Clark Fork girls hold off the Lincoln Lynx

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Clark Fork’s Sorren Reese on defense against Lincoln. (Chuck Bandel/Mineral Independent)

A blowout loss, then a dramatic thriller of a victory.

That sums up the Clark Fork girls basketball action this past weekend.

Saturday night in a game played in Alberton, the Lady Mountain Cats could not find the hoop in the first half as they fell behind the visiting Lincoln Lady Lynx.

At the end of the first quarter, with both teams struggling against the other team’s aggressive defense, Lincoln came away with an 8-4 lead. Defense and turnovers dominated the second quarter as the Lady Lynx, behind the inside play of senior center Alexis Cannon, outscored and outrebounded the Lady Cats on their way to a 14-7 halftime lead.

But after getting an earful from head coach Jeff Schultz at halftime, a fired up Clark Fork team emerged from the locker room and erased the halftime deficit as they used their defensive aggression to turn the tables on Lincoln.

At the end of the third quarter the Lady Lynx still held a 20-16 lead, thanks in large part to Cannon’s work under the basket.

Clark Fork ratcheted up the defensive pressure in the final quarter and cashed in on enough trips to the free throw line to finally take a 26-24 lead with less than a minute to play.

Neither team could capitalize from the charity stripe over the final minute and with the final seconds ticking away, the Lady Lynx got off what first appeared to be a game winning 3-pointer as the final horn sounded.

However, the ball from beyond the arc had first hit the support framing from which the backboard and basket hang, then dropped through the net.

As the Lincoln players celebrated on the court, the referees correctly waived off the shot because it had struck the framework, which is out of bounds.

Cannon led all scorers with 17 point for Lincoln while Sorren Reese and Payton Milender had half-a-dozen each for Clark Fork.

Friday night the girls traveled to Seeley to face the talented Lady Blackhawks and the outcome was different.

In that game, the host Lady Blackhawks leaped to an early 14-4 lead at the end of the first, then increased that margin to a 30-15 halftime lead.

Seeley then completely shut down the Clark Fork offense in the third quarter, outscoring the Lady Cats 16-0 to grab a 46-15 advantage with one quarter to go.

A total of 10 Lady Blackhawks scored during the game, paced by Aspen Conley’s 13 points. Clark Fork sophomore Zoe Kelsey matched that total with 13 of her own, to share game-high scoring honors.

The loss, coupled with the Saturday night win, left the Lady Cats with an 8-6 season mark.

This week the Clark Fork girls have a pair of home games, hosting Victor in Superior Friday night, then traveling down the road to co-op partner Alberton’s gym for an encounter with Phillipsburg Saturday evening.

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