HAMILTON – On a night when Twin Bridges’ stars were kept relatively quiet, Michaela Madden and Clancy Phillips answered the call.
The Falcons’ duo combined to score 19 points, sinking five 3-pointers, to help lift Twin Bridges to a 37-35 win over District 12C rival Ennis in the Western C girls basketball divisional championship on Saturday. The win was the Falcons’ fourth over the Mustangs in five tries.
Kailee Oliverson, Twin Bridges’ star center bound for the University of Nevada, was held to just nine points and RaeAnne Bendon scored just two. But the rest of the Falcons stepped up.
Madden scored all 10 of her points in the first half and Phillips hit a 3 in each of the first three quarters. Blu Keim beat the first-half buzzer with a short jumper to put Twin Bridges up 25-16 at the break.
The lead would stay between eight and 10 points for most of the second half until Ennis made things interesting late in the fourth. The Mustangs outscored the Falcons 11-2 in the final frame, with Ennis making seven of 10 free throw attempts and Twin Bridges missing all nine of theirs from the charity stripe.
Ennis closed to within three points – 37-34 – with under 1:00 to go, but the Mustangs’ game-tying 3-point attempt was tipped. The Mustangs had a final possession to tie after two more missed Twin Bridges free throws, but the Falcons used the foul-when-up-three strategy, forcing Josie Hokanson to the free throw line with just 0.3 seconds remaining.
Hokanson made the first attempt but missed the rim when trying to intentionally miss the second. Time expired when Twin Bridges inbounded the ball, and the celebration was on.
Twin Bridges now advances to the Class C state tournament in Butte March 8-10. The Falcons will play the second seed from the Northern C in the first round.
Ennis, which was led by Hokanson’s 13 points, will play Alberton-Superior in a challenge game on Monday. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. at Philipsburg with the winner advancing to the state tournament.