Clash of Titans: Warriors prevail in top tier matchups

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Charlo senior Nate Delaney drives toward the hoop past Jack McAllister of Hot Springs during last Friday’s Senior Night action. The Vikings edged the Savage Heat, 52-51. (Joe Sova/Lake County Leader)

Last week, the Arlee Warriors closed out their regular schedule in style as they competed against a couple of top-tier talented teams. Both evenings would be further commemorated by special recognition of select Warrior players of significance.

Last Tuesday featured a marquee matchup in Missoula between visiting Class C second-ranked Arlee and host Class B 3rd-ranked Loyola. The game would be reminiscent of the last time these two cross classification clubs clashed four seasons ago when Arlee eeked out an 84-82 overtime victory.

Things looked bleak early into the final frame with the Warriors trailing by a dozen 48-60 and their senior post Isaac Fisher relegated to the sideline with his fifth foul. But Arlee battled back with a combination of high percentage attack sequences inside, calming reminders of “where else would you rather be” from their coach Zanen Pitts, combined with defensive stops that denied Ram short range deuces by forcing Loyola to find net from the foul line.

The strategy paid off dividends by closing the gap on the deficit. After a pair of Ram free throws put Loyola up 66-65 with less than two dozen ticks remaining on the clock, the Warriors brought the ball up the court and called a time out with less than ten seconds remaining to draw up a play. Lane Johnson would inbound the ball to Cody Tanner, whose pass inside was denied by a Loyola deflection. Darshan Bolen would track down the loose ball, flicked the ball back to Tanner, who splashed a buzzer beating trey as time expired to deliver a win to the Warriors.

The ensuing sequence would serve as a comparable “Junior Night” commemoration for Tanner as fellow teammates dogpiled their comrade to celebrate the momentous accomplishment.

Last Thursday, Arlee hosted the visiting Charlo Vikings for their “Senior Night” regular schedule finale. The Warriors built a double-digit baker’s dozen lead after the first frame, but the Vikings battled back to close to within a half dozen at intermission.

Another Arlee surge out of the break would reacquire the previous margin. Charlo would hold a slight edge during the final frame, but was denied the opportunity to play spoiler of Warrior Senior Night festivities. The game would be the final home court appearance for seasoned seniors Greg Whitesell, Johnson, Isaac Fisher, Bolen, Nate Coulson, Lane Schall and Chase Gardner.

The two-time defending state C champion Warriors now embark upon the postseason in defense of their title, beginning with the 14C District Tournament in Pablo this week. Arlee has drawn a first-round bye as winner of the district regular schedule crown. They will face the winner of fourth-seeded Hot Springs and No. 5 Noxon in a semifinal match at 7 p.m. Friday.

Vikings split Senior Night skirmishes

Charlo closed out the final week of the regular schedule with a split against a pair of top caliber teams in a pair of games that served as a springboard into postseason play.

Last Thursday in Arlee, Charlo had another crack at dethroning the host Warriors, this time in the role as spoiler of their Senior Night. Two sets of seasoned seniors on both squads played a caliber of contest worthy of their top billings. (See Arlee coverage)

Friday was Senior Night for the Vikings themselves as they hosted the Savage Heat of Hot Springs. Charlo managed to outscore their visitors through each of the first three periods to build a 10-point cushion, only to have the Heat stage a rally that would tie the game at 50 apiece with a minute-and-a-half remaining.

At 45 seconds, Brandon Knutsen would make one of two free throws to tilt the contest in favor of the visitors, 51-50. Hot Springs had a chance to add some insurance at the charity stripe with a one-and-one opportunity, but couldn’t cash in at the front end.

With less than a dozen ticks remaining, Connor Koenig would supply waning-seconds heroics as he netted a deuce to flip the script back in Charlo’s favor, 52-51. Koenig went to the line after being fouled on the play for an “and-one” opportunity, but the ball would not fall, leaving the door open for Hot Springs to play spoiler. But Knudsen would be cited for a carry with less than two ticks remaining, allowing the Vikings to escape with home-court pride intact.

Viking fab five seasoned seniors Landers Smith, Koenig, Nate Delaney, Garett Vaughan and Brock Tomlin ensured their home-court finale would be memorable.

This Thursday, the second-seeded Vikings will face seventh seed Two Eagle River at 4:15 p.m. in the first round of the 14C District Tournament in Pablo.

Charlo 52, Hot Springs 51

Charlo (10-2, 15-3), Hot Springs (6-6, 7-11)

Hot Springs 9 10 15 17 – 51

Charlo 12 12 18 10 – 52

HOT SPRINGS – Tyler Knudsen 17, Brandon Knudsen 16, Tyler Carr 6, Jack McAllister 6, Kyle Lawson 4, Luke Waterbury 4.

CHARLO – Landers Smith 9 0-0 20(9r,1a,2s,1b), Connor Koenig 7 2-3 18(8r,2a), Nate Delaney 3 2-2 9(3r,1a,1s), Brock Tomlin 1 1-2 3(10r,2s), Garett Vaughn 0 2-3 2(5r,7a,1s),

3FGs – HS2-16 (Knudsen, noID), C5-21 (Smith 2-5, Koenig 2-6, Delaney 1-5). (Fr08Feb19)

Asterisk (*) denotes stat variant(s) where sideline specs differ from media coverage: Phil Marquez 3p.

Arlee 64, Charlo 53

Lane Johnson crossed the half millennial (500) mark for varsity career scoring. Greg Whitesell crested the quadruple century (400) point plateau for season scoring while simultaneously surpassing varsity career 1100.

