Clark Fork Mountain Cats rally to beat Lincoln, 48-43

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Clark Fork Mountain Cats Aaron Waddle (30) and Orien Plaake (14) get control of the ball Friday against Seeley Swan. (Chuck Bandel/Mineral Independent)

There’s no quit in the Clark Fork boys basketball team.

After getting overrun Friday night at home by Seeley-Swan they hit the road in need of a win Saturday night in Lincoln.

Mission accomplished.

Juniors Danner Haskins and Bryan Mask scored 16 points each as the Mountain Cats rallied in the fourth quarter and held off the home-standing Lynx 48-43.

Haskins, a 5-11 junior forward, helped staked the Cats to an 11-9 lead after the first quarter with a 3-pointer and a pair of two-pointers.

In the second quarter, Lincoln’s Trent Greewood scored six points to help rally the Lynx to a 22-19 halftime lead. The Cats fought back to open the second half and pulled within one by the end of the third quarter as both Mask and Haskins hit from beyond the 3-point arc.

Mask also added three free throws in the third.

The fourth quarter produced a parade to the charity stripe for Clark Fork with Mask sinking 5 of 6 free throws and Haskins going 4 of 6 to help offset an eight-point outburst from Lincoln’s Brodi Henderson, who finished as the game’s leading scorer with 18 points, including a pair of threes that help keep the Lynx in the game.

Free throws proved to the be difference as the Mountain Cats sank 12 bonus shots and scored 18 total points in the quarter to seal the win.

With no seniors on their roster, Clark Fork now stands at 2-4 for the year.

Friday night was a different story for the Mountain Cats.

Despite a gritty effort, they were simply out-gunned by the taller Blackhawks from Seeley-Swan.

Highly regarded 6-2 junior Owen Mercado was a force inside and out for the visitors, scoring from all over the court, including a rim-rattling dunk off a break-away that solicited oohs from the large crowd in attendance at Superior.

The Blackhawks jumped out to an 11-7 lead over the Cats after the first quarter as Mercado battled with Clark Fork junior forward Aaron Waddle for control of the boards.

By halftime, the Blackhawks lead had grown to 27-12. However, with Waddle mixing things up underneath and dropping a 3-pointer, Clark Fork did not let the lead grow, and trailed 42-26 going into the final eight minutes of play.

Waddle finished the game with 15 points including four 3-pointers.

Teammate Orien Plaake, a 5-10 freshman forward, chipped in nine for the Cats.

Clark Fork coach Erik Johnson said he likes how hard his team is playing and that a key player returning from injury this weekend will be a needed boost.

“We get Carson Callison (6-2 junior forward) back from a broken wrist this weekend,” Johnson said. “He makes a big difference for us.”

The Cats return to action this Friday night with a home game against Noxon before traveling to Victor for a game with the Pirates Saturday evening.

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