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Noxon, Hot Springs end season at district tourney

The basketball season ended for Sanders County teams at the District 14-C tournament, but both Noxon and Hot Springs fought hard against the competition, including each other, as they gave their all in the final weekend of play.

The District 14-C tournament was held in Polson last weekend. The top two teams for boys and girls advanced to the divisional tournament, set for this weekend in Butte.

The Hot Springs boys finished fourth in the tournament. They opened post-season play against Two Eagle River on Friday, falling 61-36. From there, the Savage Heat faced Alberton Friday morning and won handily, 58-33. Noxon boys opened the tournament against Superior, coming back to beat the Bobcats 48-45. In the win, Ricky Williams scored 16 for Noxon, Shane Murray 11 and Brian Risch and Aiden Currie eight each. Noxon then faced Charlo, who handed the Red Devils their first loss of the tournament, 72-48. Red Devil Williams led the scoring for Noxon with 25 points, Murray added 12, Justice Kasyer six, Shane Hatchel three and Ian Brown two. That set the two Sanders County boys teams for a loser-out matchup in the consolation bracket. Noxon and Hot Springs faced off in Linderman Gym on Saturday morning, and both teams played with intensity, knowing it could be their last game of the season. Noxon held a lead through much of the first quarter until Hot Springs took a 1-point lead, up 9-8. Hot Springs was able to strengthen the lead throughout the second and third quarters.

The fourth quarter began as the first quarter did, with Noxon's Sam Christensen draining a three-pointer, but the team couldn't gain the momentum to catch up and Hot Springs won the game 44-36, ending the season for the Red Devils. For Hot Springs, Weston Sloanker shot 13, Garth Parker 10 and Quincy Styles-Depoe shot nine points. For Noxon, Shane Murray hooped 13 points and Christensen sank nine points.

Hot Springs went on to face Superior in the consolation final Saturday afternoon, falling to Superior 45-32.

The Noxon girls also finished the tournament in fourth place. The girls started the tournament much like the Red Devil boys, winning their first game on Thursday against Two Eagle River, 54-30. Noxon also faced Charlo in the semifinal round, falling 49-24. Noxon was the first to score in the semifinal before Charlo tied the game halfway into the first quarter and took a 9-4 that they ran with and increased in the second quarter, leading 24-10 at halftime. The Red Devils were unable to catch the Vikings, who went on to win second place in the tournament.

In the consolation bracket, Noxon met Hot Springs, who had lost their opening game Thursday against St. Regis 53-44. The Noxon-Hot Springs game was one of the most intense and exciting of the tournament. The teams were tied several times throughout the game, trading leads. Hot Springs had a three-point lead as the teams went into the locker rooms at halftime.

The second half of the game was even more intense, as the teams were tied at 23 apiece before Hot Springs went on a run and had a 10-point lead going into the final eight minutes. Noxon was within two points of the Savage Heat thanks to some free throws sunk by senior Emily Brown. The final three minutes of the game, the teams traded baskets and leads. Players on both sides of the court fouled out, and Brown sank two free throws to seal the win as the Red Devils advanced with a 47-42 win over Hot Springs.

For Hot Springs, Lily DeTienne hooped 10 points and rebounded ten, Lauryn Aldridge scored 12 and rebounded 11 and Erica Cannon racked up four points. For Noxon, Brown took the floor, racking up 40 points.

Coach Richard Jackson said that the girls' wheels fell off at the end of the game and it was a heartbreaker. "It was a quick four months and I'm looking forward to next year," said Jackson.

Noxon faced St. Regis in the consolation final Saturday afternoon, but were unable to come up with a win, losing 46-36 and finishing fourth in the District.


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