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Lady Loggers top Troy in cross-county matchup

The Western News | February 2, 2021 7:00 AM

The Lady Loggers proved themselves the reigning basketball queens of the lower Kootenai by defeating the Lady Trojans 51-29 last week.

The Jan. 28 game gave Libby its first win of the year. For Troy, the match-up was one of the squad’s first since returning from a mid-season interruption; a team-wide coronavirus quarantine took the Lady Trojans off the courts earlier this month.

Seniors Kayley Svendsbye and Elise Erickson led the Lady Loggers on the scoreboard with 13 and 11 points respectively. Troy’s top scorers were sophomore Izzy Tunison, who racked up 12 points, and Elaine Folkerts, who secured eight points.

Libby and Troy remained neck and neck at the start of the game, closing out the first quarter 10-6 for the Lady Loggers. Libby coach Jackie DeShazer attributed the slow start to a series of easy shots her squad missed.

The second quarter opened in a defensive slog. For the first three minutes, neither team was able to sink a basket.

With five minutes left in the half, both teams suddenly picked up steam. Libby senior Faith Vaught landed a three-pointer. Tunison responded with two three-pointers of her own. Svendsbye fired back with another two three-pointers. In a dizzying series of fast-paced plays, the score shot up to 23-19 with the Loggers leading as the teams headed into the second half.

DeShazer said the uptick in tempo in the second quarter was due in part to the Lady Loggers’ press defense. ”

Troy head coach Tony Smith said the Lady Trojans were able to keep pace with the Loggers by shooting well from the perimeter. Tunison attributed the Trojans success in the second quarter to the momentum they were able to build.

“That’s when we play our best, when we get that momentum going,” she said.

Going into the third quarter, the Libby squad maintained the pace they built in the first half. Erickson said the spirit in the locker room between halves pushed the Lady Loggers to keep up the pressure.

“Just talking to each other and encouraging each other that, ‘we’re not going to let this one go, we can get this,’” she said. “We just really give each other confidence.”

Despite the success they saw in the first half, Troy faltered in the second. Smith said the Lady Trojans began to fall behind when Libby switched from a zone to man defense.

“I think Coach DeShazer made a great adjustment in the second half and it really threw us off our rhythm,” he said.

Having lost a chunk of their season to the quarantine, the Lady Trojans have struggled to make up for lost practice time. Now that the team is in the thick of their season, Smith said they are getting one day of practice a week.

“That’s really a hard adjustment,” he said.

Libby’s ball-handling skills, which DeShazer said have improved since the start of the season, allowed the Lady Loggers to keep pressure on Troy. The third quarter closed out with a score of 39-21 for Libby. During the fourth quarter, the Lady Loggers spaced out their lead to bring up the final score.

As part of senior night celebrations, the Lady Loggers honored Svendsbye, Erickson, Vaught, Ruby Martin, Ivy Pierce, Gabby Fantozzi and Olivia Gilliam-Smith.