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Vikings add four victories to winning streak

by JEREMY WEBER
For the Eagle | February 17, 2021 2:45 AM

A week full of sports action saw the Vikings basketball team pick up four more wins while swimming and wrestling teams also continued their success. The Valkyries basketball squad dropped three games, but nearly pulled off an upset of highly-ranked Columbia Falls.

VIKINGS BASKETBALL

The Vikings picked up three wins last week and one Monday as Bigfork pushed its winning streak to nine games with victories over Columbia Falls, Eureka, Thompson Falls and Loyola.

A 20-6 third-quarter run was the difference Tuesday as the Vikings took down the Wildcats in Columbia Falls, 64-52. Walker Fisher led the Vikings with 22 points in the win and Isak Epperly added 17 as Bigfork held the Wildcats to just 3-23 shooting from three-point territory. The Vikings put in seven of their 15 shots from three as they took down the Class A opponent.

Bryce Gilliard scored six in the fourth quarter and Epperly added five Thursday as the Vikings turned up the pressure in the final eight minutes to down visiting Eureka 54-45.

Tied at 23 at the half, Bigfork took a 36-34 lead into the fourth quarter before using a swarming full-court press to disrupt the Lions in the final minutes. Gilliard finished with 11 to lead a balanced Vikings scoring attack as Fisher added 10, Epperly scored nine and Cormac Benn, Levi Taylor and Colin Wade each scored eight.

Gilliard scored nine of his game-high 21 points in the opening eight minutes Saturday as the Vikings jumped out to an 18-12 lead at Thompson Falls. In a battle for sole possession of first place in the conference, the Vikings led the Blue Hawks 38-31 at the half and wound up winning by the same margin, 67-60.

Along with Gilliard’s 21 points, Benn finished with 15 for the Vikings, Wade scored 10, Fished added eight points, Walker scored six, Epperly had three and Ian McMann and Taylor both scored two points.

The Vikings led Loyola 38-33 after three quarters Monday but again turned up the pressure in the fourth quarter to pull away for a 60-44 victory.

Gilliard scored 10 in the opening quarter and another 10 in the fourth to finish with 24 points to lead Bigfork while Epperly added 13 points, Taylor had nine, Benn scored six, Wade had five and Nick Walker finished with three points.

The Vikings will be in action again Saturday as they travel to Anaconda.

VALKYRIES BASKETBALL

A valiant effort by the Valkyries came up just short Tuesday as Bigfork fell at home to undefeated Columbia Falls, 56-51.

Trailing most of the game, the Valkyries battled back to take a 45-44 lead on an Emma Berreth three early in the fourth quarter and later led 48-46 after a pair of Lexi Saari free throws. Columbia Falls regained the lead on a three by Maddie Robison with 2:23 to play, but Saari answered with a three of her own to put the Valkyries up 51-50 moments later. A pair of Grace Gedlaman free throws gave the Wildkats the lead for good with 1:55 to play.

Berreth finished with 16 points and five rebounds to lead the Bigfork effort while Saari had 14 points, Scout Nadeau added 10 points and eight rebounds, Madison Chappuis chipped in seven points, seven rebounds and four assists and Callie Martinz and Audrey Buenz each scored two points.

The Valkyries fell behind the Lady Lions 33-14 at the half in Eureka Thursday and never recovered as Bigfork fell 56-34. Nadeau scored 16 in the loss while Berreth finished with 12, Callie Gambala scored three and Arianna Saari had two points.

Berreth scored 25 and Martinz added 10 at Thompson Falls Saturday, but it was not enough as the Valkyries fell to the Lady Blue Hawks, 60-53.

Down 13-7 after one quarter and 34-24 at the half, the Valkyries couldn’t recover as Thompson Falls held on for the win. Nadeau scored seven for Bigfork, Lexi Saari had six and Buenz and Chappuis each scored two points.

The Valkyries were back in action after press time Tuesday as they traveled to take on Loyola in Missoula. The team will be at Anaconda Saturday.

VIKINGS WRESTLING

Ryder Nollan and Traic Fainter each went 3-0 last week and Isaac Bjorge was 3-1 as the Vikings wrestling squad picked up a pair of dual wins over Whitefish and Browning and also saw action at a mixer in Arlee.

Fainter opened the week by pinning Clark Fork’s Ryder Hansen in 1:08 and Michah Acaker in 2:42 in Arlee Thursday before pinning Browning’s Chris Hall in 2:44 Friday.

Nollan pinned Arlee’s Drew Knoll in 1:18 Thursday before earning a 10-6 decision over Browning’s Quenton Campos and a 6-1 win over Whitefish’s Carter Moran Friday.

Bjorge split his matches at Arlee Thursday, falling to Clark Fork’s Chandon Vulles in 1:00 before pinning Jaxon Green in 43 seconds. He picked up a pair of wins in Whitefish Friday, a 12-5 decision over Browning’s Brendon Whiteman before pinning Whitefish’s Ashton Akey in 1:50.

The team was at Eureka after press time Tuesday and will be at Plains Saturday.

