The Libby High School girls basketball team has senior Jayden Winslow back playing, but they still have some work to do in their final stretch to the postseason as they come away from a 33-8 win over Troy last Thursday to face a 48-23 loss to Browning Saturday.
Winslow was in her second game back Saturday, after a practice-related injury just after winter break took her out of play. Despite still getting back into her groove, Winslow once again was leading the way in scoring for Libby, with both Winslow and senior Sammee Bradeen putting up 10 points each.
Libby Head Coach Wally Winslow said that despite the loss, these last games of the season are a valuable time for the team to reconnect with their team dynamic now that they have Jayden Winslow back.
Health was the number one concern when deciding when to put Jayden Winslow back in playing, Coach Winslow said.
But the team is also looking at only a handful of games left to play before they are in the postseason, and he didn’t want to be trying to get the team back acclimated to playing together in the midst of tournament time.
“There was an adjustment period after Jayden left, and now there’ll be an adjustment period having her back in again. It will be different for a while,” he said.
Winslow said that, at this point in the season, they are already playing for the tournament, and the pressure is on. Yet, he also anticipates the Lady Loggers will be ready to handle that pressure.
“They’re mature kids that understand the end goal,” he said.
While he expects them to be unhappy about how the Browning game went, he also knows they will see it for the small part of the bigger picture, he said. “They’re also mature and mentally tough to understand that, the big picture, we have things we have to deal with in the next couple of weeks to get ready for the tournament.”
Against Browning, Winslow said he felt his players did well defensively. Keeping a team that averages around 60 points under 50 is no small accomplishment.
But, the Lady Loggers are still struggling on the offense.
“Really what it’s coming down to is we have to find a way to get the ball in the hole,” he said.
From the second quarter to the end of the game, the Lady Indians locked down Jayden Winslow using a diamond-and-one defense, Coach Winslow said.
Though Winslow was able to still make those 10 points, the Lady Loggers weren’t able to make up the difference without her.
“We were doing some OK things — not great, but OK things — early first quarter,” Coach Winslow said. “But then second quarter to the end of the game, that kind of got us off-rhythm for sure.”
He said that getting the team to where they need to be in scoring is on himself and the rest of the coaching staff. He made a point of how much success in basketball is dependent on everyone — even managers and the students who shoot video — doing their part.
“This is a consummate team game, basketball. It’s really amazing how much you rely on everybody involved in the program,” he said.
Ultimately, Browning can be beaten, Winslow said. But the Lady Loggers will have to play consistently-well for all 32 minutes.
“You can’t have a lull. You have to be consistent in everything that you do — and that’s doable,” he said. “It’s a big challenge, a big step forward, but if we have plans to get to the state tournament, we’re going to have to beat teams like Browning.”
The Lady Loggers played Columbia falls last night at home, and play at Frenchtown tomorrow at 5:30 p.m.
Libby 33, Troy 8
L: 12 7 4 10 - 33
T: 0 4 4 0 - 8
Libby: Syd Gier 4 points; Alli Collins 6 points, 3-4 FT; Jayden Winslow 2 points; Sammee Bradeen 8 points; McKenzie Proffitt 12 points; Elise Erickson 1 points, 1-2 FT;
Troy: Annie Day 2 points; Katelynn Tallmadge 2 points; Isabelle Ramirez 2 points; Emma Johnson 2 points.
Browning 48, Libby 23
L: 13 8 10 17 - 48
Browning: 7 1 5 10 - 23
Libby: Alli Collins 1 points, 1-4 FT; Jayden Winslow 10 points; Sammee Bradeen 10 points, 2-2 FT; McKenzie Proffitt 2 points, 2-4 FT.