Monday, March 20, 2023

Charging to the Championship: Vikings win pair to capture 7B district title

For the Eagle | February 22, 2023 10:15 AM

The Vikings overcame slow starts in both matchups in Eureka over the weekend to capture the 7B District Tournament title with wins over Thompson Falls and Eureka.

Bigfork fell behind Thompson Falls in the opening minutes of the district semifinal Friday evening but led 23-15 at the half before pulling away for a 48-33 victory.

Nick Walker battled foul trouble in the opening quarter as the Blue Hawks grabbed a 5-4 lead, but the Vikings used a 9-1 run to grab a 13-5 advantage after eight minutes of action.

The Vikings turned up the defensive intensity in the second quarter and held Thompson Falls scoreless for nearly four minutes, but the teams battled to a draw in the quarter as Bigfork continued to lead by eight at the break.

A quick Thompson Falls basket cut the Bigfork lead to six in the opening moments of the third quarter but the Vikings answered with an 11-0 run to pull away for good on the way to the win.

Bigfork recorded 15 assists on 19 made baskets in the win and had 17 steals while winning the rebounding battle by 10.

Isak Epperly led the way for the Vikings with 15 points in the win while Walker finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and a pair of blocks.

Bryce Gilliard also scored 10 while Wyatt Johnson had five, Jack Jesnen and Landon Byerman both scored three and Eli Thorness had two points.

The Vikings got another 20 points from Epperly in the championship game Saturday as Bigfork overcame an early deficit to pull away for a 61-35 victory over Eureka.

The Vikings found themselves down 8-4 midway through the opening quarter as fouls piled up quickly.

Seven Bigfork fouls put the Lions in the bonus less than six minutes into the game, but Bigfork battled back to grab its first lead on a post basket from Walker with 2:25 to go in the opening quarter.

The Vikings led 15-13 after one quarter of play and pushed their lead as high as seven in the second before settling for a 28-24 advantage at the break.

A three from Walker and a layup by Byerman put the Vikings up 37-28 in the third and helped spark a 27-7 surge by the Vikings to close out the game.

Along with Epperly’s 20 points, Johnson finished with nine points and five assists, Walker scored eight and pulled down six rebounds, Thorness had seven points and seven rebounds, Gilliard had six points and five boards, Byerman scored six and added four assists, Levi Peterson had three points and Austin Savik scored two.

The Vikings will open the Western B Divisional Tournament in Anaconda Thursday evening as they take on Arlee at 6:30 p.m.

The Warriors finished fourth at the 6B District Tournament over the weekend, defeating Deer Lodge before falling to Loyola and Florence-Carlton.

Thursday’s other matchups in Anaconda include 6B top seed Loyola taking on Thompson Falls, Florence-Carlton vs Eureka and Mission taking on Anaconda.