Glacier versus Columbia Falls basketball
Teammates and coaches celebrate with Katie Thomas (23) after she made the game-winning shot Thursday night to beat Columbia Falls, the top-ranked team in Class A, in a nonconference contest at Glacier High School.
Posted: Thursday, January 16, 2014 11:59 pm
Glacier sophomore Katie Thomas hit a three-pointer with 4.8 seconds left to seal a 53-51 non-conference girls basketball victory for the Wolfpack on Thursday night over top-ranked Columbia Falls at Glacier High School.
It was Thomas’ interception of an errant Wildkat pass that setup Glacier’s final possession. After swinging the ball around the Columbia Falls’ zone defense, trying to work the ball inside, Thomas let a shot fly from the right wing of the three-point line and it found the bottom of the net as Wolfpack fans rejoiced.
“When (Hannah) passed it to me on the kick we didn’t have much time left so I had to shoot it,” Thomas said. “That’s my job to spot up and shoot.”
It was a job well done as her clutch basket handed Columbia Falls its first loss of the season.
“Very disappointing for the girls,” said Columbia Falls head coach Cary Finberg.
“Defensively we didn’t buckle down there at the last possession when we needed to, but this is the type of game our girls needed. Glacier is a quality team and they made the plays at the end and we didn’t.”
Glacier came out shooting in the first period of play and opened up a 20-10 lead, including three Hailee Bennett baskets from behind the arc.
The Wolfpack (5-2) went cold in the second quarter scoring just nine points while Columbia Falls cut the lead to six. It was 29-23 at the break.
The Wildkats (7-1) went on a 9-2 run to start the third quarter with seven of those nine coming from the hot hand of senior Winter Kemppainen, who ended up with a game-high 17 points.
When Glacier senior Cassi Hashley committed her fourth foul with just 4 minutes to play in third, she was forced to sit on the bench to avoid fouling out for good.
“She had to play tentatively on the defense end of the court,” Glacier head coach Kris Salonen said. “The refs were calling a lot of fouls; they weren’t just talking to them out there.”
This allowed the Wildkats to attack the paint in the fourth. Columbia Falls senior forward Haley Belgrade added eight fourth-quarter points to her 13-point total, including an elusive post move to regain the lead with just over three minutes left in the final period before Glacier made its final push.
Glacier was lead by Hasley’s 15 points as well as 13 from Bennett, who was 3-4 from the three-point line.
“I thought we came together really well as a team,” Thomas said. “Our coach always challenges us in the second half to play even better than we did in the first and I think we did tonight.”
The Wildkats won’t have much time to dwell on the tough loss as they will look to defend their home court Saturday against visiting Whitefish at 5 p.m.
Glacier will hope to ride this momentum into Monday’s home matchup against Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m.
Columbia Falls 10 13 15 13 — 51
Glacier 20 9 13 11 — 53
COLUMBIA FALLS — Clara Finberg 4-7 0-1 8, Cydney Finberg 0-5 0-1 0, Ellie Johnson 2-4 0-0 5, Winter Kemppainen 7-10 0-2 17, Haley Belgrade 6-11 1-2 13, Andrea Getts 1-5 0-0 2, Klare Burlage 3-5 0-0 6, Miranda Livingston 0-0 0-0 0, Alyson Gimbel 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-47 1-6 51.
GLACIER — Hannah Atlee 0-3 3-6 3, Katie Wiley 0-5 0-0 0, Cassi Hashley 6-12 3-6 15, Hailee Bennett 5-12 0-0 13, Taylor Loomis 3-9 1-1 7, Taylor Salonen 2-5 0-0 4, Katie Thomas 2-4 2-2 8, Tessa Krueger 1-5 0-0 2, Ali Williams 0-4 1-2 1. Totals 19-59 10-17 53.
3-point goals — Columbia Falls 4-11 (Johnson 1-2, Kemppainen 3-4), Glacier 5-13 (Bennett 3-4, Thomas 2-3). Rebounds — Columbia Falls 29 (Belgrade 9), Glacier 39 (Atlee 11). Total Fouls — Columbia Falls 13, Glacier 13. Fouled out — none. Technical foul — none. Steals — Columbia Falls 6 (Kemppainen 3), Glacier 15 (Atlee 3, Loomis 3). Blocks — Columbia Falls 2 (Cy. Finberg, Belgrade) Glacier 1 (Bennett). Turnovers — Columbia Falls 18, Glacier 16.
