Turnover

Manhattan Christian’s Anna Keith has the ball stripped from her grasp by Three Forks’ Breanna Bloch, right, after driving the lane Saturday night.

CHURCHILL — With a little over two minutes remaining and Three Forks clinging to a lead, Mike Sauvageau deployed a new strategy.

The veteran coach had his team spread the court and burn time off the clock. But the tactic backfired when the Wolves turned the ball over with less than 90 seconds remaining.

“We worked on it for a couple minutes this week, and it’s just something in progress. I just said, ‘What the heck. We got a chance to win it. Let’s try it for a second,’” Sauvageau said. “The rotation wasn’t very good, and that’s why we got into a couple pickles.”

Battle For The Board

Three Forks' Erin Welter, left, and Manhattan Chrsitian's Kiersten Van Kirk battle for a rebound Saturday night.

Three Forks managed to get the ball back with under a minute remaining and stretched the lead to three, 37-34, when Kendall Lynn found Erin Welter on a backdoor cut. The Wolves held on from there to beat Manhattan Christian 38-34 in the Memorial Event Center.

“Erin cut back door and got that. That was the key to the last two minutes,” said Sauvageau. “We got that little cushion and could do a couple things.”

Anna Keith, Ava Bellach and Taylor DeVries each missed 3’s over the final 21 seconds, and the Wolves sealed the victory on a free throw by Lynn with 8.5 seconds remaining.

It was the fifth consecutive victory for Three Forks, while Christian had its seven-game win streak snapped.

“That was a good game for us,” Christian coach Jeff Bellach said. “Playing them is just a great way to get ready for the second half of our conference season and tournaments, and a good competitive game in an environment like that is only going to help us.”

With the exception of a three-minute span in the third quarter, Three Forks led throughout. Eliana Kuperus scored on back-to-back buckets early in the second half to give the Eagles a 25-22 lead.

Kuperus had a big night, recording a double-double after scoring a game-high 20 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

“We were trying to get out on their shooters and we were hoping to have some weak side help on that. We got hurt a couple times,” said Sauvageau. “We were late getting to her a couple times in the first half and we fouled her a few times ... we just weren’t getting the weak side help quick enough.”

Diving Attempt

Manhattan Christian's Hope Kenney, left, and Three Forks' Ashley Swenson dive for a loose ball Saturday night.

While Kuperus kept the Eagles in flight, the rest of the team combined for just 14 points. The Eagles shot just 1 of 16 from behind the arc and 30.8 percent from the field.

Still, it was a one-point contest with two minutes remaining before the Wolves secured the win.

“We did better in the second half. I was actually pretty happy with the way we played in the second half,” said coach Bellach. “I feel like we did some good things.”

Peyton Page led all scorers with 13 points for Three Forks, while Lynn added nine.

“I’m happy with our defensive effort. That’s what kept us in it and gave us a chance to have a little spurt,” said Sauvageau. “Our defense has been getting better.”

Three Forks rode its defense to a home victory Thursday night, holding Butte Central to less than 30 points in a non-conference victory. Breanna Bloch led the Wolves with 10 points, while Lynn and Page each had eight, in a 41-27 win.

Central was limited to just seven points in the first half, and then Three Forks outscored the Maroons 30-20 in the second half to secure the victory.

Christian cruised to a District 11C victory Friday in Gardiner. The Eagles scored 14 or more points in each quarter en route to a 71-38 rout.

Four players scored in double figures for Christian, led by 14 from Kuperus. Anna Keith added 12, while Kiersten Van Kirk had 11 and DeVries 10.

The Eagles host West Yellowstone in a conference game Jan. 24 and then Manhattan the following day, while Three Forks is back in action Friday at Big Timber before traveling to Columbus on Saturday.

Three Forks 41, Butte Central 27

Butte Central               2  5   9   11  -  27

Three Forks                  7  4  15  15  -  41

BUTTE CENTRAL (1-9) - Avery Kelly 0 0-2 0, Anna Bolton 0 0-0 0, Delany Hansquet 0 3-4 3, Brenna Folley 0 0-0 0, Emma Keely 0 0-1 3, Soffee Thatcher 1 3-4 6, Breanne Williamson 0 0-0 0, Maddie Kump 4 2-2 11, Taylure Harrington 2 0-2 4. Totals: 8 8-15 27.

THREE FORKS (5-3) - Kinzee Howey 0 0-0 0, Lily jones 1 3-4 5, Erin Welter 0 1-2 1, Kendall Lynn 2 5-8 9, Jayden Woodland 2 0-0 4, Ashlyn Swenson 1 0-0 3, Breanna Warren 0 0-00, Peyton Page 1 7-10 9, Breanna Bloch 4 2-2 10. Totals: 11 18-26 41.

3-point goals: BC 3 (Keely 1, Thatcher 1, Kump 1), TF 1 (Swenson).

Manhattan Christian 71, Gardiner 38

Christian                   14  22  14  21  -  71

Gardiner                    7   10  11  10  -  38

MANHATTAN CHRISTIAN (8-1) - Anna Keith 5 0-0 12, Taylor DeVries 4 0-0 10, Hope Kenney 2 2-2 6, Grace Aamot 0 0-0 0, Eliana Kuperus 7 0-4 14, Kiersten Van Kirk 4 3-10 11, Maddie Liudahl 0 0-0 0, Ava Bellach 1 0-0 2, Rylie Thompson 4 0-2 8, Natalie Walhof 1 0-2 2, Hailey VanDyken 3 0-0 6. Totals: 31 5-18 71.

GARDINER (4-4) - Maya Kowski 0 0-0 0, Leah Veress 1 1-1 3, Alexis McDonald 3 1-2 8, Kyndra Long 3 0-0 6, Bailey Fuhrmann 1 0-0 2, Chase Cunningham 1 0-1 2, Miya Ross 0 0-0 0, Josie Thomas 1 0-0 2, Izzy Rodman 0 0-0 0, Kayla Foster 0 0-0 0, Sophia Darr 4 7-1 15. Totals: 14 9-15 38.

3-point goals: MC 4 (Keith 2, DeVries 2), Gar 1 (McDonald).

Three Forks 38, Manhattan Christian 34

Three Forks                  10  12  7  9  -  38

Christian                       10  11  6  7  -  34

THREE FORKS (6-3) - Kinzee Howey 0 0-0 0, Lily Jones 0 0-0 0, Erin Welter 2 0-0 4, Kendall Lynn 2 5-6 9, Jayden Woodland 0 1-2 1, Ashlyn Swenson 2 0-1 5, Peyton Page 5 2-4 13, Breanna Bloch 2 2-2 6. Totals: 13 10-15 38.

MANHATTAN CHRISTIAN (8-2) - Anna Keith 0 0-0 0, Taylor DeVries 12-2 5, Hope Kenney 0 1-2 1, Grace Aamot 3 0-1 6, Eliana Kuperus 8 4-6 20, Kiersten Van Kirk 0 2-2 2, Maddie Liudahl 0 0-0 0, Ava Bellach 0 0-0 0, Rylie Thompson 0 0-0 0, Natalie Walhof 0 0-0 0, Hailey VanDyken 0 0-0 0. Totals: 12 9-13 34.

3-point goals: TF 2 (Swenson 1, Page 1), MC 1 (DeVries).