The outcome of the contest would be a foregone conclusion after the first frame once Two Eagle River came up empty in contrast to the more than two dozen the Lady Vikings would net.
The semifinal matchup between the Lady Vikings and the Plains Trotters would go down to the wire at the end, but it didn’t start out that way. The Trotter twin towers 6-2 Rachel Huenink and 6-1 Kylee Altmiller along with the guard play of Kassidy Kinzie wreaked havoc during the first frame and Plains jumped out to a 5-0 lead that easily could have mushroomed into a double-digit deficit except for the disruptive defense of the Lady Vikings denying numerous high percentage shot opportunities. The polar vortex that had seemed to freeze the Charlo shooting touch would finally thaw as Kaitlin Cox splashed a triple and Destiny Manuel delivered a deuce so that their team only trailed by one possession entering the second period.
Charlo would then tie the contest at eight apiece and thereafter the score would see-saw back and forth, teetering one way, then tottering the other direction. Haley Josephson would net a deuce and Huenink converted the back end of a pair of free throws to account for the final Trotter tallies. Lady Viking Carlee Fryberger netted a pair of free throws to tie at 33 apiece with two-and-a-half minutes remaining. The Charlo margin of victory would rely on the front end of a Liev Smith set of free throws and three of four shooting from the charity stripe by Teaira Truman.
Much like they did the last time these two teams met in Arlee, the Lady Vikings started out with a hot shooting touch in contrast to the Scarlet squad, which seemed sluggish as if mired in a mud of molasses. Charlo splashed a trio of triples in the first frame, a pair by Teaira Truman that sandwiched a solo by Kaitlin Cox as the Lady Vikings lead surged into double figure territory. Scarlet Louetta Conko-Camel would break the ice for Arlee with a timely triple of her own, followed by a free throw in another scoring sequence as part of a counter that kept them within nine after the first frame.
That trend continued through the first few minutes of the second period when the polar vortex that seemed to have iced up the Arlee offensive machinery began to thaw. Noelle West would hit a triple off an assist from Conko-Camel, followed by deuces from post Alyssia Vanderburg along with West and the Scarlets had cut the deficit to four, 13-17. The Lady Vikings would manage to maintain a slight edge through the remainder of the period until intermission.
Coming out of halftime, Arlee had cut the lead down to two twice, pulling within 23-25 at the five minute mark and 25-27 at the three-minute juncture. Vanderburg would knot the game at 27 apiece with a deuce. Lady Viking Destiny Manuel would counter for Charlo with a conventional three point play, netting her deuce after being fouled, then splashing her “and-one” to give Charlo a 30-27 edge. Scarlet Tomi Brazill would counter for Arlee by acquiring the strike zone from beyond the arc for a triple, but deuces from Cox and Manuel would sandwich a free throw by Carlee Fryberger to take Charlo into the final frame with an increasingly precarious lead.
Arlee would take over the lead 38-36 with five minutes remaining when Conko-Camel netted a triple from beyond the arc off a kickout from Vanderburg. Charlo’s Cox would net a pair from the charity stripe after being fouled to knot the contest again at 38 apiece. The front end of a split pair of free throws by Liev Smith would edge Charlo ahead, the back end of a split pair at the charity stripe by Nellie Desjarlais would tie again at 39 apiece. A Manuel assist to Smith would edge the Lady Vikings ahead 41-39, but Conko-Camel would counter to pull the game even-steven at 41 apiece at the minute and a half mark, followed by another deuce that would pull Arlee ahead 43-41 with a minute and change remaining. Lady Viking Smith would somehow manage to thread the ball through the narrow needle between a mash of Scarlet defenders to acquire Manuel underneath on the other side, who would then net the equalizer at 43 apiece with 43.5 seconds remaining.
Coming out of an Arlee timeout with 19 seconds remaining, Scarlet plans to retake the lead would go awry with an untimely turnover. Charlo would reacquire possession, move the ball across the timeline and put the ball in the capable hands of Manuel, who would be fouled with eight seconds remaining. She would net the back end of her trip to the charity stripe, giving the Lady Vikings a precarious one point edge. Arlee would inbound the ball and route it to Vanderburg, who has a capable shot from long range well beyond the arc. Her attempt would fall short as time expired and the district tournament crown would belong to the Lady Vikings.
If the Charlo girls were feeling any pressure those final minutes of the contest, they didn’t show. Perhaps part of the explanation could be traced to the experience of veteran coach Brett Thompson, who has been in these sorts of situations many times before. Out of their last pair of time outs, Thompson reiterated to his Lady Vikings that “all we need is an opportunity to set up our offense and take some shots [down the stretch] to give ourselves a chance.”
