Strong finish lifts Three Forks over Bigfork in semis

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  • Bigfork's Rakiah Grende brings the ball upcourt under pressure from Three Forks defenders Shainy Mack, left, and Kyle Olson during the fourth quarter in the semifinals of the 2018 State Class B Girls' Basketball Tournament at the Adams Center in Missoula on Friday, March 9. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

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    Bigfork's Abby Ellison fights for a loose ball against Three Forks' Morgan Allen in the semifinals of the 2018 State Class B Girls' Basketball Tournament at the Adams Center in Missoula on Friday, March 9. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • Bigfork's Rakiah Grende brings the ball upcourt under pressure from Three Forks defenders Shainy Mack, left, and Kyle Olson during the fourth quarter in the semifinals of the 2018 State Class B Girls' Basketball Tournament at the Adams Center in Missoula on Friday, March 9. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

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    Bigfork's Abby Ellison fights for a loose ball against Three Forks' Morgan Allen in the semifinals of the 2018 State Class B Girls' Basketball Tournament at the Adams Center in Missoula on Friday, March 9. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

The Daily Inter Lake

MISSOULA — Three Forks needed a strong fourth quarter to topple Bigfork 52-45 on Friday in semifinal play at the Class B state girls basketball tournament at the University of Montana’s Dahlberg Arena.

The back-and-forth contest was decided in the final eight minutes with Three Forks outscoring Bigfork 23-16.

The game was tied eight times and there were nine lead changes.

Three Forks’ largest lead was 10, late in the fourth quarter, while for Bigfork it was three points in the third quarter.

Three Forks (25-0) held a slim 9-8 edge after the first period, was in front 23-20 at the half, but the contest was knotted at 29-all after three quarters.

Bigfork (21-2) forced Three Forks into 28 turnovers, but the Valkyries also has trouble hanging onto the ball with 20.

Three Forks pulled down 42 rebounds to Bigfork’s 37. Jaime Berg had 10 for Bigfork while Morgan Allen had 12 for Three Forks, 10 of those on the defensive side.

Shainy Mack was the lone player to hit double-figure scoring for Three Forks with 10 points. Heather Wilson and Kyle Olson were next with nine each.

Bigfork’s Abby Lembke led all scorers with 12 points. Abby Ellison was next for the Valkyries with seven.

Three Forks connected on 37 percent of its shots (16 of 43) while Bigfork struggled at 29 percent (16 of 56).

The Wolves were 16 of 39 from the free-throw line to Bigfork’s 11 of 23 shooting.

The Valkyries were 2 of 18 from behind the arc. Three Forks was 4 of 11.

“We had our opportunities,” Bigfork coach Jami Grende said. “We didn’t shoot well.

“On the bright side, our defense kept us in the game,” she added.

Bigfork had two players foul out — Shae Anderson and Jaime Berg. Ellie Berreth, Rakiah Grende, Lembke and Jordan Nelson all had four fouls.

Prior to this game, just one Bigfork player had fouled out all season.

“That was a problem,” Grende said of foul trouble.

“Having two starters on the bench hurt.”

The loss drops Bigfork into loser-out play today at 9 a.m. versus Deer Lodge at Missoula Sentinel High School. That winner advances to the third/fourth place game at UM at 3:30 p.m.

“Bigfork has no third place trophy,” Grende said. “We’ll shoot for that.

“Three Forks is a great team,” she added. “I think we handled them great. We were prepared.”

Grende said the 12 points was a season high for Lembke. It also marked the first time she led the team in scoring this season.

“She played her heart out,” Grende said. “Across the board she had an outstanding game.”

Semifinals

Bigfork 8 12 9 16 — 45

Three Forks 9 14 6 23 — 52

BIGFORK — Ellie Berreth 5, Shae Anderson 6, Abby Ellison 7, Jaime Berg 6, Rakiah Grende 4, Abby Lembke 12, Jordan Nelson 5.

THREE FORKS — Heather Wilson 9, Kyle Olson 9, Shainy Mack 10, Morgan Allen 7, Kendall Lynn 6, Sinclair Oliver 3, Paeton Ohs 8.

Townsend 7 8 6 19 — 40

Colstrip 10 14 6 17 — 47

TOWNSEND — Tavia Rooney 12, Charlotte Watson 8, Catie Watson 6, Lainee Hill 4, Denika Dolan 8, Payton Vogl 2.

COLSTRIP — Trinity Lewandowski 1, S. Spotted Wolf 1, Shelby Jordan 22, Amaya LaFranier 18, Kya Egan 3, Abigail Dudley 2.

Loser-Out Games

Poplar 10 11 10 26 — 57

St. Labre 4 12 13 14 — 43

Poplar — Alleen Russell 22, Imani Bighorn 19, Chloe Shields 14, Holly Colgan 2.

St. Labre — Priscilla Flatmouth 15, Kaelene Spang 10, Madison Bighorn 9, K’Ghan Bearcomesout 4, Brianna Deputee 4, Teegan Ewing 1.

Deer Lodge 5 14 19 14 — 52

Rocky Boy 5 13 9 12 — 39

Deer Lodge — Darcy Walker 13, Josee Applegate 13, Rilee Gray 9, Kamryn Scully 6, Ariel Clark 4, Rachel Nicholson 3, Mya Wirth 2, Jordan Senecal 2.

Rocky Boy — Adrienne Gopher 14, Jaylynn Mitchell 10, Sean Henry 7, Rochelle Pease 5, Jaynah Gopher 3.

Today’s Schedule

Loser-Out Games

At UM

9 a.m. — Polar vs. Townsend

At Sentinel

9 a.m. — Bigfork vs. Deer Lodge

Third-Fourth

At UM

3:30 p.m. — Morning loser-out winners

Championship

At UM

6:30 p.m.— Three Forks vs. Colstrip.

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