Arlee (12-0, 17-1), Charlo (9-2, 14-3)

Charlo 9 18 6 20 – 53

Arlee 22 11 13 18 – 64

CHARLO – Landers Smith 8 3-6 20(8r,4a), Connor Koenig 5 2-4 16(4r,1a,2s), Nate Delaney 3 4-7 12(6r,2s), Garett Vaughn 0 4-8 4(3r,3a,3s), Brock Tomlin 1(8r,1s).

ARLEE – Isaac Fisher 17(8r,1a,5b), Lane Johnson 14(4r,3a,1s,2b), Greg Whitesell 11(2r,4a,2s), Billy Fisher 9, Cody Tanner 4, Dar Bolen 3, Levi Fullerton 2, Nate Coulson 2, Lane Schall 2.

3FGs – C7-24 (Koenig 4-7, Delaney 2-6, Smith 1-4), A8-23 (Johnson 3-7, Whitesell 3-12, Bolen 1-1, B.Fisher 1-1). (Th07Feb19)

Arlee 68, Loyola 66

Cody Tanner crested the double century (200) point plateau for varsity career scoring.

14C Arlee (16-1), 6B Loyola ()

Arlee 17 13 18 20 – 68

Loyola 18 17 18 13 – 66

ARLEE – *Lane Johnson 6 7-8 20(7r,1s), *Greg Whitesell 6 4-6 18(1r,3a,3s), Isaac Fisher 3 2-2 8(6r,2s), Zach YoungRunningCrane 3 1-2 8(5r,1a,2s), *Dar Bolen 2 1-1 6(6r,4a,1s), Cody Tanner 1 2-2 5(2r,2a,2s), *Billy Fisher 1 1-1 3(1r).

MISSOULA LOYOLA – Jack Lincoln 10 4-9 25, Liam Haffey 6 2-2 15, *Jacob Hollenback 2 6-10 10, Ryan Tirrell 4 1-3 9, Cooper Waters 3 1-6 7.

3FGs – A6-23 (Whitesell 2-12, Zach YRC 1-1, Bolen 1-2, C.Tanner 1-3, Johnson 1-4), L2 (Haffey, Lincoln). (Tu05Feb19)

Asterisk (*) denotes stat variant(s) where sideline specs differ from venue/media coverage: Johnson 18p, Whitesell 17p, Bolen 7p, B.Fisher 2p + others (= A65p); Hollenback 9p(= L65p).

Loyola book: Johnson 6 6-6 19p, Whitesell 6 4-6 18p, Bolen 2 2-3 7p, B.Fisher 1 1-1 3p.

Arlee MaxPreps: Johnson 6 7-8 20, Bolen 2 1-1 6, B.Fisher 1 1-1 3p, Whitesell 6 4-6 18p.

(Sa31Jan15) Arlee 84, Loyola 82 (OT)

Mission 66, Deer Lodge 52

Wacey McClure dished beyond his fifth dozen assist as well as surpassed the half century (50) mark for steals on the season.

Mission (3-4, 8-8), Deer Lodge (4-3,13-3)

Deer Lodge 6 17 22 7 – 52

Mission 14 17 21 14 – 66

DEER LODGE – Dyllon McDermid 29, Ben Anderson 9, Judd Applegate 8, Ozzie King 2, Greydon Nicholson 2, Dalton Pauley 2.

MISSION ST. IGNATIUS – Jedi Christy 6 2-5 17(3r,5a,2s), Flint McPherson 7 0-0 17(8r,3a,1s), Jacob Hugs 4 2-4 12(1r,1a,2s), Lucas Vanderburg 4 0-0 8(6r,2s), Wacey McClure 2 1-2 5(6r,8a,3s), Layne Spidel 2 0-0 4(3r,1), Matt Anderson 1 1-2 3(7r).

3FGs – DL ( ), MSI 8-19 (Christy 3-5, F.McPherson 3-7, Hugs 2-4). (Sa09Feb19)

Mission 78, Thompson Falls 50

Flint McPherson crested the triple century (300) point plateau for varsity career scoring.

6B Mission (7-8), 7B T-Falls (5-12)

Mission 26 20 20 12 – 78

T-Falls 11 9 13 17 – 50

MISSION ST. IGNATIUS – Jedi Christy 7 0-0 17(5r,2a,1s), Lucas Vanderburg 8 0-0 16(6r,1a,1s), Flint McPherson 6 2-2 15(2r,6a,2s), Wacey McClure 5 0-3 11(4r,10a,5s), Ross McPherson 3 0-0 6(3r), Jacob Hugs 2 0-0 5(4r,1a,2s,1b), Matt Anderson 2 0-0 4(4r,1a,2b), Jordan Matt 2(1r,3s), Jadence Peone 2(2a,1b), Davien Adams (2r), Layne Spidel (1r).

THOMPSON FALLS – Grant Lundberg 12, Nathan Schraeder 10, Nate Wilhite 6, Ethan Brown 6, Ryan Schraeder 6, Riley Riffle 4, Justin Morgan 3, Cody Burk 3.

3FGs – MSI6-16 (Christy 3-8, F.McPherson 1-1, Hugs -, McClure 1-3). (Th07Feb19)

Plains 65, Two Eagle 41

Two Eagle (1-11, 1-17), Plains (7-5, 11-7)

Two Eagle 10 13 8 10 – 41

Plains 13 21 18 13 – 65

Plains: Treydon Brouillette 21, Jake Weyers 12, Matt McCracken 11, Orion Pry-Hyde 2, Tucker Foster 2, Nathan Feliksa 6, Jeremiah Allen 3, Esvin Reyes 8.

Two Eagle River: Dom Finley 4, Travis Pierre 9, William Hameline 4, Kesean Burke 6, Anthony Charlo 10, Michael Brown 4, Elias Adams 4.

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