Warriors sink the Vikings, clinch District 14-C
ARLEE — With their usually fast-paced, high-flying offense taking a night off, the Warriors turned to their defense to clinch the District 14-C regular season championship.
With the Charlo Vikings trying to slow the game down and on a night where their shots weren’t falling for them, the Warriors’ defense stepped up big in a 49-34 district-clinching victory on their home court Friday night. The 49 points are 13 below their season average and 21 less than they scored the night before in a 70-47 road victory over the Savage Heat.
The often-overlooked Warrior defense shut down the Charlo 6-foot-4 big men of Houston Blevins and Chance Frame and forced the normally sure-handed Viking guards to commit 24 turnovers, 10 of which came in the decisive third-quarter.
“They were deliberate on offense, so we were kind of deliberate on offense. Our shots weren’t falling either, so that didn’t help matters any. Our defense did a decent job so that was a big factor. Without a good defense we would’ve been in trouble,” Arlee coach Clyde Tucker said. “When you have a night where you’re not shooting well, you hope your defense can step up and win the game; and I think that was the case tonight,” he added.
With the Vikings focusing most of their attention on Kyle Felsman and John Sansavere – the two combined for 32 points in Arlee’s victory in Charlo – and his coach telling him to shoot more in the locker room at halftime, Warrior point guard Jesse Pfau scored 12 of his game-high 14 points in the second half, including four free throws in two one-and-one situations in the final two minutes to ice the game.
“If teams are going to let him score, he’s going to have to score and that’s what he did tonight,” Tucker said of Pfau, who scored the Warriors’ first fastbreak points on a layup at the 4:35 mark in the third quarter to give Arlee a 27-19 lead. Pfau went 5-for-9 from the field and 4-for-4 at the line. The senior also had seven rebounds and two assists.
Going into the break with only a 21-15 lead after a first half where the Warriors scored all their points on half-court sets, Tucker tried to speed up the game with a full-court press and the Vikings played right into their hands. The Warrior defense, which finished with eight steals, forced the Vikings to commit 10 turnovers in the quarter and went into the final frame with a 33-23 lead.
The Vikings tried to slow the game down because they thought they had an advantage inside, with Blevins and Frame, but the Warriors held the pair scoreless in the first half and to only six combined points in the game – the two combined for 26 points against Arlee in early January.
“We try to deny them the ball if we can. It seemed like all they were getting tonight was second-chance points,” Tucker said of the Vikings’ frontcourt.
The Warriors went 17-for-38 from 2-point range and 3-for-12 from 3-point range with all their 3-pointers coming in the first half. John Sansavere, who scored five of his seven points in the first quarter, put the Warriors up for good with a 3-pointer at 2:16 in the first quarter to give Arlee a 9-8 lead. Trae Burland came off the bench and knocked down a trey at the buzzer to give the Warriors a 16-10 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Warriors went scoreless in the first five and half minutes to start the second quarter, before Kasey Bridgewater hit a 3-pointer to give the Warriors a 19-15 lead.
Kyle Felsman went 3-for-10 from the field to finish with 11 points. Felsman led the team with nine rebounds. Kody Morigeau added eight points and three rebounds.
With the win the Warriors improved to 9-0 in district play and 13-1 overall. The Warriors only have one more conference game, when they host Noxon at home Saturday night.
Led my Felsman’s 22 points, the Warriors ran away from the Savage Heat in a 70-49 victory in Hot Springs Thursday. Felsman went 8-for-11 from the field, including a perfect 3-for-3 behind the arc. Felsman also pulled down 10 rebounds.
Sansavere finished with 18 points and Morigeau added 12 points to go along with his nine boards. The Warriors shot 52 percent from the field and were 6 of 14 on 3-point attempts.
Arlee 70, Hot Springs 47
Arlee 17 22 12 19–70
Hot Springs 12 12 9 14–47
ARLEE - Kasey Bridgewater, Kyle Felsman 19, Jesse Pfau 4, John Sansavere 18, Kody Morigeau 12, Trae Burland 7, Trevor Rubel 3.
HOT SPRINGS - Zack Malinak 10, Tyler Fisher 1, Reiley Winebrenner 15, Cody Hoff 8, Wyatt Nagy 2, Michael Brooks 11.
Arlee 49, Charlo 34
Charlo 10 6 7 11–34
Arlee 16 5 12 16–49
CHARLO - Chico Stipe 8, Chance Rosenbaum 11, Houstin Blevins 4, Chance Frame 2, Chance Firestone 9.
ARLEE - Kasey Bridgewater 4, Kyle Felsman 11, Thomas McClure 2, Jesse Pfau 14, Trae Burland 3, John Sansavere 7, Kody Morigeau 8.