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Tough draw works against Charlo girls

by SCOT HEISEL
Lake County Leader | March 2, 2021 4:00 PM

Four Class C divisional girls basketball tournaments were held last week, with two teams advancing from each to state.

Three of the state’s top four ranked teams — No. 1 Seeley-Swan, No. 3 Manhattan Christian and No. 4 Charlo — landed in the Western divisional at Deer Lodge. Each was undefeated going into the tournament.

And so it came to be that the Charlo girls, after losing just one game all season, finished 16-1 and went 3-1 at divisionals but failed to advance to the state tournament.

Their lone blemish on the season came in a divisional semifinal against familiar foe Manhattan Christian on Thursday at Deer Lodge. The Eagles feature a trio of 6-footers, while the Lady Vikings were among the state’s best defensive teams this season.

In the end, the Eagles’ height and deep bench carried them to a 46-26 victory.

Senior Liev Smith led the Lady Vikings with 10 points, while Carlee Fryberger and Brooke Alder each added four.

Eliana Kuperus scored 19 points and grabbed 16 rebounds for Manhattan Christian.

Despite the loss, there remained a glimmer of hope for Charlo after they defeated Twin Bridges 43-29 in the consolation game. The Lady Vikings needed Manhattan Christian to win the final over Seeley-Swan so they could challenge the Blackhawks for a trip to state.

Seeley-Swan had other ideas, however, and won the final 57-51 to end Charlo’s season.

Smith had 16 points and seven rebounds in the consolation game against Twin Bridges. Connor Fryberger finished with 10 points, and Hayleigh Smith added six points and four rebounds.

It was the Lady Vikings’ second win over Twin Bridges during the tournament. They also won 42-30 in the tournament opener on Wednesday. Smith scored 15 points to go with eight rebounds in that one, while Connor Fryberger finished with 10 points and seven rebounds, and Carlee Fryberger added nine points.

On Friday the Lady Vikings beat conference foe Clark Fork for the third time this season, 32-27.