Hallie Hemenway

Manhattan's Hallie Hemenway (32) gets off a shot Friday night as Three Forks' Brianna Warren defends.

MANHATTAN — Facing a fullcourt press on the inbounds pass under the opposing basket, Olleca Severson took off toward midcourt and received a long pass over the defense. Seconds later she drove in for a layup to break a tie with just a little over 90 seconds remaining Friday night.

That bucket proved to be the difference as Manhattan held on to beat Three Forks 38-36 in a District 5B clash after blowing a 13-point lead in the second half.

The previous night, in a 38-point league loss to Whitehall, the Tigers also struggled in the second half and scored just six total points. Thus, first-year coach Charli Chapman was stressing clean play and consistency following the victory.

“I don’t know what happens in the second half. We’ll just keep assessing and working on that,” she said. “As much as I hate that they were able to close that gap tonight, I’m glad that we came out on top. It was a really great learning opportunity.”

Manhattan stretched a slim three-point halftime lead to 32-19 late in the third quarter on a 3 by Cayli Chapman. But Three Forks got within two, 32-20, midway through the fourth quarter following an 11-0 run capped by a bucket from Jayden Woodland.

Woodland, a 5-foot-4 guard, added two more buckets, which included tying the game at 36 with 1:42 remaining. The junior finished with a game-high 14 points.

Loose Ball

Manhattan's Cayli Chapman, right, and Three Forks' Jayden Woodland battle for a loose ball Friday night.

But the Wolves failed to score again in the contest and committed a costly turnover with 14.6 seconds remaining.

“We had chances,” Three Forks coach Mike Sauvageau said. “It was a good battle, it was a great game for both of us. We just got to cut down on our turnovers and shoot just a little bit better.”

The Wolves rode their press to success in the second half, but Manhattan broke it twice down the stretch en route to scoring buckets by Ella Halverson and Severson to maintain the lead.

“Our effort was great,” said Sauvageau. “The press kind of turned things around in the second half, but we gave up a couple layups. We got beat on it. They beat us and got a couple layups over the last couple minutes. That’s the only way they scored.”

Severson finished with a team-high 13 points, while teammate Hallie Hemenway had seven.

Manhattan is off to a 2-1 start (2-1 District 5B), and coach Chapman feels that players are starting to believe in themselves following a 5-win campaign a year ago.

“I think that the more games we compete and win in confidence builds. They buy in a little bit more, they find their own personal strengths and then good things happen,” she said. “We’re just going to take it small successes at a time.”

The Wolves bounced back to win their first game of the season Saturday with a 49-44 league victory at home against Townsend. Swenson finished with a game-high 19 points, while Kinzee Howey and Jasmyn Murphy each had 11.

Three Forks (1-2, 1-1 District 5B) fis back in action Tuesday hosting Twin Bridges, while Manhattan hosts Big Timber Thursday.

Manhattan 38, Three Forks 36

Three Forks                    7  8  6  15  -  36

Manhattan                   14  4  14  6  -  38

THREE FORKS (0-2) - Kinzee Howey 1 1-2 3, Addison Pestel 0 1-4 1, Jayden Woodland 6 0-0 14, Brianna Warren 1 0-0 3, Ashlyn Swenson 1 6-6 9, Fallon Page 0 0-0 0, Jasmyn Murphy 3 0-0 6. Totals: 12 8-12 36.

MANHATTAN (2-1) - Miah Fenno 0 0-0 0, Madeline Severson 1 2-2 5, Olleca Severson 5 2-4 13, Cayli Chapman 2 0-0 5, Adele Didriksen 1 0-0 2, Sophie Duffin 1 2-4 4, Hallie Hemenway 3 1-2 7, Ella Halverson 1 0-0 2, Andi Douma 0 0-0 0, Esther Halverson 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14 7-12 38.

3-point goals: TF , Man 3 (M. Severson 1, O. Severson 1, Chapman 1).

Three Forks 49, Townsend 44

Townsend                  5  13    9  17  -  44

Three Forks                7  13  12  17  -  49

TOWNSEND (0-3) - Emma Huffman 1 2-6, 4, Kennedy Vogl 1-1-2 3, Baily Taves 0 0-0 0, Kayden Braaten 4 0-1 9, Trinity Wilson 0 1-2 1, Charlotte Watson 6 3-4 19, Mel Woodward 2 4-10 8, Sarah Christensen 0 0-0 0, Ella Berger 0 0-0 0, Emily Bird 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14 11-25 44.

THREE FORKS (1-2) - Kinzee Howey 4 3-4 11, Addison Pestel 0 0-0 0, Jayden Woodland 2 0-0 5, Brianna Warren 1 0-0 2, Ashlyn Swenson 5 7-9 19, Brielle Davis 0 0-0 0, Fallon Page 0 1-4 1, Jasmyn Murphy 4 3-7 11. Totals: 16 14-24, 49.

3-point goals: Tow 5 (Watson 4, Braaten 1), TF 3 (Swenson 2, Woodland 1).