The Libby High School girls basketball team took the lead early against Thompson Falls Saturday, and denied every push back by the Lady Hawks.
Libby Head Coach Wally Winslow said he felt the game was a good start for the season.
“First game out, I thought we did some really good things,” he said.
Winslow said he was pleased with the intensity of the Libby defense, including from senior Jayden Winslow, who also led the Lady Logger offense with 22 points.
“We did some things defensively that I was hoping we could do. We got some early touches and tips on some passes,” he said. “Jayden made some good plays defensively in the open court.”
Winslow said he was pleased with where the energy and enthusiasm of the team was from the start of the game.
“Sometimes you start, you’re passive or a little nervous, but we came out ready to go, so that was encouraging — something to build on for sure,” he said.
The team capitalized on their maturity both as players and their familiarity with one another.
“Oh, it’s invaluable, that familiarity,” Winslow said. “This group of girls has spent a lot of time together playing basketball.”
Even though Winslow led Libby’s scoring, when the Lady Hawks attempted to shut her down, her team was ready.
“You know, any time you have depth on your team, more than one person that can make a play, you’re tougher to defend,” he said. “And sometimes, in a game, a couple players won’t be playing their best, and then you can bring somebody else in for them who might be having a better day. So that is invaluable, and that’s something that we’re trying to develop.”
Fellow seniors Alli Collins and Emma Gruber had a number of plays where they broke away from the Thompson Falls defense to tear down court with the ball.
“They guarded (Jayden) man-to-man, put everybody else on zone, and so I thought we responded pretty well to that — I thought Jayden responded really well,” Winslow said.
Despite the pressure, Winslow kept her cool.
“I thought she stayed the course and the other girls ran some good things to help her out. So, that’s a good sign of maturity as well,” he said.
Saturday was also a chance to get newer players court time.
Winslow said that he sent sophomore Taylor Holm in during the second quarter, and she came back out a little shaken. “That was her first varsity minutes ever.”
When she went back in at the end of the game, she was able to leave the jitters behind, even scoring the last two points of the game for Libby in the final seconds.
“So that’s the reason that we try to get them in, so they get over being terrified, and just understand it’s just a basketball game,” he said. “Whether you’re playing C team or JV or varsity, you know, trust your teammates and trust yourself that you’re going to do OK.”
Winslow said he was excited for the season before play ever started, and feels no less so after the first game.
“I was excited before we ever got started, because I knew the quality of kids that we have,” he said. “Their basketball ability, their athleticism, their citizenship, their academics: it’s a quality group of kids.”
The Lady Loggers play next at the University of Montana in the Tip Off Tournament Friday and Saturday. Their next home game is Saturday, Dec. 15, against Ronan at 4 p.m. in the Ralph Tate Memorial Gym.
Saturday, Dec. 1
Libby 51, Thompson Falls 32
L: 11 12 12 16 - 51
TF: 6 8 5 13 - 32
Libby: Syd Gier 2 points; Alli Collins 12 points, 7-10 FT; Emma Gruber 4 points; Jayden Winslow 22 points, 4-9 FT; Sammee Bradeen 4 points, 0-1 FT; McKenzie Proffitt 5 points, 1-5 FT; Taylor Holm 2 points
Thompson Falls: Trinity Godfrey 1 points, 1-4 FT; Maya Stiles 6 points, 0-2 FT; Sarah Detlaff 1 points, 1-2 FT; Riley Wilson 2 points; Faith Fields 4 points, 2-2 FT; Jody Detlaff 6 points; Megan Baxter 12 points, 6-10 FT