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Cripe hits game-winner, Flathead wins in OT

by The Daily Inter Lake
| February 21, 2021 10:00 PM

Daily Inter Lake

HELENA – With his team up against it, Flathead’s Joston Cripe served up a helping of double-clutch.

The junior guard hit a 3-pointer to force overtime, then banked in another to beat the buzzer and give the Braves a 50-47 Western AA boys’ basketball win over Helena High Saturday.

Cripe finished with 17 points, including three 3-pointers. The Braves got another 12 points from forward Ethan VandenBosch and squared their season record at 6-6.

Cripe’s game-winner ended a frantic final 30 seconds of overtime, in which his three-point play had the Braves ahead 45-42, and a three from Helena’s Austin Zeiler tied the game at 47-all with under 10 seconds remaining.

Connor Phillips inbounded to Cripe, who drove quickly to the top of the Flathead circle and let fly. The ball caromed in and the Flathead cheering section spilled onto the gym floor.

“My main thought was just to put it in the hole,” Cripe told the Helena Independent-Record. “I didn’t want to stay here for another overtime.

“Joston hit some big shots for us at the end,” Flathead coach Dirk Johnsrud told the Inter Lake. “I’m just proud we could close a game out on the road. We still have a lot of work to do execution-wise, but I was happy with the win.”

Zeiler scored all of his five points in overtime for the Bengals (0-12) Evan Barber had 17 points to lead Helena.

The Bengals fought back from an early 13-2 deficit, and led 39-36 after two Barber free throws with 10 seconds left in regulation. This time Cripe got the ball on the right wing, crossed over his defender, faked him out of the way again and nailed the three to force OT.

It was his second three in the final 2:00 of regulation, and he added nine points in overtime.

“That was one of the best feelings on earth,” Cripe told the I-R. And I just want to thank my teammates for trusting me to take those shots.

“We went 2-0 this week. And that’s something we haven’t been able to do this season. That’s a huge step for us.”

Flathead’s next action is a home game Tuesday against crosstown rival Glacier, at 7:15 p.m.

Flathead 15 7 6 11 11 – 50

Helena 12 4 11 12 8 – 47

FLATHEAD – Ethan VandenBosch 5 1-1 12, Gabe Adams 4 0-0 8, Ezra Epperly 3 2-4 8, Joston Cripe 5 4-6 17, Luca Zoeller 2 0-0 5, Connor Phillips 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 7-11 50.