The Libby High School boys basketball team showed the difference firing on all cylinders can make Tuesday when they beat Eureka 59-36 in Libby.
Compared to their single-digit win at Eureka Jan. 8, Tuesday’s battle was a solid win, and the Loggers had 10 points over the Lions by the end of the first quarter.
During their Jan. 8 show-down with Eureka, Libby was missing junior Keith Johnson, who has sick with the flu. Additionally, despite winning by five points, several other players were sick but able to play, Libby Head Coach Josh Bean said at the time.
Bean reiterated how well freshman Caden Williams had stepped in to fill Johnson’s role under the basket Jan. 8. Williams was also one of nine Loggers to get points on the board Tuesday.
Against the Lions, Bean said he felt Libby continued the excellent teamwork of last week, sharing the ball and passing well.
Having an entire team of players who opponents can’t afford to ignore makes the Loggers a team to be wary of as they head into tournament time.
Both Johnson and senior Ryggs Johnston have been leading the Loggers on the scoreboard. Last weekend against Frenchtown, the two combined scored 52 of the team’s 68 points.
With someone such as Johnston -- who put up a season-high 32 points at Frenchtown -- other teams can’t afford to not try to shut him down.
Yet, that was what Eureka tried to do Tuesday, face guarding Johnston. And that was their mistake, since it’s just a bad defensive move, Bean said.
While Johnston may be able to put more points on the board than most players, the Logger roster is full of players who can’t be left unguarded if an opponent wants to be effective defensively.
And, with all their attention on Johnston, they aren’t seeing the Logger driving up the middle until it’s too late.
With Eureka focused on Johnston, the rest of the Loggers had good contributions from the entire team.
Johnston stands out in that area as well. Bean reiterated that the senior just wants to win, and doesn’t care how. So, while he may be a standout player, he is as happy to hand the ball over for someone else to score instead of him.
Libby’s final home game is Saturday at home, where Logger varsity are scheduled to host the Polson Pirates at 4 p.m. in the Ralph Tate Memorial Gym during senior night. Boys junior varsity is scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 5
Libby 59, Eureka 39
L: 16 13 18 12 - 59
E: 6 9 11 13 - 39
Libby: JJ Davis 2 points; Chandler Bower 4 points; Ryan Goodman 7 points, 2-2 FT; Ryggs Johnston 22 points, 6-6 FT; Jay Beagle 3 points, 1-2 FT; Caden Williams 4 points; Tim Goodman 2 points; Keith Johnson 13 points, 1-1 FT; Kevin Barnes 2 points.
Eureka: Alex Lowe 4 points; Corbin Hurst 3 points; AJ Pacella 3 points; Cory Chaney 6 points, 0-2 FT; Joey Kindel 10 points, 2-3 FT; Jake Kindel 13 points, 2-3 FT.