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Loyola outlasts Hawks

Rams escape Thompson Falls with OT win


January 11, 2018

John Hamilton

STOP HIM IF YOU CAN - Thompson Falls senior Danny Hoisington goes up for two of his 33 points during the Hawks' game with Loyola at TFHS last week. The Hawks host Bigfork and play at Deer Lodge this week.

Although there is always a silver lining in defeat, this one had all the makings of a golden victory, a rare, sweet win over the Loyola Fighting Rams.

The Thompson Falls Blue Hawk boys did everything but win last Tuesday's game with visiting Loyola at TFHS, but a last-second 3-pointer by Jack Lincoln allowed the Rams to tie the game at the end of regulation, and the Rams went on to win 87-83 in overtime.

The Hawks actually had the points on the board to win with only 9.2 seconds remaining when Danny Hoisington connected on two free throws to put the Hawks up 79-75. Unfortunately for the Falls fans in attendance thirsting for the rare win over Loyola, a lane violation erased Hoisington's second free throw to re-set the score at 78-75 to set up Lincoln for his three from the top of the key as the buzzer sounded, tying the game at 78-78.

University of Montana football recruit David Koppang scored the first four points in overtime to get Loyola ahead, and the Rams combined to convert five of six free throws in the last 25 seconds to allow Loyola to escape with the win.

Coach Jake Mickelson was proud of how his team played in the loss, which overshadowed incredible performances from Hoisington and Nate Thibeault.

Coach Eddie Stack's Rams had severe problems containing either Hawk star as Hoisington went off for 33 points (while also grabbing 15 rebounds), and Thibeault had a stunning stat line of 26 points (including seven of nine 3-pointers, one of those from half-court at the third quarter buzzer), seven rebounds and six assists.

"We are a pretty good team when we can get more than one guy scoring like that," Mickeson said. "I think Danny is one of the best big men in the Western B division, he is just so active, and when Nate gets it going, he is very tough to stop, too."

That's not even mentioning the 13 points and four assists added by Payton Frields, the three points and five assists provided by Dylan Beckman, the four points and six rebounds added by Grant Lundberg, or the two points apiece from Alex Erosa and Michael Johnson.

On the other side of the equation, Lincoln led Loyola with 24 points, Koppang and Joey McElroy (an MSU football commit) added 15 each, Scotty Twite 10 and Charles Burns nine.

The Hawks followed up the game with Loyola with a District 7B conference game at Eureka Saturday and ran away from the homestanding Lions 74-46. The only downside to that win was a sprained ankle suffered by Hoisington in the first half. "He rolled it pretty good," Mickelson offered. "He sat out practice Monday and will be a game-time decision as to if he will play or not this week."

Although the Hawks have already had several big games – the win over Florence back on Dec. 15 and the Loyola game included – their biggest game yet lies in the offing for Thursday as the No. 1 rated Class B team in the state, the undefeated Bigfork Vikings come to town Thursday for a key District 7B game at TFHS. The Hawks will then play another non-conference game at Deer Lodge Saturday.

John Hamilton

TAKING IT TO THE RACK - Hawk Dylan Beckman drives to the basket as a pair of Loyola Rams defend in Thompson Falls last week.

Bigfork is obviously loaded for bear this season as illustrated by their ridiculous 74-6, you read that right, 74-6 win over 7B foe Troy Friday. For reference, 8-0 Bigfork is No. 1 in the latest class B power poll, 6-2 Florence is ranked No. 4 and 4-1 Loyola is No. 10. The Hawks are currently 4-5, but may be the best 4-5 Class B team in Montana right now.

"We feel pretty confident," Mickelson said. "We present some matchup problems to other teams and think we are capable of beating anyone on any given night."

Frields scored 20 points to lead the Hawks in Eureka, Thibeault added 17 points and 13 rebounds (all in the first half), Hoisington had 11 points and five rebounds before rolling his ankle, Beckman scored nine points and passed out five assists, Lundberg added eight points and eight boards, Johnson seven points and four rebounds and Ryan Schraeder two points.

Quade Anderson put in 15 points to lead Eureka and Jake Kindel 12.


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