WHITEFISH — The Flathead boys basketball team bounced back from Saturday’s season-opening loss to Coeur d’Alene (Idaho) with a 50-28 win over Class A Whitefish in an inter-class matchup Tuesday.
Hot shooting fueled a 20-3 Flathead (1-1) run in the first quarter and the Braves cruised to victory. Center Adam Bradley and guards Chandler Escalante and Blaine Newman each scored nine points to pace the Braves.
“I think the key to our great start was the fact that we had such a rough start to our season against Coeur d’Alene and we had a long talk on the bus about how we were going to fix this against Whitefish,” Escalante said. “We just wanted to come out with a fire and we came out with a fire, got a bunch of defensive stops and a bunch of good shots. I feel like that is what fueled our great start and fueled our great game.”
Escalante and Newman each drilled two 3-pointers in the first quarter, but Whitefish (0-1) extended its 2-3 zone and held Flathead to six points in the second quarter as the Braves continued shooting from the perimeter instead of using the space underneath.
“We got impatient,” Flathead coach Fred Febach said. “We started taking shots that weren’t really necessary. We needed to move the ball a little bit more, make their zone work a little bit harder. Our shot selection was not very good in the second quarter for awhile but we remedied that at halftime and did a much better job in the third quarter.”
Escalante opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer, then Bradley went to work inside and converted a three-point play that put the Braves ahead 32-8.
Whitefish outscored Flathead 14-9 in the fourth quarter, but it was not enough to overcome Flathead’s torrid start.
Garrett Anderson, a 6-foot-8 transfer from Flathead, led Whitefish with 10 points. Keaton Nicholson scored seven and Hugh Ramlow added five.
Flathead outrebounded Whitefish 38-18. Six-foot-8 Flathead forward Matt Quist tallied a game-high 10 rebounds and Bradley grabbed nine.
“We didn’t have anybody in double figures, but we had a lot of guys score and a lot of guys made contributions,” Febach said. “It was fun for us because I thought we played well as a team.”
Flathead hosts a nonconference game against Libby on Friday. Whitefish will play in the Northwestern A/Southwestern A tip-off tournament Friday and Saturday.
Flathead 20 6 15 9 — 50
Whitefish 3 3 8 14 — 28
FLATHEAD — Chandler Escalante 9, Blaine Newman 9, Adam Bradley 9, Trae Habel 6, Easton Johnson 6, Matt Quist 5, Tommie Owens 4, Will Cronk 2.
WHITEFISH — Garrett Anderson 10, Keaton Nicholson 7, Hugh Ramlow 5, Alex Wilson 2, Art Doorn 2, EJ Havens 2.