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Tigers roar in 14C basketball win over Charlo

Jan. 24—It started out as a great week for the St. Regis High boys basketball team. It ended with a narrow loss that further jumbled the regular season Montana District 14C basketball title chase, leaving it a three-team battle for the top.

The Tigers opened the week with a 61-53 road win over Charlo in a make-up game that was postponed the week before due to Mother Nature's heavy duty winter storm.

That win put St. Regis atop a three-way conference melee that in addition to Charlo and St. Regis included upstart Two Eagle River.

At that point, the Tigers were the lone remaining unbeaten team in conference play.

In between contests with Charlo and Two Eagle, the boys traveled to Noxon and blasted the Red Devils 73-57.

In that game, St. Regis took a 15-12 lead after the first quarter of play, then outscored the host Red Devils 23-13 in the second quarter on their way to a 38-25 halftime lead.

With Pruitt and Lulis leading the way, the Tigers upped their advantage to 58-40 after three quarters of play. They then traded baskets with Noxon the rest of the way en route to the relatively comfortable win.

Saturday night Two Eagle came to town and squeaked out a 45-43 win that left all three teams with one loss as the regular season rapidly approaches its conclusion with the District tournament looming on the horizon.

Tuesday night in Charlo, the visiting Tigers roared out to a 21-3 lead after the first quarter of play, with senior standout John Pruitt once again leading the charge.

But Charlo, which is familiar with conference crown pursuits with St. Regis, bounced back in the second quarter, outscoring St. Regis 20-3 behind seniors Hayden Hollow and 6-5 Wesley Anderson to grab a 30-24 halftime edge.

St. Regis came out after the halftime intermission and knotted the game at 46-each with one quarter to play.

The tenacious Tigers' defense then clamped a lid on the Viking basket in the final eight minutes of regulation as they outscored the Vikings 15-7 to secure the eight-point victory.

Pruitt scored a game-best 30 points for the Tigers, who with the victory improved their conference record to 3-0 and their season record to 8-2. St. Regis teammates Hunter Stolla and freshman guard Conner Lulis scored 10 apiece for the Tigers.

Charlo fell to 1-1 in 14C play and 5-4 overall with the loss in what for them was a four-game week, due in part to weather cancellations.

Anderson and Hollow scored 16 points apiece for the Vikings.

Saturday night in St. Regis, the Tigers engaged in a down-to-the-wire finish with Two Eagle River, which came into the game with a 1-1 conference record and a 6-3 overall mark.

The home-standing Tigers emerged from a frenetic first quarter with a razor thin 9-8 lead in what was a back-and-forth, defense dominated first half. The two teams battled to a 7-7 standoff in the second quarter, leaving St. Regis with a 16-15 halftime lead, a remarkably low point tally for two high-octane offenses.

The Tigers, with Pruitt doing his usual all-over-the-court thing and Lulis directing traffic, appeared to take control in the third quarter when they outscored Two Eagle 18-12, giving them a 34-27 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

But the Eagles whittled away at the St. Regis lead in what was a bi-partisan turnover effort, and tied the game with 2:01 to play when Jabez Madplume sank a pair of free throws, the first one knotting the game at 40-40, the second giving the Eagles a one-point, 41-40 lead.

Just minutes earlier, Pruitt appeared to give the Tigers a potentially insurmountable lead when he grabbed a rebound under the TER basket, then dribbled the length of the court for a lay-up that gave the Tigers a 40-34 advantage.

But the turnover monster reared its ugly head after that as both teams lost control of the ball in the midst of what became a game-tying and winning rally by the Eagles.

They traded baskets and free throw attempts the rest of the way as Two Eagle pulled away for the four-point victory.

Pruitt scored 13 points to lead the Tigers, who also got 12 from Lulis.

Madplume's 13 points paced Two Eagles, which also received 11 points from Talon Addison.

St. Regis takes on the Frenchtown JV tonight (Jan 23), then journeys to Hot Springs for another 14C conference clash with the Savage Heat Thursday evening (Jan 25).

Two Eagle Rivers hosts Heart Butte this Tuesday, then travels to nearby Charlo for a crucial 14C game versus Charlo.

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