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Longhorns moving on in Missoula

Fort Benton beats Twin Bridges in first state tourney game since 1992


March 12, 2020

406 Sports

Fort Benton's Garrett Diekhans shoots during a Class C state tournament game against Twin Bridges Wednesday afternoon in Missoula. The Longhorns beat the Falcons to advance to tonight's semifinals.

After claiming to the top of the Northern C, the Fort Benton boys basketball team had a goal to reach the top of the Class C at the 2020 Class C state boys tournament, which started Wednesday when the Longhorns went up against one-loss Twin Bridges in a first-round showdown.

And Fort Benton survived the first-round test, beating the Falcons 48-39 Wednesday afternoon in the Dahlberg Arena in Missoula. Now, the Longhorns (25-0) continue to keep their undefeated record and stay the course for a state title.

Fort Benton head coach Tyler Pasha was proud of his team’s effort in the bout against Twin Bridges.

“The boys played extremely hard against a very talented team today,” Pasha said. “We made shots in the second half of the fourth quarter when we needed to and came out on top. I believe our hard work, conditioning and depth really helped us today.”

When the game started, the Falcons had the edge over the Longhorns, as Bryce Nye was a force when it came to 3-pointers. Brothers Garrett and Hayden Diekhans worked together to bring Fort Benton back in the game, but at the end of the first half, Twin Bridges had 12-8 lead.

The Longhorns then pushed in the second stanza, as Jace Thompson, William Ullery and the Diekhans duo came alive to drive Fort Benton forward. The Falcons kept fighting, though, staying with the Longhorns throughout the rest of the first half. Even so, Fort Benton came out on top 22-20 at the intermission.

Twin Bridges came back out in the third period to try to topple the Longhorns. The Falcons kept working as Fort Benton tried to keep the peace, but Twin Bridges stayed the course it started on to take the lead back 31-29 after three.

But then, the Longhorns dominated in the final eight minutes. The Falcons did not quit, but fouls sunk them into a hole while Fort Benton took advantage of those fouls by sinking key free throws to take back the lead late in the quarter. The Diekhans brothers and the Longhorns totaled 19 points and held Twin Bridges to just eight to snag the first round win and hand the Falcons their second loss of the season.

With the victory in the opening round of the Class C state tourney, Fort Benton moves forward in the bracket to the semifinals, one step closer to the championship battle. But to get there, the Longhorns have to get through a familiar face in Fairview.

Pasha is looking forward to the tough game against the strong Warriors.

“We are playing against another good team today,” Pasha said. “The boys know the Fairview boys from the state football playoffs and are looking forward to the challenge ahead of us. Hopefully we can get timely stops and buckets when we need them today.”

Fort Benton and Fairview take the court tonight at 6:30 p.m. in Dahlburg Arena at the University of Montana in Missoula to try and punch their ticket to the Class C state chipper Saturday night.

Fort Benton 48, Twin Bridges 39

FTB 8 14 7 19 – 48

TWB 12 8 11 8 – 39

FTB – Jace Thompson 4, Stephen Gannon 2, Hayden Diekhans 21, Logan Giles 3, William Ullery 4, Garrett Diekhans 14. Totals: 18-45 10-11 48.

TWB – Bryce Nye 15, Charlie Kruer 7, Tate Smith 7, Jake Hughes 2, Matthew Kaiser 8. Totals: 14-46 5-8 39.

3-pointers: H. Diekhans 1, L. Giles 1, B. Nye 3, C. Kruer 2, T. Smith 1. Fouls: Fort Benton 6, Twin Bridges 12. Fouled out: none.


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