Charlo will take a top-seeding into the Western C Divisional at Butte this weekend, where they will face Drummond in game 2 on Thursday at 1:30 p.m.
Lady Vikings Teaira Truman crested the century (100) point plateau for season scoring, while Liev Smith crossed the century threshold for season rebounding.
Charlo 44, Arlee 43
Charlo (20-1), Arlee (13-7)
Arlee 6 12 12 13 – 43
Charlo 15 8 12 9 – 44
ARLEE – Louetta Conko-Camel 7 2-4 18(4r,1a,1s,1b), Noelle West 3 0-0 8(2r,3a,1s), Nellie Desjarlais 3 1-2 8(6r,1a), Alyssia Vanderburg 3 0-2 6, Tomi Brazill 3(1s), Emily Fiddler 0(3r,2a,3s), Sydni Rogers 0(2r,2a), Halle Adams 0(1r).
CHARLO – Destiny Manuel 3 9-11 15(6r,3a,1s), Kaitlin Cox 2 4-5 9(1r), *Teaira Truman 3 0-0 8(*3r,2a), *Liev Smith 2 3-7 7(*6r,3a,3s,2b), Carlee Fryberger 1 1-2 3(5r,1a,2s), Allie Delaney 2(3r,1a,4s), Kira McPhail (2r).
3FGs – A4 (Conko-Camel 2, West 2, Desjarlais, Brazill), C3-12 (Truman 2-3, Cox 1-4) (Sa16Feb19gm19dst)
Asterisk (*) denotes stat variant(s) where informal JH tally differs from iScout sideline specs.
informal JH tally: Smith 9p, Truman 6p (in traffic deuce may have been misattributed to Smith or iScout vice versa)
CiScout variants: Manuel FT 9-13, Smith FT 3-5, Truman 1a.
Charlo 37, Plains 33
Charlo (19-1), Plains (12-8)
Plains 7 10 7 9 – 33
Charlo 5 10 7 15 – 37
PLAINS – Kassidy Kinzie 9, Rachel Huenink 7, Natalee Deschamps 6, Mariah Smith 0 4-4 4, Kylee Altmiller 4, Haley Josephson 3.
CHARLO – Kaitlin Cox 4 1-2 12(1r,1a,1s), Destiny Manuel 3 2-5 8(*4r,2a,5s), Teaira Truman 1 3-4 6(5r,1a,3s), Liev Smith 1 3-5 5(*6r,2a,1s,2b), Allie Delaney 1 1-2 3(*5r,2s,1b), Carlee Fryberger 0 3-4 3(4r,1a), Kira McPhail 0(3r).
3FGs – P (Deschamps, Kinzie), C4-17 (Cox 3-9, Truman 1-5)
CiScout variant: Car.Fryberger 0a, Smith 5r, Manuel 0a, Delaney 1s
Charlo 69, Two Eagle 10
Destiny Manuel crested the double century (200) point plateau for varsity career scoring. Both Allie Delaney as well as Manuel crossed the century (100) threshold for season rebounds.
Charlo (18-1), Two Eagle (0-19)
Charlo 25 16 16 12 – 69
Two Eagle 0 4 6 0 – 10
CHARLO – Liev Smith 9 0-0 18(3r,6s), Kaitlin Cox 5 0-0 12(1r,3s,1b), Teaira Truman 2 4-4 10(4r,2a,3s), Kira McPhail 4 0-0 8(4r,2s), Allie Delaney 3 0-0 6(6r,3a), Carlee Fryberger 2 1-2 5(3a,4s), Destiny Manuel 1 1-2 3(5r,1a,2s), Hailey Weible 3(1a), Aryal Love 0 2-2 2(2r,3a,1s), Brook Adler 2 (3r,1s), Connor Fryberger (3r,1s), noID (3a).
TWO EAGLE RIVER – TaRae Goodluck 3 0-2 8(3r,1s,1b), Lulani Miller 2(2r,1s), Mara Parizeau (1r,1s), Viviana AfterBuffalo (1s), Liz Hill (4r,1a), Trinity Carpentier (1a).
3FGs – C5 (Truman 2, Cox 2, Weible), TER2 (Goodluck 2). (Th14Feb19gm3dist)
District loser out
Noxon 53, Two Eagle River 14
Two Eagle (0-20)
Noxon 19 22 6 6 – 53
Two Eagle 5 4 2 3 – 14
NOXON – Avery Burgess 16, Vanessa Horner 12, Delaney Weltz 12, Kali Murray 6, Chelsea Vohs 4, Jaedyn Murray 3, Izzy Lampshire 2, Madison Koonce 2, Rachel Ehinger 2.
TWO EAGLE RIVER – TaRae GoodLuck 5, Liz Hill 5, Tia Carpentier 4.