FALCONS TO STATE TOURNAMENT
Twin Bridges defeats Gardiner
Twin Bridges claimed a spot in the 2020 State Basketball Tournament.
The Falcons challenged the Gardiner Bruins for second place in the 2020 Western C Boys Division- al Basketball Tournament and won (49-41). Twin Bridges and Manhattan Christian will compete in the Class C State Tournament in Missoula March 12-14.
It was not the quickest path but a redeeming one.
Twin Bridges went on a parade of victories in the tournament after losing to Manhattan Christian Friday night. They defeated every other team that stood in the way of the state tournament. The Falcons’ fifth game in the divisional tournament, a victory against Gardiner, propelled them in the post season.
The game started off quick, but both teams formed unyielding defense. Steals down the court and moving the ball around with patience for the opportunity to blow through the defensive coverage dominated the successful plays for both teams. Matt Kaiser’s consistent pressure under the net helped tipped the scales in the Falcons’ favor.
“I did it for Nate,” Kaiser said.
Twin Bridges’ captain, Nate Konen, went down in the District 12-C Championship game with a knee injury. Konen is expected to make a quick recovery. The team is hoping to have him playing in the State Championship Tournament.
The first half of the Challenge Game ended with Gardiner catching up with Twin Bridges. Granite player Luke Stermitz stole the ball from Bryce Nye in the final seconds and marched down the court alone to put up two points.
Evan Gurngerich tied the game for the Bruins in the first minute of the second half. Elijah Byrd nets a two-pointer for Gardiner to take the lead. Twin Bridges was quick to correct it. As the seconds flew with the Falcons narrowly leading, Nye maneuvered down the court. Byrd was with him every step, but Nye seemed to be leading. He found Jake Hughes outside the arch in the final three seconds. Hughes drained a three-pointer and had enough time to attempt another one before the quarter ended.
The Bruins got within three points of the Falcons at the start of the fourth quarter. That was the closest they got for the rest of the game. Free throws and timeouts outnumbered the plays of the last three minutes. Twin Bridges took the spot in the state tournament as the second-place team for the Western C Boys Divisional. Twin Bridges, 49, Gardiner, 41.
“We’ve had some adversity, we fought through some injuries and just because we had a little differ- ent route directed at us, we still had the same end goal,” Twin Bridges Head Coach Josh Keller said.