The Libby High School girls basketball team took a 45-28 loss at Ronan Friday, only to return home for a 35-24 win over Whitefish on Saturday.
Against the Lady Bulldogs, the Lady Loggers established an early lead built on free throws, as the team went 7-for-9 in the first quarter.
Whitefish responded to baskets by Libby senior Samantha Miller and junior McKenzie Proffitt with two of their own, staying within four points of Libby midway through the second quarter.
But the Lady Bulldogs got themselves in foul trouble again, and with senior Alli Collins hitting 4-for-4, Libby began to expand their lead.
In the final minute of the half, sophomore Taylor Holm put in a layup that left Whitefish trailing 20-8.
The Lady Loggers continued to outscore the Lady Bulldogs in the third quarter, adding another five points before Whitefish was able to score midway through the quarter.
Heading into the final quarter, Collins started things out with a layup that landed her at the free throw line, adding another three points for Libby.
The Lady Bulldogs made a final push about midway into the quarter, scoring eight points in a single minute of play, but even after their run they still lagged back 31-20 from the Lady Loggers.
Collins hit two more perfect free throws — she went 9-for-13 for the night — and senior Emma Gruber sealed the victory with one final drive down the court that left the Lady Bulldogs trailing in her wake as she cruised in for a final layup.
Libby Head Coach Wally Winslow said he thinks his team performed well against Whitefish. He complimented Gruber for her usual efforts to gain and keep control of the ball.
But he noted that the team performed well in general. On guard, Gruber, Collins, senior Lynsey Walker, junior Syd Gier and senior Samantha Miller all did well getting ahold of the ball.
“And then our big girls cleaned up stuff on the inside,” he said.
Libby did very well with rebounding, Winslow said. “With McKenzie (Proffitt) and (senior) Sammee Bradeen, they just cleaned up a lot of stuff.”
While players such as Collins and Gruber had stand-out moments during the Whitefish game, the effort was noticeably well-balanced across the team.
Winslow said he is pleased with the performance by Libby.
“Something that we talked about prior to this game was having some good energy, and I thought, program-wide, we had better energy today than we’ve had in a while,” he said.
Regarding ongoing improvements and excellence in shooting, Winslow said that repetition in practice plays a key role. When players put in the time off the court, it shows in their performance.
But Whitefish is unlikely to offer as much of a challenge as Browning, who Libby faces this weekend at home.
“Well, it’s a different cat, that’s for sure,” Winslow acknowledged.
Coming off the loss to Ronan and with the team still uncertain whether they will have high-scoring senior Jayden Winslow back before the Browning game, Winslow said that the Lady Loggers have to remain focused on what they can control.
“The thing that you take out of these kinds of games is, How did you prepare? How much energy did you have? What can you bring to the table?” he said. “What the other team brings, you’re not really in a lot of control of that.”
The better they prepare, the better their chances for success, he said. “And whether that’s enough to win the game or not, that’s to be determined.”
Still, a win such as the Whitefish game gives them an opportunity to reflect on the things they brought to the game that made a difference, he said -- including the energy the Lady Loggers came at the Lady Bulldogs with.
“We can definitely build off of this in the way we prepared for the game and the energy we brought to the court from our end of it,” he said. “And that’s something we can now say, ‘You did it once; we expect it all the time.’”
The Lady Loggers will play next at home where they will face the Lady Trojans Thursday at 5:45 p.m. They will play at home again on Saturday, when they host Browning in the Ralph Tate Memorial Gym, with girls varsity starting at 4 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 19
Ronan 45, Libby 28
R: 14 7 11 13 - 45
L: 4 5 12 7 - 28
Ronan: Lexi Wirz 2 points; Trana Ulutoa 12 points; Jaeliegh Gatch 6 points; Madison Clairmont 5 points, 0-2 FT; Megan Clairmont 7 points, 0-1 FT; Ari Burke 2 points; Jaylea Lunceford 11 points, 3-4 FT
Libby: Alli Collins 5 points, 1-2 FT; Emma Gruber 1 point, 1-4 FT; Samantha Miller 3 points; Sammee Bradeen 13 points, 4-6 FT; McKenzie Proffitt 4 points; Taylor Holm 2 points
Saturday, Jan. 13
Libby 35, Whitefish 24,
L: 7 13 8 7 - 35
W: 4 4 6 10 - 24
Libby: Alli Collins 15 points, 9-13 FT; Emma Gruber 5 points, 3-4 FT; Samantha Miller 6 points, 2-2 FT; Sammee Bradeen 4 points, 2-4 FT; McKenzie Proffitt 3 points, 1-5 FT; Taylor Holm 2 points
Kaiah Moore 2 points; Hope Brown 2 points; Claire Carloss 6 points; Jasmine Matern 4 points; Peyton Kastella 2 points; Jadi Walburn 2 points, 2-2 FT; Mikenna Ells 2 points; Marlee Bender 4 points, 2-2 FT