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Browning survives Whitefish comeback

by BRANDON HANSEN For the Pilot
| January 31, 2024 12:00 AM

With Northwest A Conference play getting into the meat of the schedule and no clear-cut league power emerging, every matchup matters.

For Whitefish, they took on last year’s second-place Northwest A squad, Browning, and the two teams traded blows like heavyweight boxers. The Bulldogs mounted a comeback in the fourth quarter but ultimately fell 69-66 on Saturday, Jan. 27.

“Despite a team's record, I feel that any team can beat anyone on any given night,” Whitefish head coach Alex Gonzalez said. “I do see we are playing at a high level, our boys are playing well. We just need a few tweaks here and there.” 

Whitefish had a 15-11 lead in the first quarter, but the Indians battled back for the 34-29 halftime lead. Browning extended their lead to eight points in the third quarter. 

In the final stanza, Whitefish outscored their visiting opponent by five points took the lead at one point, but it wasn’t enough to record the victory.

“I feel like everyone is getting better the more games they play,” Gonzalez said. “It’s natural for teams to build team chemistry as you get deeper in the season.”

Carson Gulick led Whitefish and all scorers in the game with 19 points, while Mason Kelch balanced the attack with 18 points and three 3-pointers.

“I feel our boys fought hard, they were resilient,” Gonzalez said. “We missed a ton of free throws, which ended up hurting us.”

Browning had four players in double digits, including Maurice Red Horn III, who led the team with 18 points. A good chunk of Browning’s points came from a 19-for-26 performance at the free-throw line. 

Carson Krack added 11 points to Whitefish’s efforts, and Mason Genovese had nine points.

“I feel like Mason Kelch, Mason Genovese, CJ Thew, Carson Krack, and Carson Gulick stood out to me,” Gonzalez said. “However, I was extremely proud of Dane Hunt and Scotty Dalen for giving huge minutes and sustaining the high level of play.”

Whitefish fell to 6-4 overall and 2-2 in league play. 

At Whitefish

BROWNING 69, WHITEFISH 66

Browning - 11 - 23 - 18 - 17 - 69

Whitefish - 15 - 14 - 15 - 22 - 66

WHITEFISH SCORING - Carson Gulick 19, Mason Kelch 18, Carson Krack 11, Mason Genovese 9, CJ Thew 5, Dane Hunt 2, Scotty Dalen 2


Bulldogs Fall To Ronan

Whitefish started strong, but a slow start to the second half allowed Ronan to notch a 50-39 Northwest A Conference victory over the Bulldogs in the Chiefs’ home gym on Tuesday, Jan. 23. 

Earlier this season, Ronan defeated Whitefish by the same score on January 12. Early on, it looked like the Bulldogs might be able to avenge that loss as they took an 18-15 lead.

The Chiefs, which have only lost one conference game this year, battled back for the 24-23 halftime lead. In the third quarter, the Chiefs made their move, notching a 17-7 run to take control of the game.

Coincidentally, that was the same score Ronan had defeated Whitefish back on January 12 in the Bulldogs’ home gym.

Whitefish held the 18-15 lead after one quarter, but the Chiefs battled back for the 24-23 halftime lead. Ronan then piled on a 17-7 run in the third quarter and maintained their advantage in the fourth. 

CJ Thew led Whitefish with 15 points, while Mason Kelch had 13. 

Kolby Finley led the Chiefs with 17 points.

RONAN 50, WHITEFISH 39

Whitefish - 18 - 5 - 7 - 9 - 39

Ronan - 15 - 9 - 17 - 9 - 50

WHITEFISH SCORING - CJ Thew 15, Mason Kelch 13, Mason Genovese 8, Carson Gulick 4 


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