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Lady Vikings thump Hot Springs for 14C district title three-peat

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RONAN – For the third straight season, the Charlo Lady Vikings conclude 14C District Tournament action by hoisting the district championship trophy high in the air on Saturday night. The undefeated Lady Vikings extinguished the Lady Savage Heat 48-32 to claim the conference crown.

“Three-peat,” yelled Charlo junior Conner Fryberger, holding up three fingers after scoring a game-high 15 points for the Lady Vikings. “This feels so amazing.”

After a first-round bye, the Lady Vikings opened tournament play Friday evening at the Ronan Event Center with an overwhelming 51-18 win over the Noxon Lady Red Devils. Junior Lady Viking Liev Smith nearly outscored the entire Lady Red Devils team with a game-high 16 points. Destiny Manuel netted 15 points on the night. 

After defeating Noxon, Lady Viking head coach Bret Thompson surpassed a coaching career benchmark by earning his 600th victory. When asked about the significance of the coaching milestone, Thompson said, “I’ve been pretty lucky being here in Charlo. They’ve been really good to me. I’ve had great girls to work with, and without them, I definitely wouldn’t be here at this point.” Thompson has led his Lady Vikings to numerous district and divisional titles including a state title in 2003 during his 33-season career at Charlo. 

In the District 14C girls basketball championship against Hot Springs, both squads came out swinging with back-and-forth action. The score was tied four times and the lead switched hands seven times within the first eleven minutes of the half.

At the 4:29 minute mark in the second quarter with the score knotted up at 13-13, Fryberger battled the Hots Springs defense inside to the basket for a clutch score, which put Charlo up 15-13. A move to the hoop by Fryberger kickstarted a late second-quarter 13-2 Lady Viking scoring frenzy that helped Charlo take an 11-point lead into the locker room at halftime, 26-15. Midway through the fourth quarter, Hot Springs managed to claw their way back into the game by cutting the deficit to just seven points, 37-30, with 4:30 left. From that point on, the Lady Vikings pulled away by outscoring the Lady Savage Heat on an 11-2 scoring run, securing the district title and a spot at the divisional tournament with a 48-32 victory.

“It feels great, said Thompson about the win. “It’s a steppingstone of the goals the girls set at the beginning of the year. When you start playing teams the third time, it’s kind of tough. You could see we knew each other. I thought we did a great job in the second quarter. It got us back into the game. Hopefully, we can get to divisional and stay healthy.”

Fryberger scored 12 of her game-leading 15 points in the second quarter. Smith added 12 points, nine rebounds and two steals. With the win, the Lady Vikings advance to the Western C Divisional Tournament in Frenchtown on Feb. 27 to the 29th.


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