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Libby repeats hot start in home gym

by Brad FuquaWestern News
| January 5, 2009 11:00 PM

For the second straight home game, the Libby High School girls basketball team burst out of the gate to force opponents into an immediate search for answers.

The Lady Loggers annihilated Kalispell Flathead through the opening eight minutes in a nonconference meeting before the holiday break. And on Saturday night in the team’s Northwestern A opener against Whitefish, Libby again flexed its muscle early to set the pace on the way to victory.

“The kids love playing in our gym and we’re going to try to go undefeated at home. I don’t know if we will or not because we have a tough schedule,” LHS coach Jim May said following his team’s 55-46 victory. “We came out with a lot of energy … it’s always nice to start fast.”

Libby trailed 6-4 more than 2 1/2 minutes into the game before lighting its offensive fuse. Over the rest of the quarter, the Loggers went on a 15-2 stretch. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Brittany Martin and Jackie Mee highlighted the run.

“I think in some respects we’re maybe more well-rounded than last year, even though we had more experience last year,” May said. “Sure, they’re going to key on Jackie … so the other kids need to get to the point where they get hungry because they should know there’s going to be more opportunities for them. And they took advantage of it.”

Mee tossed in a team-high 18 points but Libby also got double-digit performances from Brittany Martin with 14 and Jaime Gilden with 12. Even when the Whitefish defense disrupted Mee’s rhythm, Martin and Gilden usually filled the void.

“Brittany and Jaime play a lot of minutes and they deserve the points they get,” May said.

Those three also combined for 22 rebounds with Martin grabbing eight. Mee and Gilden each had seven boards.

Despite the quick start, the visitors fought back to within striking distance over the final three quarters. Although the Bulldogs never took the lead, they did cut their deficit down to six points with 1:36 remaining in the third quarter.

Whitefish senior Kate Klundt was all over the place with baskets, free throws, rebounds and assists.

“We talked about her a lot in practice; she likes to drive,” May said. “We didn’t want to put her on the free-throw line … but she rebounded like a monster.”

Klundt had an incredible 12 rebounds in the first half and finished the game with 19. She also scored a game-high 20 points.

“It’s easier to rebound when you don’t box out and we didn’t box out,” May said. “Their offensive rebounds were a big part of their offense and the next time we play them, we can’t let that happen.”

In the fourth, Libby was able to maintain a fairly safe lead in the seven- to nine-point range most of the way.

On Friday, the Lady Loggers posted a 50-30 victory on the road at Eureka.

Libby got off to a slow start with a 7-6 lead through the first quarter but poured it on in the second for a 20-10 halftime lead. From there, the Loggers continued to pull away to post the 20-point win.

“Whenever we go up there, it’s just a tough game,” May said. “We just gradually pulled away and overall I was pretty pleased.”

Martin netted 16 to lead LHS. Mee scored 11 and Gilden added 10. Mariah Newell led the home team with 14 points and Auna Lawler scored 12.

It Was Over When …

Libby’s Jackie Mee sank a pair of free throws with 54 seconds remaining. The foul shots gave the Lady Loggers an insurmountable nine-point lead.

Game Ball

Libby senior Brittany Martin played well all-around by hitting 4-of-9 field goals – one of those a 3-pointer. She made 5-of-9 free throws, most of those in the fourth quarter when Whitefish was trying to rally. Martin also grabbed seven rebounds.

Stat of the Game

Whitefish senior Kate Klundt grabbed a dozen boards in the first half to keep her team within striking distance. She finished the game with 19 rebounds.

Loggers 55, Bulldogs 46

Saturday at Libby

Whitefish (46)

Slaybaugh 3 0-0 7, Powell 4 0-1 8, Klundt 9 2-2 20, Nagler 1 0-0 2, Donovan 0 0-0 0, Cullen 1 0-0 2, Oliveira 2 0-0 4, Fauntleroy 1 0-0 2, Melcer 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 2-3 46.

Libby (55)

Cernick 1 3-6 5, Luscher 1 0-0 2, B. Martin 4 5-9 14, Gilden 5 2-5 12, Mee 6 5-6 18, Best 2 0-0 4, Shaw 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 15-26 55.

Three-Pointers–Whitefish 2 (Slaybaugh 2), Libby 2 (B. Martin, Mee). Rebounds–Whitefish 41 (Klundt 19), Libby 30 (Gilden 8). Assists–Whitefish 12 (Klundt 5), Libby 10 (Mee 3). Total Fouls–Whitefish 23, Libby 9. Fouled Out–Powell, Donovan. Technical Fouls–None.

Loggers 50, Lions 30

Friday at Eureka

Libby (50)

Cernick 2, Luscher 7, Martin 16, Gilden 10, Best 2, Mee 11, Shaw 2.

Eureka (30)

West 2, Lawler 12, Vogelman 2, Newell 14.