Hot Spring boys ride hot playoff streak

Feb. 9 — It’s always good to end the season on a high, especially if you’re heading into playoff territory.

The Hot Springs boys followed that axiom to the letter last week with a trifecta.

They opened their week last Tuesday with a canceled co-vid catch-up match against Noxon and dealt them 69-38. Next up was Charlo, whom they dispatched 72-63 in a crucial Western 14C game for the conference standings. The Savage Heat wrapped up their busy week last Saturday with a 78-50 win over the Two River Eagle Eagles.

Tuesday’s game at Noxon was part of a large-scale shakeup of Noxon’s schedule that had a domino effect on much of the conference.

When both teams were finally able to play on the Red Devils home turf, they got off to a flying start thanks to nine first-quarter points scored by Hot Springs senior guard Jack McAllister. At the end of the first quarter, the Savage Heat led 17-10.

Hot Springs then got six points apiece from senior forward Kyle Lawson and junior forward Garth Parker as they extended their lead to 39-20 at halftime.

The second half was more or less the same as Lawson scored half a dozen points in the third quarter and the Savage Heat found themselves with a 52-30 lead with a quarter to go.

The reserves played the most in the fourth quarter which saw the Savage Heat beat Noxon 17-8 to wrap up the win.

Lawson led all scorers with 17 points, while teammates McAllister and Quincy Styles-DePoe had 16 and 14 points, respectively.

Next up for Hot Springs was the conference matchup with Charlo in what became a battle for second place. The Savage Heat entered the game with a 5-3 Western 14C record, while Charlo started the game 6-2.

At stake was a second-place shot and the number two seed in the upcoming district tournament. St. Regis clinched the top seed with a 10-0 record last week.

Against the Vikings, Hot Springs came out ready for a dogfight and they got what they expected. The Savage Heat managed to take a 17-15 lead late in the first quarter behind a quartet of players who would end up scoring in double figures for the game, led by McAllister.

After a tough and scrappy battle in the second quarter, Hot Springs had managed to build a narrow 38-32 lead heading into intermission.

Charlo, who got a game-high 30 points from Keaton Piedalue, outscored his guests by five points, 13-8, in the third period to erase the deficit and take a 45-44 lead with eight minutes left.

The Heat lit the fire and rallied to a 26-18 advantage in the fourth quarter as they picked up the win and improved their conference record to 6-3, the same mark Charlo posted.

McAllister led Hot Springs with 22 points and had a double-digit assist from Parker, who had 17 points, Lawson with 13 and 10 from junior forward Nathan Lawhead.

The victory moved the Heat to 9-4 overall this season, while Charlo fell to 9-7.

Hot Springs capped off its busy week Saturday with a visit to Two Eagle River in Pablo and wrapped it up in style with a 28-point win over the Eagles.

The Savage Heat took a 23-13 first quarter lead thanks in large part to 12 points from Parker, who helped the Heat control the boards at both ends of the field. Parker added eight more points to his total in the second quarter as Hot Springs opened up a 43-23 halftime lead.

Parker added five more points in the third stanza on his way to a game-high and season-best 31 points for the game. Lawhead with 15 and McAllister with 14 also scored in double figures for the Heat.

Nate Gates scored 17 points to lead Two Eagle River.

The win improved Hot Springs’ overall record to 10-4. Next up for the Savage Heat is another trio of games, starting tonight (Tuesday, Feb. 8) at home against Plains. They will then host Drummond on Friday night before heading to Seeley for a game with the Blackhawks. These three games are non-conference.

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