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Top-seeded Vikings faced tough weekend in Eureka

by JEREMY WEBER
For the Eagle | March 10, 2021 2:35 AM

The Vikings took leads into the fourth quarters of their final two games of the Western B Divisional Basketball Tournament in Eureka over the weekend but could not hold them as Bigfork went 1-2 to end its season.

The top seed from district 7B, the Vikings opened the tournament with a 45-35 win over Anaconda Thursday.

Bigfork trailed 15-7 in the second quarter but the Vikings battled back with a 14-2 run to take their first lead at 18-17 on a basket by Levi Taylor with 1:13 to play in the half.

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Bigfork's Isak Epperly puts in a shot over Anaconda's Landon Hurley during play at the Western B Divisional Basketball Tournament in Eureka Thursday. Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle

The game remained close in the third quarter as Bryce Gilliard put in a three at the buzzer to give Bigfork a 36-29 lead heading into the fourth.

Anaconda was able to cut the lead to five with two minutes to play, but three key offensive rebounds on missed free throws down the stretch helped the Vikings hold on for the win.

Bigfork used balanced scoring to help earn the win as Taylor led the way with nine points while Dane Hansen had seven, Gilliard finished with six, Isak Epperly, Walker Fisher and Colin Wade each had five points and Cormac Benn added four.

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Bigfork's Walker Fisher is fouled by Anaconda's Jacob Greenwood while going to the basket in the Vikings' 45-35 win in the opening round of the Western B Divisional Basketball Tournament in Eureka Thursday. Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle

The Vikings took a 29-28 lead into the fourth quarter against Deer Lodge in the tournament semifinals Friday but saw that lead disappear down the stretch as the Wardens came back to earn the win, 46-40.

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The Vikings battled it out on the court during the Western B Divisional Basketball Tournament in Eureka last weekend. Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle

Bigfork led 21-15 at the half but could not build its lead as the Wardens kept the game close in the third quarter. A corner three by Wade put the Vikings up 34-33 with 6:04 to play, but it was the last time Bigfork would lead Deer Lodge closed out the game on a 13-6 run.

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Bigfork's Bryce Gilliard rises above the Deer Lodge defense for two points in the semifinals of the Western B Divisional Basketball Tournament in Eureka Friday. Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle

Only four Vikings scored in the contest as Epperly finished with 18 points while Gilliard had 10, Wade added nine and Fisher had three points.

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The Vikings battled it out on the court during the Western B Divisional Basketball Tournament in Eureka last weekend. Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle

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The Vikings battled it out on the court during the Western B Divisional Basketball Tournament in Eureka last weekend. Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle

It was much the same story for the Vikings in their final game of the tournament as Bigfork took a 43-37 lead into the fourth quarter before falling to Thompson Falls, 58-52.

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The Vikings battled it out on the court during the Western B Divisional Basketball Tournament in Eureka last weekend. Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle

Bigfork trailed by as many as nine in the first half before battling back to tie the contest on a three by Gilliard with 1:45 to play in the second quarter. Neither team scored again in the half as the game was knotted at 27-27 at the half.

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The Vikings battled it out on the court during the Western B Divisional Basketball Tournament in Eureka last weekend. Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle

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The Vikings battled it out on the court during the Western B Divisional Basketball Tournament in Eureka last weekend. Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle

Fisher had a strong third quarter to help Bigfork grab a six-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, but the Vikings could not hold on as the Blue Hawks scored 21 points in the final frame to pull away for the win to end Bigfork’s season.

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The Vikings battled it out on the court during the Western B Divisional Basketball Tournament in Eureka last weekend. Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle

Thompson Falls 13 14 10 21 - 58

Bigfork 15 12 16 9 - 52

BIGFORK - Cormac Benn 5, Isak Epperly 13, Walker Fisher 18, Levi Taylor 4, Dane Hansen 2, Bryce Gilliard 10.

THOMPSON FALLS - Tristan Subatch 5, Nathan Schraeder 18, Justin Morgan 2, Dante Micheli 14, Kade Pardee 7, Cody Burk 12,

Deer Lodge 9 6 13 18 – 46

Bigfork 13 8 8 11 – 40

BIGFORK – Isak Epperly 18, Bryce Gilliard 10, Colin Wade 9, Walker Fisher 3.

DEER LODGE – Ozzie King 19, Aidan Thompson 13, Brodey Freeman 9, Hunter Steinbach 3, Logan Nicholson 2.

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The Vikings battled it out on the court during the Western B Divisional Basketball Tournament in Eureka last weekend. Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle

Anaconda 13 4 12 6 - 35

Bigfork 7 14 15 9 - 45

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The Vikings battled it out on the court during the Western B Divisional Basketball Tournament in Eureka last weekend. Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle

BIGFORK - Cormac Benn 4, Isak Epperly 5, Walker Fisher 5, Levi Taylor 9, Dane Hansen 7, Bryce Gilliard 6, Colin Wade 5.

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The Vikings battled it out on the court during the Western B Divisional Basketball Tournament in Eureka last weekend. Jeremy Weber/Bigfork Eagle

ANACONDA - Jacob Greenwood 4, Gabe Galle 6, Braedon Sawyer 11, Eli Saltenberger 5, Landon Hurley 7.