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Loggers foil Indians for a second time

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

From the tip-off, Libby dominated the court against Browning, locking down the Indians 72-47.

Historically, Browning has proven a tough opponent for Libby. Earlier this year, the Loggers eked out a 48-45 win on the Indian’s home turf. Going into the Jan. 30 game, Libby head coach Josh Bean worried Browning might come back with a vengeance.

While Bean said the Loggers could never afford to let up their guard against Indians, Libby broke with tradition translating an early lead into a runaway win.

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Junior Ryder Davis takes a shot against Browning Jan. 30. (Will Langhorne/The Western News)

After the game, shouts could be heard coming from the Logger locker room.

“The kids are pumped,” said Bean. “They played well and they should be pumped.”

The Loggers’ JV and freshman teams also secured wins against the Indians.

Juniors Ryder Davis and Caden Williams led the Logger squad with 16 and 14 points respectively.

The week before the Browning game, Davis had to leave the court on quarantine. Coming back to face the Indians, he said he focused on being an all-around valuable player.

“Get to the hoop, play defense, just do everything I can to support the team,” he said.

In the first quarter, the Loggers built momentum thanks to a series of fast breaks by Williams and senior Jay Beagle. Though the Indians are known for their run-and-gun strategy, Libby was able to turn the technique against them to rapidly get points on the board.

“We were just ready to roll from the start,” said Beagle. “We knew it was probably going to be a fast-paced game like that and we just took advantage of it.”

The Indians kept pressure on the Loggers with a zone press and a man defense. Having built up their experience playing against press heavy teams such as Ronan, Libby was able to break down the Indian’s defense with well-timed long passes.

Conversely, the Indians struggled to break through the Logger defense, failing to make a field goal inside of the three-point line. Libby closed out the first quarter 24-5.

In the final minutes of the half, the Indians regrouped and started to chip away at the Loggers’ lead. Libby wasn’t rebounding the ball as well as they had in the first quarter, which Bean said led to more fouls and easy shots.

“I thought we weathered it well, we calmed down, got a bucket right at the end of the quarter to go into halftime which is always a good momentum builder,” he said.

While the Indians outshot the Loggers in the second quarter, they still trailed 39-25 at the half. For the second half of the game, the Indians consistently trailed the Loggers by about 20 points.

“I thought our whole second half was solid,” said Bean. “They’d make a run and then we’d make a run back to try and keep our lead.”

The Loggers closed out the third quarter 51-31.

On Jan. 28, Libby defeated the Troy Trojans 60-20. That night, the Loggers celebrated seniors Beagle, Colton Halverson, Ryker McElmurry and Keilen Rausch as part of senior night.

Libby will go on to play Columbia Falls Feb. 6.