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Mistakes compound for Libby in rematch with Browning

| February 11, 2022 7:00 AM

Against really good squads like the Browning Indians, opponents don’t have a lot of room for mistakes. Falling behind at any stretch of the game could prove costly.

The Libby Loggers learned that the hard way on Feb. 5 when they took on the Indians on the road. Earlier in the season, the Loggers defeated the Indians 76-72 in a nailbiter in Libby.

There would be no repeat in Browning.

In a conference matchup between No. 3 Libby and No. 1 Browning the Indians took the win with a final score of 70-54. The defeat leaves Libby at 5-4 in conference action and 11-5 overall.

The Indians jumped off to a quick 6-0 lead in the first quarter. The Loggers regrouped and matched them point for point after that. But the quarter ended with Browning leading 20-14.

In the second quarter, Libby’s offense hit a wall.

“We started the quarter well. We hit some shots,” said Libby coach Josh Bean. “And then our shots quit falling.”

The Indians added another six onto their six-point lead and the teams went in at halftime with Browning leading 38-26.

A 12-point lead is not insurmountable, “but that leaves very little room for mistakes,” Bean said.

The third quarter saw the Loggers chop into the Indians’ lead. With their last cold spell behind them, the Loggers hit a few shots at the quarter’s end. The Indians’ lead was whittled down to nine points.

The early stages of the fourth quarter saw Libby winnow Browning’s lead even further, down to seven points. But once again, the Loggers hit a stretch where they struggled to knock down shots.

From then on, it was the Indians’ ballgame. Browning increased their lead and by the final horn the Indians celebrated a hard-fought win over the Loggers.

“Against Browning, you have to be able to match shots,” Bean said. “Browning is going to score points. Unfortunately, we had a couple of stretches where we had trouble knocking down shots.”

Libby saw its outstanding run of foul shooting continue in the game. They hit a sizzling 83 percent, converting 15 of 18 from the charity stripe. The Indians went 11-21 from the free throw line.

Bean said he saw room for improvement for the Loggers, particularly with rebounding.

“I wasn’t pleased with our rebounding,” he said. “You can’t give those guys two, three, sometimes four shots at the basket.”

He complimented seniors T.J. Andersen, who led the team in scoring with 24 points, and Caden Williams for keeping the Loggers competitive.

“[Andersen] kept us in the game,” Bean said. “His scoring consistency gave us a chance. He always seems to play well in Browning.”

As for Williams, Bean described him as a “warrior.”

He played the whole game and battled ‘til the end,” Bean said. “He gets after it.”

Williams ended the game with 17 points.

The Loggers wrap up their regular season this week with two home games. On Feb. 10, they face their conference foe, the Whitefish Bulldogs. On Feb. 11, they tip off against the Class B Eureka Lions in nonconference action.

Browning 20 18 15 17 - 70

Libby 14 12 18 10 - 54