quarter, but was outscored by Plains 23-3 in the decisive fourth quarter en route to a 50-33 win.
Plains began the week of competition with an excellent overall effort at home against top-five ranked Arlee. The Horsemen nearly matched the Warriors point-for-point, but Arlee was able to get a bit of a cushion and posted a 75-66 victory.
Thompson Falls capped pre-holiday play by cruising past Troy 55-37 last Friday in the Blue Hawks’ conference opener in Troy. It was their first victory of the season and will make it a cheerful Christmas for the players and coaches.
Plains netted 22 points in the first quarter against Arlee and would not let the Warriors pull away.
“We shot the lights out. We scored more than have did all year,” Plains head coach Tyrel Allen said.
All five Horsemen starters scored in double figures. Esvin Reyes had his first double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Derick Curry had 15 points, Treydon Brouillette 12, and Jake Weyer and Matt McCracken 11 each.
Greg Whitesell paced Arlee with 32 points. Isaac Fisher had 18 and Darshan Bolen 10.
Plains had 24 turnovers in the contest.
WHILE PLAINS was scoring consistently, Thompson Falls was cold as ice in the fourth quarter of last Thursday’s game.
The Blue Hawks led 30-19 late in the third quarter, but the Horsemen got into a gallop behind 6-foot-4 senior Derick Curry. He netted 11 of his game-high 21 points in the final period.
“The big difference between the first half and the second half is the boys came out and played with more intensity,” Allen said. “They really played about eight minutes straight of hard-nosed basketball and created some turnovers and that’s nice to see.”
“We made some adjustments at halftime and shut them down a little bit,” the coach added.
Both Curry and McCracken had double-doubles. Curry had 11 rebounds. McCracken had 12 points and 10 boards. McCracken turned in a plus-17 on the “big char,” Allen said of the senior.
“That was an epic collapse,” T-Falls head coach Jake Mickelson said. “A lot of things went wrong for us. We got a little tired. Give Plains all the credit … They had a little spark and ran with it.”
Grant Lundberg netted 16 points in the first half for the Blue Hawks, but went without a field goal after halftime; he finished with 18 points.
While Plains was 6-for-13 from the line, T-Falls was 6-for-10 on free throws.
THOMPSON FALLS rebounded with the 18-point win over Troy.
“That was a big one. It was our first conference game,” Mickelson said. “We responded really well.”
The Blue Hawks led by 10, but fell behind by a deuce at halftime.
“We went on a 21-2 run and we ended up coasting to the win,” Mickelson. “We had some guys come off the bench who provided a spark.” Specifically, they were freshman Jaden Isaac and senior Brian Henry. Isaac had seven points. “He lit a fire under us,” the coach said.
Lundberg led T-Falls with 18 points. Nathan Schraeder had a career-high nine, and Ethan Brown added seven. Trey Fisher grabbed seven boards.
After the break, T-Falls plays Loyola on Thursday, Jan. 3 and hosts Eureka on Saturday, Jan. 5 in conference action.
Plains at St. Regis on Jan. 3, and hosts Hot Springs on Jan. 4.