Polson avenged a Feb. 17 loss to Bigfork by defeating the Vikings 50-43 on Thursday afternoon in the second game of the Northwestern A boys divisional basketball tournament at Glacier High School.
The Feb. 17 game was the only conference win of the season for Bigfork, which came into the tourney with a 1-9 conference record.
Bigfork, the sixth seed, started hot and outscored Polson 19-15 in the first quarter. But then the Vikings went cold in the second quarter, missing open shots and turning the ball over at inopportune times. The Vikings only scored one point in the second quarter – a free throw by senior Scott Taylor. They didn’t score a field goal.
Bigfork’s next field goal didn’t come until 5:16 remaining in the third quarter, a drought of nearly 11 minutes.
Polson, the third seed, took a 28-20 lead into halftime. Then in the third quarter, Polson jumped out to a 36-24 lead before Bigfork’s Brock Boll, the team’s leading scorer, got hot. Boll scored six quick points in the quarter and Taylor added a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to 36-30 going into the fourth quarter.
The Vikings cut Polson’s lead to three points in the fourth quarter after two Boll free throws with 5:32 remaining. But 38-35 was as close as Bigfork would get the rest of the game.
Led by sophomore Kyle Bagnell and senior guard Waylon Michel, the Pirates refused to relinquish their small lead. Bagnell and Michel combined for 11 points in the final period.
The closest Bigfork would get after the 38-35 score was with 45 seconds left in the game. Senior forward Zac Hansen hit a long three-pointer to bring Bigfork within four points at 46-42. Thirteen seconds later, Hansen had another open look at a three, but came up short, effectively ending the game.
Bagnell led Polson with 17 points, while Michel added 12. Bagnell didn’t miss a shot in the first half. For Bigfork, Boll finished with 14 points – 12 in the second half – and Hansen had 12.
Bigfork will play in the consolation bracket on Saturday at Glacier High School, while Polson advances to play No. 2 Libby tomorrow at 4 p.m. at Glacier High School. The tournament is a double-elimination format.
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