THOMPSON FALLS — Shey Hannum scored 15 points and Logan Beckman chipped in 12 as Thompson Falls edged Libby in overtime in a back-and-forth nonconference matchup.
Shyla Stevenson tallied 12 points for Libby.
The game ended on a wild note with both teams doing the bulk of their scoring in the fourth quarter.
Libby returns to Northwestern A play on Saturday at Polson.
LIBBY – Gavy Oliver 2, Shyla Stevenson 12, Hailley Moe 6, Taylor Quinn 9, Dayln Germany 8, Devon Gallagher 4.
THOMPSON FALLS – Shey Hannum 15, Erica Sorlie 4, Madi Fitchett 3, Angela Padden 6, Gillian Nelson 2, Logan Beckman 12.
Butte High's Andie Hogan, left, and Ashten McCloskey surround Butte Central's Chandra McCurdy Thursday night at the Butte Civic Center. (Bill Foley photo)
If it is possible for both teams to benefit from a game, then that was the case Thursday night at the Butte Civic Center.
At least that was the feel from both sides after Butte High’s girls’ basketball team beat Butte Central 60-47 in front of a large crowd.
“I’m not disappointed at all. I’m proud of our kids,” BC coach Meg Murphy said. “I think we’ll only build from it. We’re heading in the right direction.”
The difference in the game was early.
Butte High senior Sammy McGree stole the ball and scored to spark a 13-0 Bulldog run that turned a 4-3 deficit into a 16-4 advantage.
The Bulldogs didn’t trail again, even though the Maroons refused to go away quietly.
“They did some good things,” Butte High coach Liza Dennehy said. “Meg is a great coach. The game isn’t over until the final buzzer sounds, and you can count on it from her kids.”
McGree scored 24 points to lead all scorers. It marked the eighth time in eight games that the guard led the Bulldogs in scoring. It was the fourth time she scored more than 20 points.
“Sammy is the real deal,” Dennehy said. “If I’m a college coach sitting in the stands, I got Sammy McGee at the top of my list. She is the real deal, and she is surrounded by some athletic people who she makes better just by the virtue that she’s on the floor.”
Dennehy wasn’t the only coach to praise McGree, who is now averaging 20.9 points per game.
“I can’t say enough about Sammy McGree,” Murphy said. “She just carries their team.”
The Bulldogs pressure defense worked early against the Maroons, who looked nervous playing on the big stage early.
Butte High led by as much as 16 points at 28-12 midway through the second quarter.
“We talked about that before the game,” Murphy said of her young team shaking off the nerves. “‘Take the first two minutes, take some deep breaths and relax.’ I guess it’s easy to say that where we’re sitting.”
The game started to turn when BC got a spark from freshman Mollie Peoples.
Peoples came off the bench and scored the final six points of the first half to cut the deficit to 31-22 at the break.
Butte High appeared to put the game back out of reach with an 11-2 run in the third quarter, making it a 43-26 game.
Again, BC just wouldn’t go away.
Emily St. John and Peoples hit back-to-back 3-pointers to get things started. Sierra Pica completed a three-point play to pull the Maroons to within 45-40 after the 14-2 run.
Of course, it was McGree who answered for the Bulldogs with a pull-up 3-pointer from the top of the key to stop the bleeding.
The Bulldogs then had all the answers down the stretch to hold on for their third straight win over their cross-town rival.
“We had our chances,” Murphy said. “That’s all I can say is we had our chances. They just got some shots when they needed them.”
Maria Michelotti scored 10 points for the Bulldogs before fouling out, Kassidy Caprara tossed in eight, while Andi Hogan and McKaul Ori each scored six. Ori scored five points down the stretch to held seal the win.
Butte High got three points from Ashten McCloseky and two from Maria Richardson.
Justyce Connole, Bethany McLean, Lexi Murphy, Shaelyn Hafer and Ellie Hoffenbaker also contributed for the Bulldogs, who improved to 3-5.
Peoples paced the Maroons with 12 points. Sophomore Teresa Piazzola added 10, and senior Shelby Paffhausen tossed in nine.
“I can’t say enough about what Mollie Peoples did,” Murphy said. “She had a great game.”
