The Libby High School girls basketball team suffered double losses at the end of last week, falling 62-41 to Columbia Falls on Thursday, but coming up only three points short, 33-30, Saturday against Frenchtown.
Against the long-armed defense from the Columbia Falls Wildkats, the Lady Loggers had 30 turnovers during the course of the night.
Libby Head Coach Wally Winslow said his players handled the pressure from Columbia Falls better away than they had at home. Yet, while they handled it well early in their possessions, they faced frustration when they couldn’t keep that going.
Winslow said turnovers and rebounding are something to be even more aware of against the Wildkats.
“That’s the focus every game, but it’s especially important against Columbia Falls, because they force you into turnovers,” he said. “And they rebound very hard, so you really have to step up your game.”
Libby went into Thursday night with that on their minds, he said. And while they weren’t as successful as they wanted to be, the Lady Loggers saw that they had taken steps in the right direction, he said.
“We got the ball in some spots that we like, and we competed pretty hard, which is a good sign,” Winslow said. The Wildkats have depth though, and were able to pull in several players off the bench who performed well.
“That was probably the biggest factor in the game,” he said.
Libby still has work to do on consistency, Winslow said.
“You can’t just play well in stretches to beat good teams,” he said. “You can’t play well for two minutes and play bad for two minutes, because at the end of those two minutes, it all breaks down.”
On offense, the Lady Loggers got some of their goals accomplished, spreading out the tough Columbia Falls zone defense.
With the Wildkats’ length, openings can be tight and hard to find, Winslow said.
“We got some people in some places that allowed us to move the defense into some uncomfortable positions,” he said.
Comparing the orchestrated break-down of the defense to moves in a chess game, Winslow said the girls executed well, thinking several steps ahead and getting the Wildkats defenders out of position so they could make their shots.
With only two games remaining before the Divisional Tournament Feb. 21-23, Winslow said he feels the Lady Loggers are still showing improvement and demonstrating understanding of concepts they have been working on.
Though he didn’t have the stats in front of him to confirm, Winslow said that Thursday’s game may have had the most three-point shots Libby has made in a single game all season. “That was a result of us understanding some conceptual things that we’re trying to do against the zone, and the girls getting to that next level.”
The Lady Loggers play tonight at home against Eureka, with girls varsity scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the Ralph Tate Memorial Gym. The freshman girls play at 3:30 p.m. in the Libby Elementary School Gym.
On Saturday, Libby has senior night against Polson at home, and the girls varsity is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 31
Columbia Falls 62, Libby 41
L: 6 11 11 13 - 41
C: 12 19 16 15 - 62
Libby: Emma Gruber 4 points, Alli Collins 7 points, Samatha Miller 8 points, Jayden Winslow 14 points, Sammee Bradeen 1 point, Mackenzie Proffitt 3 points, Elsie Erickson 2 points, Olivia Smith 2 points.
Saturday, Feb. 2
Frenchtown 33, Libby 30
F: 15 8 4 6 – 33
L: 6 10 6 8 – 30
Libby: Emma Gruber 4 points, Alli Collins 6 points, Samantha Miller 2 points, Jayden Winslow 12 points, Sammee Bradeen 4 points, McKenzie Proffitt 2 points.