As the game approached halftime Tuesday, the Libby High School girls basketball team was down 3-19 against Eureka, before coming back in to win 43-28.
Coming off a timeout where Libby Head Coach Wally Winslow laid out what was going wrong, senior Samantha Miller was the first to score, landing a three-point shot with only two minutes left in the quarter.
“They need to trust themselves, and they need to trust the advice that’s coming from the coaching staff,” he said.
Mostly they just made defensive adjustments, he said. “We let Eureka, early on, get the ball wherever they wanted.”
He said the Lady Loggers needed to recognize that they have put in the time and the strength training, and be more aggressive.
Once things started clicking on the defense, the offense swung into gear as their confidence rose, he said.
“We were able to use our defense to jump-start our offense,” Winslow said.
“Sometimes they’re just afraid of making a mistake, and basketball is a game of mistakes — athletics are like that,” he said.
Winslow said that they can afford to risk some mistakes on being too aggressive on the defense.
In short order, Miller added another two, and with contributions from fellow seniors Alli Collins and then Jayden Winslow at the buzzer, the Lady Loggers had scored twice as many points in those two minutes as they had in the preceding 14.
Coach Winslow said after the game that the Lady Loggers had both their best and worst basketball of the season that night.
Four minutes into the third quarter, Libby had the score tied up 20-20, and they refused to stop there, scoring 31 points just in the second half, while holding the Lady Lions to eight.
Turning the game around like that just comes down to taking the game a play at a time, Winslow said. “You don’t look at the clock. You don’t look at the board. You just play every possession, and the kids know that.”
With tournament time around the corner, Winslow said that he is as excited about the second half of the Eureka game as he was scared by the first half.
“It’s a mental approach — your mind will dictate to your body what’s going to happen, and so we’ve got to make sure we can figure that out on a consistent basis in the next couple weeks,” he said.
The Lady Loggers play next at home on Saturday, when they will host the Polson Lady Pirates in the Ralph Tate Memorial Gym at 5:30 p.m. Girls junior varsity is scheduled to play at 1 p.m. in the Libby Elementary School gym.
Tuesday, Feb. 5
Libby 43, Eureka 28
L: 3 9 13 18 - 43
E: 9 11 2 6 - 28
Libby: Alli Collins 7 points, 2-2 FT; Emma Gruber 4 points, 2-2 FT; Samantha Miller 5 points; Jayden Winslow 12 points, 4-4 FT; Sammee Bradeen 5 points, 3-4 FT; McKenzie Proffitt 9 points, 1-5 FT; Taylor Holm 1 points, 1-2 FT.
Eureka: Rhianna Hawkings 2 points, 2-2 FT; Megan Hanson 8 points; Avory Escobar 6 points, 4-6 FT; Sienna Utter 4 points; Maggie Graves 5 points, 3-6 FT; Karlee Frost 2 points, 0-2 FT; Alyssa Utter 1 points, 1-2 FT.