St. John scored four, while Pica ended with five and Chandra McCurdy tallied two.
The Maroons also got contributions from Rylee Green, a senior captain, Ryan Trudnowski Kate Ossello, Shawnee Hjelt, Taylor Wahl and Courtney Thomas.
Dennehy said a key to the win was that the Bulldogs controlled the tempo of the game. That is one of her No. 1 goals.
“We showed some composure tonight, which was excellent,” the coach said. “I keep saying it is a new system, but the kids are getting it.
“We’re looking to dictate tempo and we’re looking to adapt things to our personnel a little bit,” Dennehy said. “The key is we want to dictate the tempo. We choose when we want to go fast. We’re still finding our legs. That will get better.”
McGree said she was happy with the win. She said the game could be a stepping stone toward a strong season.
“We definitely were really excited for this game,” McGree said. “We got the ‘W,’ but we’ve still got things to work on.
“It was really big,” McGree added of the win. “Both teams did great, and we needed win under our belt and build on that. I think we’re going to make less mistakes and learn from here.”
The Bulldogs are off until they play at Billings Senior next Friday.
The Maroons play host to Corvallis in a Southwestern A game at 4 p.m. Saturday.
BUTTE HIGH (3-5)
Mariah Richardson 1 0-2 2, Sammy McGree 8 5-8 24, Maria Michelotti 3 4-7 10, Kassidy Caprara 3 1-4 8, Andie Hogan 3 0-3 6, Ashten McCloskey 1 0-0 3, McKaul Ori 1 4-6 6, Justyce Connole 0 0-0 0, Bethany McLean 0 0-0 0, Lexi Murphy 0 0-0 0, Shaelyn Hafer 0 0-0 0, Ellie Hoffenbacker 0 0-0 0.
BUTTE CENTRAL (3-6)
Chandra McCurdy 1 0-1 2, Shelby Paffhausen 2 4-6 9, Sierra Pica 2 0-3 4, Emily St. John 1 2-6 5, Ryan Trudnowski 0 0-0 0, Mollie Peoples 6 3-4 17, Teresa Piazzola 3 4-6 10, Rylee Green 0 0-0 0, Shawwnee Hjelt 0 0-0 0, Kate Ossello 0 0-0 0, Taylor Wahl 0 0-0 0, Courtney Thomas 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 13-26 47.
Butte 16 15 12 17 — 60
Central 6 16 13 12 — 47
3-point goals — Butte 5 (McGree 3, McCloskey, Caprara), Central 4 (Peoples 2, Paffhausen, St. John). Fouls — Butte 21, Central 20.Fouled out — Michelotti. Technicals — none.
Helena 52, Dillon 32
Jessica Stockton scored a game-high 17 points to lead the Helena girls’ basketball team to a 52-32 win over Dillon, Thursday night at Dillon High.
The Bengals jumped out to a 30-14 lead at halftime and never looked back.
Trailing by a 16-point margin at the break, the Beavers picked up the intensity in the second half but were unable to cut into their deficit. Helena outscored Dillon in the second half but only by four points.
The Beavers were led by Audrey Schurg, who scored 10 points.
Dillon will return to action on Saturday when the Beavers travel to Hamilton. Varsity will tip-off at 4 p.m.
Helena 13 17 10 12 – 52
Dillon 7 7 10 8 – 32
Broadus 65, Lame Deer 21
Butte 60, Butte Central 47
Deer Lodge 57, Drummond 44
Fairfield 57, Choteau 21
Hamilton 52, Stevensville 29
Harlowton-Ryegate 68, Fromberg 20
Harrison-Willow Creek 43, Manhattan Christian 38
Helena 52, Dillon 32
Highwood 68, Centerville 64, OT
Hobson 38, Moore-Judith Gap 17
Kalispell Glacier 53, Columbia Falls 51
Malta 45, Glasgow 34
Missoula Loyola 50, Florence 37
Nashua 34, Lustre Christian 22
Ronan 43, Plains 38
Seeley-Swan 41, Darby 39
Shepherd 57, Colstrip 49
Thompson Falls 42, Libby 41, OT
Turner 55, Hays-Lodgepole 34
Valley Christian 55, Alberton 14
Westby-Grenora 62, Richey-Lambert 41
Wibaux 47, Melstone 22