Toby Clinton

Toby Clinton goes up for a layup during Richey-Lambert's victory over Plentywood in the first round.

Despite a loss in the semifinal round, the Richey-Lambert boy’s basketball team secured a spot in the divisional tournament.

The Fusion lost to No. 1 seed Froid/Med. Lake 63-46 on Thursday, Feb. 18, so while the Fusion won’t be able to finish in first or second place, they will be able to extend their season.

The key to doing so was getting a win in the first round of the tournament, and Richey-Lambert did just that, defeating Plentywood 49-41 on Tuesday, Feb. 16.

It wasn’t too tough of a game for the Fusion, as they were able to hold a near-double-digit lead in parts of the game, but the fourth quarter was where things started to get interesting.

Plentywood had trouble scoring all game, not making many three-point attempts and having trouble getting into the lane, but in the fourth quarter, the Wildcats started to get into a rhythm.

Richey-Lambert’s lead was never in any serious jeopardy, but Plentywood kept it close enough to where a quick run could impact the final score.

“I just think that they have weapons for sure, and they hit some shots… we just had to really buckle down and make sure we got the rebound,” said Fusion head coach Kara Triplett.

The Fusion were able to quell the run from Plentywood and keep the lead for the win.

Richey-Lambert’s defense really did well, especially in the first half, holding Plentywood to five first-quarter points and eight second-quarter points.

Triplett said the team knew that they were able to put some pressure on Plentywood defensively.

Toby Clinton led the Fusion with 16 points, including three three-pointers, and Caleb Senner and Grady Gonsioroski also finished in double-figures, with 14 and 11 points, respectively.

Wyatt Robbins added five points, and Layne Herman added three points.

Triplett said that kind of scoring depth is important, and she added that the Fusion were able to get some loose balls and turn those into points throughout the game as well.

After defeating Plentywood, the worst the Fusion could do is finish as the four seed, and the best they could do is win the District title.

No matter what, though, they punched a ticket to advance to the Divisional, as the top five teams move on.

Despite losing by 17 points to Froid/Med. Lake Thursday, Richey-Lambert was able to hang with the Redhawks and keep the game close for a while.

After the first quarter, the teams were tied 13-13, with the Fusion closing the quarter out nicely after trailing 7-0 to start the game. Richey-Lambert made three three-pointers in the first quarter to stay with the Redhawks.

Froid/Med. Lake pulled away a bit in the second quarter, scoring 16 points compared to Richey-Lambert’s three to take a 29-16 lead into halftime.

The Fusion bounced back with a big third quarter, scoring 17 points compared to the Redhawks’ 12 to trail just 41-33 heading into the fourth. Senner had six points in the third, Clinton scored five points and Gonsioroski scored four to bring the Fusion closer.

Froid/Med. Lake, though, saved its best quarter for last, scoring 22 points in the fourth.

Richey-Lambert still looked good in the loss and has the chance to bounce back in the third-place game.

On Saturday (Feb. 20), the Fusion take on Fairview, the winner taking third place and the loser taking fourth place.

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