BELGRADE Bigfork needed a big fourth quarter to beat back at determined Big Timber team 61-45 on Wednesday afternoon in first-round play at the Class B boys statge basketball tournament at the Belgrade Special Events Center.
Bigfork (20-2), holding a 43-39 advantage after three periods, put the game away by outscoring Big Timber 18-6 after that for a 16-point victory.
The game was tied for a final time at 45.
Anders Epperly had a big offensive effort with 24 points for Bigfork. He was 9 of 10 free-throw shooting in the final quarter.
He also finished with 11 assists.
Hes playing his best ball right now, Bigfork coach Sam Tudor said of Epperly, a 5-foot-10 senior guard.
Bigfork cashed in at the line, sinking 16 of 19 attempts to 8 of 14 shooting for Big Timber.
Colton Reichenbach helped out with 17 points and pulled down a team-high eight rebounds for the Vikings.
Ethan Bullock paced Big Timber with 16 points and Kell Schwers added 14.
Cant say enough about Big Timber, Tudor said. We finally settled down, fell into a grove a little bit (in the fourth quarter). Colton hit a big 3 to get us going again when it was tied at 45.
Bigfork advances to semifinal play tonight at 6:30 versus Poplar.
Big Timber falls to loser-out action at 9 a.m. against Three Forks.
It was good to have physical game like that, come out OK, healthy, Tudor said.
Big Timber 8 12 19 6 45
Bigfork 14 16 13 18 61
BIG TIMBER Ethan Bullock 16, Kell Schwers 14, Jacob Roberts 8, Blake Finn 5, Dawson Lavarell 2.
BIGFORK Anders Epperly 24, Colton Reichenbach 17, Clayton Reichenbach 7, Logan Gilliard 7, Randy Stultz 2, Levi Taylor 2, Luke Schmit 2.
Poplar 68, Three Forks 67, OT
BELGRADE Poplar erased a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter en route to an overtime victory over Three Forks.
Three Forks outscored Poplar 31-15 in the third quarter to take a 52-35 lead. But Poplar followed with a 26-point fourth quarter to tie it.
Poplar, making its first state tournament appearance since 1985, went on a 15-2 run in the fourth quarter during a 3-minute span.
Wilfred Lambert, who finished with 15 points, hit a 3 in overtime to give Poplar the lead for good and Kenny Smoker, who led all scorers with 22 points, hit one of two free throws with 7.8 seconds remaining to complete the scoring.
Darryl Joe tallied 17 points for Poplar and Wynn Main added 11.
Three Forks also had four players in double-digit scoring Colter Miller led with 19, Dustin Dalke had 15, Micaiah Hauser knocked down 14 and Corey Yency totaled 11.
Three Forks 16 5 31 9 6 67
Poplar 9 11 15 26 7 68
THREE FORKS Colter Miller 19, Dustin Dalke 15, Micaiah Hauser 14, Corey Yency 11, Bryce Olson 3, Zach Pitcher 3, Kaeson Long 2.
POPLAR Kenny Smoker 22, Darryl Joe 17, Wilfred Lambert 15, Wynn Main 11, Chris Colgan 3.
Other First-Round Games
Shelby 13 12 8 19 52
Colstrip 16 11 12 23 62
SHELBY Logan Leck 16,Tanner Parsons 16, Rhett Reynolds 11, Damon Irvin 6, Tucker Tustain 3.
COLSTRIP Kobee BigBack 29, Kellen BigHead 12, JT Bear 12, Bo Vocu 6, Caleb Wheatley 3.
Missoula Loyola 15 18 20 11 64
Rocky Boy 11 12 4 15 42
MISSOULA LOYOLA Cooper Waters 19, Charles Burns 13, Ryan Tirrell 10, Jack Lincoln 9, Liam Haffey 5, Jaden Job 3, Jacobc Hollenback 3, Nick Mitzel 2.
ROCKY BOY Wyatt Caplette 18, Frankie Bacon 10, Orin Arkinson 4, Sean Gibson 3, Jordan Tyner 3, Mac Sutherland 2, Sarinas Mithlo 2.
Class B State Basketball
Belgrade Special Events Centeer
6:30 p.m. Bigfork vs. Poplar
8 p.m. Colstrip vs. Missoula Loyola
9 a.m. Big Timber vs. Three Forks
10:30 a.m. Shelby vs. Rocky Boy
Noon Harlem vs. Forsyth
1:30 p.m. Florence vs. Three Forks
3:30 p.m. Columbus vs. Fairfield
5 p.m. Wolf Point vs. Missoula Loyola