Arlee Mixer (Arlee and Clark Fork)

103 Traic Fainter won by Fall 1:08 over Ryder Hansen (CF)

113 Json Merringer lost by Fall 0:51 to Micah Acaker (CF)

120 Angus Anderson lost by Fall 1:30 to Decker Milender (CF)

138 Eli Tidwell won by Fall 1:14 over Drew Knoll (Arlee)

145 Shelton Woll lost by major decision 9-1 to Colt Crawford (Arlee)

152 Vaughn Pendlay won by Fall 1:40 over William Buchannen (CF)

152 Patrick Wallen won by Fall 1:25 over Carter Mclees (CF)

170 Joseph Farrier lost by Fall 2:37 to Carter Woodson (CF)

182 Evan Tidwell lost by Fall 1:45 to Silas Acker (CF)

205 Isaac Bjorge lost by Fall 1:00 to Chandon Vulles (CF)

285 Fletcher Postalwait won by Fall 1:23 over Jaxson Green (CF)

113 Json Merringer lost by Fall 1:33 to Ryder Hansen (CF)

103 Traic Fainter won by Fall 2:42 over Micah Acaker (CF)

120 Angus Anderson won by Fall 1:33 over Tyrell Thomas (Arlee)

138 Ryder Nollan won by Fall 1:18 over Drew Knoll (Arlee)

152 Patrick Wallen lost by Fall 1:04 to Colt Crawford (Arlee)

152 Vaughn Pendlay won by Fall 1:30 over Carter Mclees (CF)

170 Joseph Farrier lost by Fall 3:53 to Thomas Anderson (CF)

182 Evan Tidwell lost by Fall 1:12 to Carter Woodson (CF)

205 Isaac Bjorge won by Fall 0:43 over Jaxon Green (CF)

285 Fletcher Postalwait lost by 13-7 decision to Chandon Vulles (CF)

Whitefish Duals (Whitefish and Browning)

Bigfork 54 Browning 12

103 Traic Fainter (B) won by Fall 2:44 over Chris Hall (BR)

113 Json Merringer (B) won by Forfeit

120 Angus Anderson (B) won by Forfeit

126 Open (B) Open (BR)

132 Ryder Nollan (B) won by Decision 10-6 over Quenton Campos (BR)

138 Eli Tidwell (B) won by Forfeit

145 Shelton Woll (B) won by Forfeit

152 Patrick Wallen (B) lost by Fall 3:09 to Jaren Keene (BR)

160 Vaughn Pendlay (B) lost by Fall 4:32 to Benny Runningcrane (BR)

170 Joseph Farrier (B) won by Forfeit

182 Evan Tidwell (B) won by Fall 4:33 over Gabe Walker (BR)

205 Isaac Bjorge (B) won by Decision 12-5 over Brendon Whiteman (BR)

285 Fletcher Postalwait (B) won by Fall :33 over James Whitcomb (BR)

Bigfork 48 Whitefish 25

103 Traic Fainter (B) won by Forfeit

113 Json Merringer (B) lost by Fall :26 to Nathan Sproul (W)

120 Angus Anderson (B) won by Forfeit

126 Forfeit (B) to Angelo Castro (W)

132 Ryder Nollan (B) won by Forfeit

138 Eli Tidwell (B) won by Fall :56 over Carter Moran (W)

145 Shelton Woll (B) won by Fall 1:20 over Jack Akey (W)

152 Patrick Wallen (B) won by Forfeit

160 Vaughn Pendlay (B) lost by Fall 2:49 to Ryley Creasey (W)

170 Joseph Farrier (B) lost by Major Decision 15-1 to Cameron Ross (W)

182 Evan Tidwell (B) won by Forfeit

205 Isaac Bjorge (B) won by Fall 1:50 over Ashton Akey (W)

285 Fletcher Postalwait (B) lost by Decision 4-2 to Brian Sweeny (W)

Exhibition Matches

126 Angus Anderson lost by Fall 5:43 to Angelo Castro (W)

138 Ryder Nollan won by Decision 6-1 over Carter Moran (W)

160 Patrick Wallen won by Fall 3:35 over Vallen Lewis Ingerson (W)

205 Evan Tidwell lost by injury default to Ben Daylin (W)

VALKYRIES SWIMMING

The Valkyries 200 medley relay team of Sydney Slawter, Allie Reichner, Sophi Logue and Shelby Thompson shaved 11 seconds off their season-best time to finish sixth at the Missoula High School Invitational last week while Soraya Brevik took six seconds off her best time in the 200 freestyle to move into contention for a spot at the state meet.

Logue and Thompson helped lead the Valkyries to a ninth place finish overall at the meet as Logue was third in the 100 butterfly and fifth in the 100 backstroke while Thompson was fifth and eighth in the same events. Slawter earned ninth for the Valkyries in the 100 freestyle.

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Isak Epperly glides in for a layup against the Lions Thursday. Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle

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Levi Taylor looks for room to operate against a tough Lions defense Thursday. Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle

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Nick Walker (left) and Isak Epperly (right) battle for a rebound against Eureka Thursday. Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle

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Isak Epperly looks to break the Lions press during the Vikings win over Eureka Thursday. Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle

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Levi Taylor battles his way inside for a tough two points against the Lions Thursday. Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle

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Alexis Saari and Audrey Buenz trap Columbia Falls ball handler LaKia Hill in the fourth quarter last week. Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle

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Callie Martinz (middle) and Callie Gambala battle with Columbia Falls guard LaKia Hill for a loose ball last week. Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle

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Callie Gambala and Columbia Falls forward Grace Gedlaman fight over a rebound. Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle

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Madison Chappuis dribbles around a screen by Emma Berreth to avoid the Columbia Falls press last week. Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle