BOZEMAN – It’s been 11 years since Three Forks basketball swept the divisional tournaments in Billings. But last week, both the boys and the girls teams brought home the hardware.
“It’s been a long time coming. I think it was 2007 the last time both teams won it. It’s been since 2009 since the guys won it. So it’s been a long time coming,” said Three Forks boys head coach Terry Hauser.
“After we got back from winning our hotel was full of Three Forks people and just cheering us on. We’re definitely bringing that rally and energy back to Missoula,” said Shainy Mack, a senior guard on the girls team.
On Thursday the Three Forks girls will put their perfect 23-0 record on the line against Poplar at state, while the boys face Rocky Boy. And even though the tournament isn’t at their gym, they know it’s going to feel like home.
“I’m surprised they’re even having school. I think that a lot of people are heading up there. I think about a month ago, people were taking those days off just in case,” Hauser said. “I have a feeling we will have a great fan base there.”
For the girls, head coach Mike Sauvageau is travelling to Missoula with 712 career wins and in his 32 years of coaching he has never brought a team into the state tournament undefeated. But the win streak isn’t the focus.
“We actually try not to think about numbers and the ‘Whatever-and-O’s’ but we trying to come in here every day for a clean slate,” said Mack.
For the boys, they’ve experienced some tough losses this season, especially in the district final against Big Timber.
“I took the picture and had the business teacher load it up and get it in the picture frame of us watching Big timber accept the trophy,” Hauser smiled. “So I hung it up where I normally hang up the practice plans all week as a little motivation… and it worked!”
But the biggest motivation both teams have coming into the state tourney is sitting in the stands.
“Good or bad, the community really helps us out. So I think it’s a good way of giving back to them that we gave them back a divisional championship,” said Colter Miller a junior forward on the boys team.
“It’s always fun to play in this gym in front of our crowd,” Mack said. “Hopefully we get enough people to make it feel like home.”