After a hard fight lost at the buzzer to Whitefish, 49-47, on Friday, the Libby High School boys basketball team blew past the Ronan Chiefs to take a 59-35 win Saturday.
Despite the final score Saturday, the Chiefs did not go down easily.
Ronan took a short-lived lead in the first minutes, but the Loggers quickly overcame it. Still, the Chiefs came within four and five points of Libby again early and late in the second quarter.
But in the second half, the Loggers created a spread too wide for Ronan to overcome, despite their efforts.
Ronan has a lot they can use to throw their opponents, Bean said. “And we got stirred up a little bit at times, but then I thought we did a nice job of calming ourselves and collecting ourselves — making the extra pass past the trap, and putting them in situations where they have to chase the ball.”
The Loggers also had to deal with Ronan senior Anthony Camel, who though he was coming off an injury still played a tough game Saturday.
“That guy can roll to the basket and score, or he can pop to the three point line and score, so it puts you in a really tough spot,” Bean said. “I thought our kids did a really nice job of defending them tonight and rebounding the ball.”
Libby had prepared for the press and for the traps everything they knew the Chiefs could throw at them, Bean said.
“The biggest thing is we converted. When we had opportunities, we converted opportunities all the way around,” Bean said.
Though the Chiefs gave Libby some trouble at points, such as early in the second quarter, the Loggers exerted control over the ball for most of the game.
Though the final score looked different Friday, Bean said Libby played well against Whitefish.
“We controlled a lot of that game for about three and a half quarters, and we played with great effort,” he said.
Though the Loggers faced a significant size disadvantage against the tall and physically built Bulldogs, they didn’t hold back, Bean said.
Bean noted seniors Kevin Barnes and Tim Goodman for their performance against Whitefish, getting in and battling with players who towered over even the 6 foot, 3-inch Barnes.
Libby actually lead Whitefish at halftime, and still had a seven-point advantage at the end of the third quarter, Bean said. But the Bulldogs whittled away that lead and pushed into the lead in the fourth quarter.
The Loggers trailed Whitefish 46-45 in the final minute.
“Ryan Goodman tipped an inbound pass, took it the distance, put us up by one with about 17 seconds left,” Bean said.
The Bulldogs got the ball to half court, and called a timeout, he said. They handed the ball to Bulldog senior Lee Walburn, who Bean called Whitefish’s best player.
Libby senior Ryggs Johnston tipped the ball away from Walburn, and there was a mad grab for the ball.
“We had two other guys plus Ryggs going after the ball, and it seemed like we had eight hands on that basketball,’ Bean said. “And I thought we were going to come up with it. All of a sudden, Lee comes up with it, and dribbles around to the right, pulls up, hits a three at the buzzer.”
It was an all-around effort, he said. Senior JJ Davis really put things together in the most recent games, moving well and getting to the basket instead of hanging back at the three-point line.
Sophomore Jay Beagle is doing a nice job at point guard, Bean said. “He has done a real nice job at the end of halfs and the end of quarters, of executing, getting us in our sets, running sets and ending quarters on a high note.”
And others, such as junior Keith Johnson are helping the team both offensively and defensively, he said. “Man, that kid does a lot of stuff for us.”
The Loggers played with lots of effort and enthusiasm and executed well both nights, Bean said.
“I was really happy with the way the boys played, and they did the same thing again tonight,” he said.
Friday, Dec. 14
Whitefish 49, Libby 47
Saturday, Dec. 15
Libby 59, Ronan 35
Libby: JJ Davis 6 points; Chandler Bower 4 points; Ryan Goodman 2 points, 2-2 FT; Ryggs Johnston 22 points, 11-12 FT; Jay Beagle 3 points; Caden Williams 2 points; Ryker McElmurry 2 points; Tim Goodman 2 points, 0-2 FT; Keith Johnson 12 points, 2-3 FT; Kevin Barnes 4 points, 2-2 T