THREE FORKS — A lot has changed for the Three Forks Wolves since they won the Class B girls basketball state title last March.
“The expectations were really high last year and there weren’t very many expectations at all this year,” head coach Mike Sauvageau said. “We were hoping to be competitive and battle as hard as we could, we kind of did that through the season, and you know, the last couple weeks we’ve gone 6-1 and beat six very good teams.”
But it was in the postseason when things really started to turn around. The Wolves clinched the district title, a 51-42 victory over Big Timber, a noisemaker when the team needed it most.
“Winning districts definitely boosted our confidence,” senior Paeton Ohs said. “Our coach, Sav (Sauvageau), has obviously had a lot to do with that confidence because he was one of our biggest supporters.”
“We had talked about winning it two years in a row and then we just kept throwing out there going for three, then we got three in a row in the district and I just think it gave these kids a lot of confidence and excitement,” Sauvageau added.
The divisional tournament was a different story. A loss in the second round sent them to the loser-out bracket, but the red and white clawed their way back to win the consolation game, again over Big Timber, this time 58-48.
“It was so amazing. I mean, we just thought back at how we were in the beginning of the season, and then we looked at how we are now, and it was so amazing,” Ohs said about the win.
And with a trophy case filled to the brim outside the gym at Three Forks High School, there is no question about the winning mentality of the program. But on Thursday, the girls are heading into one of their biggest games of the season, their state tournament opener against Florence, and looking to become back-to-back state champions.
“We won it last year, but how awesome would it be to win it again?” said Ohs, “especially with me being a senior, alongside my fellow senior Kyle (Olson). It would be so amazing.”
“We’re going to go until they say we have no more games. We’re going to take it one game at a time and see what happens. But we can’t wait until 1:30 p.m. on Thursday,” Sauvageau finished.
The Wolves tip off against Florence on Thursday at 1:30 p.m.