Warriors place second at divisionals, head to state
DEER LODGE – It took three days, two severe winter weather cancellations, two venue changes and a Darshan Bolen game-winning free throw for the Arlee Warriors to finally earn their fifth consecutive State C Tournament appearance and a shot at a third consecutive Class C State championship.
On Feb. 21-23, Arlee entered the opening rounds of the Western C Divisional Tournament at the Maroon Activities Center in Butte seeking a fourth consecutive divisional title.
After dominating wins in the opening rounds over Drummond (72-53) and Gardiner (76-62), the Warriors found themselves in a familiar spot Saturday evening with a shot at the divisional championship against postseason rivals Manhattan Christian Eagles. The Eagles went on to win the game 63-51 over the Warriors, which sent Arlee into a divisional challenge game against the Twin Bridges Falcons. Against the Falcons, Arlee took second place and a berth to the state tournament on March 7-9 in Billings.
The challenge game was initially scheduled for Monday evening, Feb. 25, in Phillipsburg, but unseasonably harsh winter weather forced game cancellations on both Monday and Tuesday evening and a venue change Wednesday evening, Feb. 27, to Deer Lodge.
After the first quarter of action, the Warriors held a slim one-point (14-13) advantage over the Falcons.
After a 16-8 scoring run by Twin Bridges in the second quarter, both teams headed to the locker room with the Falcons up 29-22.
In the third quarter, Twin Bridges lead, 38-35. With 1.8 seconds left on the clock, the two-time defending State C champions slipped past Twin Bridges, 52-51, with the Bolen game-winning free throw.
For Arlee, Isaac Fisher scored a game-high 16 points, while Cody Tanner and Lane Johnson both scored 10 points each.
On Thursday, Arlee will face Scobey at 2 p.m. in the first round of the state playoffs. The Warriors look to three-peat as State C champions.