BUTTE – The much-hyped matchup between Box Elder and Twin Bridges delivered. Twin Bridges came back from a 21-point halftime deficit to force overtime, but Nikayla Anderson buried a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift Box Elder past Twin Bridges, 62-59, in the first round of the State C girls basketball tournament in Butte on Thursday afternoon.
“Well, I thought there was five seconds left, and I looked at the clock real quick-like and it said one second, and I was like ‘Oh my God! I better shoot it!'” Anderson said of her game-winner. “I just had confidence in shooting and I was ready to shoot.”
Box Elder led 39-18 at halftime, but Twin Bridges switched to a 1-2-2 press which flustered the Bears and allowed the Falcons to come back.
Twin Bridges got their first lead of the game with 2:26 to play when University of Nevada-Reno commit Kailee Oliverson banked in a 3-pointer from the wing.
With the Falcons leading by two, Lillian Gopher stole a pass by RaeAnn Bendon, leading to the tying basket with just 15 seconds to play. Twin Bridges did not get a shot attempt before time expired, sending the game to overtime.
“Big players step up at big times, and that’s what she did,” Box Elder head coach Joel Rosette said about Gopher. “We needed a play. I looked at her in the huddle and said ‘We need you to make a play,’ and she did.”
Gopher led Box Elder with 14 points and six rebounds, while Joelnell Momberg added 12 points and seven rebounds. Oliverson had game-highs of 32 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks in the losing effort.
Box Elder moves to Friday’s semifinals where they will face Froid-Medicine Lake for a berth in the state title game. Twin Bridges will face Harlowton in loser out action Friday afternoon.
“They’ve got a lot of size, they’re a pretty skilled team,” Rosette said of Froid-Lake. “They’ve been at state three years in a row. We’ve got to come out and rebound the ball, take care of the ball, and do those things that we like to do. We like to get out in the full-court and get up and down.”
Box Elder vs. Twin Bridges Stats
Froid-Medicine Lake 60, Harlowton 39
Froid-Medicine Lake jumped out to a 23-2 advantage in the first quarter on their way to a 60-39 win in the first round of the State C girls basketball tournament on Thursday in Butte.
The Redhawks, who entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed out of the Eastern C, jumped all over the Engineers, starting the game on a 23-2 run spurred by their full-court pressure. By halftime, the Froid-Lake lead grew to 45-19.
Led by the Dethman sisters both standing taller than six feet, Froid-Lake dominated in the paint throughout the entirety of the game. Junior Mackenzie Dethman scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds while freshman Sydney Dethman had eight points, seven rebounds and five assists. Morgan Mason had 13 points and five steals.
Froid-Lake moves on to Friday’s semifinals where they will face Box Elder at 6:30 p.m.
Harlowton, the No. 2 seed from the Southern C, got 14 points from Madison Wasson and will move to loser out action where they will face Twin Bridges Friday at 12:30 p.m.