Monday, April 22, 2024

Libby girls win battle at foul line vs. Polson

by Brad FuquaWestern News
| January 26, 2009 11:00 PM

The final stats from the free-throw line tell the story.

Playing a key Northwestern A game at Libby on Saturday, Polson finished with a better shooting percentage and three more field goals than the Lady Loggers. But at the foul line, Libby made 17-of-23 free throws compared to a 5-of-14 effort out of the Pirates. It all added up to a 38-31 victory for the Loggers.

“Every game we win now is big and it makes that Columbia Falls loss a little worse,” LHS coach Jim May said. “We’re 3-1 right now with this group of kids and we’ve got to come back on Monday and keep our noses to the grindstone. We’re excited about where we’re at so far.”

Columbia Falls and Bigfork are both unbeaten in the conference with the Loggers sitting in third with one loss.

Libby never trailed the Pirates but did need some big foul shots late in the fourth to hang on to the lead. The Loggers appeared to put the game away with 3:53 left after back-to-back buckets by Jaime Gilden – both off passes from Brittany Martin.

“Those were two big passes in to Jaime Gilden and she canned them, boy,” May said.

Still, Polson rallied with a 5-0 run to pull to within 34-31 with 46 seconds remaining. Sophomore Sierra Pete sparked the comeback with a steal and layup at 3:11 and then sophomore Breanne Kelley hit a jumper a minute later to take advantage of Libby miscues.

“We didn’t take real good care of the ball the last two minutes. When they get a steal and a layup as part of their comeback, that’s real disheartening,” May said. “We need to make sure we don’t do that. But Jackie (Mee) and Brittany down the stretch made their free throws.”

Mee converted on four straight free throws in the final 29 seconds – both in 1-and-1 situations. She also blocked a shot in the lane from Pete with 24 seconds left to crush Polson’s hopes.

“Our defense, if all we have to do is score 32 points to win a game, then we’re pretty happy,” May said.

After a close first quarter, the Loggers started to get some breathing room in the second. Libby outscored the visitors, 15-6, during that frame to take a 10-point advantage in at the break. Two of the most notable plays in the second involved Martin. She hit the game’s only 3-pointer at 6:30 and then later scored underneath on a pretty play after receiving a pass from Gilden at 3:05.

The free throws also started to add up after Libby went into the bonus 26 seconds into the second quarter. By halftime, the Loggers had made 9-of-12 free throws compared to 0-for-4 by Polson.

Libby continued its momentum into the third quarter and took its biggest lead at 13 at the 6:11 mark on two free throws by Martin. Polson found a way to stay alive, however, to set up the thrilling fourth quarter.

Mee finished with 14 points on three baskets and 8-of-10 free throws. Martin added 11 points and a team-high six rebounds and five steals. Gilden had 10 points and four steals.

Kelley came off the bench to lead Polson with 11 points.

The Lady Loggers (3-1, 6-3) head to Glacier on Thursday with the start time scheduled for 6 p.m. Libby will be back at Ralph Tate Gymnasium on Saturday with a 4:30 meeting against Bigfork.

It Was Over When …

Libby’s Jackie Mee sank two free throws with 29 seconds left for a 36-31 lead and then on the other end, blocked Sierra Pete’s drive in the lane.

Game Ball

Loggers senior Brittany Martin scored 11 points and grabbed a team-high five rebounds – all while playing less than 100 percent after fighting illness.

Stat of the Game

Free throws were the difference. Libby made 17-of-23 while Polson sank 5-of-14. That 12-point differential  played big in Libby’s seven-point win.

Loggers 38, Pirates 31

Saturday at Libby

Polson (31)

James 2 1-1 5, Woods 0 0-2 0, Davey 0 0-0 0, Newton 2 3-5 7, Hislop 2 0-0 4, Havlovick 0 0-0 0, Pete 1 0-2 2, Benson 1 0-2 2, Kelley 5 1-2 11. Totals 13 5-14 31.

Libby (38)

Cernick 1 0-0 2, Luscher 0 0-1 0, B. Martin 3 4-4 11, Gilden 3 4-5 10, Mee 3 8-10 14, A. Martin 0 0-1 0, Best 0 1-2 1. Totals 10 17-23 38.

Three-Pointers–Libby 1 (B. Martin). Rebounds–Polson 20 (Newton 5), Libby 21 (B. Martin 6). Assists–Polson 8 (Newton 4), Libby 10 (Gilden 3, A. Martin 3). Total Fouls–Polson 20, Libby 17. Technical Fouls–Gilden.