Efficiency at the free-throw line was a key for Hot Springs while picking up a pair of boys’ basketball victories last week.
After an 86-50 home-court conference loss to Arlee in a rescheduled game last Tuesday (Jan. 22), the Savage Heat used a quick start to defeat Victor 64-51 on Thursday in Victor. Hot Springs used a strong second quarter to build a lead and coasted to a 68-49 win at home over Valley Christian.
The Savage Heat take a 3-5 District 14C record and 5-9 overall mark into Friday’s home game against Plains. The Heat play at Noxon on Saturday. Hot Springs and Noxon are tied for fourth place in the conference, behind Arlee, Charlo and Plains, in that order. St. Regis is sixth, and Two Eagle River seventh.
Hot Springs battled league front-runner Arlee nearly point-for-point in the first quarter last Tuesday, trailing 21-17. But the Warriors doubled the Heat 18-9 in the second period and added a 26-point third quarter to put the game away.
Tyler Knudsen led the Heat with 17 points. Brandon Knudsen added 12, and Kyle Lawson had 10.
Greg Whitesell paced Arlee with 30 points. Isaac Fisher had 16 and Lane Johnson 10.
Hot Springs caught fire early against Victor, leading 25-10 after one quarter.
“They have the green light to shoot when they’re open and they got hot that quarter,” Heat head coach Tyrel Allen said. Freshman guard Jack McAllister led the charge with three 3-pointers and a three-point play for 12 points in the initial period.
“We got up and down (the court) and found the open man,” Allen said.
Hot Springs was 17-for-30 from the foul line while Victor was 7-for-12.
The Heat had five players with eight or more points, led by McAllister with 20. Brandon Knudsen had 12, Tyler Knudsen 11, Luke Waterbury nine and Tyler Carr eight.
Hot Springs used the second and third quarters to decide Saturday’s game against Valley Christian, outscoring the Eagles 19-10 in each period.
“We had a slow start. We weren’t running our offense,” Allen said. “We run it correctly and we get it inside to our bigs.”
The coach said the Heat rebounded well, led by the Tylers — Carr and Knudsen. Each had a double-double, with Knudsen scoring 14 points and collecting 10 rebounds while Carr had 12 points and 12 boards.
Hot Springs went an impressive 20-for-29 from the free-throw line, and the Eagles were 10-for-14. Brandon Knudsen was 6-for-6 from the stripe.
The Heat had a season-low 10 turnovers.