Lady Dogs pick up two wins in opening week

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  • Marlee Bender puts up a shot against Polson last Tuesday. (Bob Gunderson photo)

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    Kit Anderson rises for a shot against the Lady Pirates last Tuesday. (Bob Gunderson photo)

  • Marlee Bender puts up a shot against Polson last Tuesday. (Bob Gunderson photo)

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    Kit Anderson rises for a shot against the Lady Pirates last Tuesday. (Bob Gunderson photo)

The Whitefish girls basketball team won two and dropped one in their first week of competition.

The team blew out Polson 51-15 to open the season, then split a pair against Hamilton and Stevensville at the Tip-Off Tournament over the weekend.

Whitefish bested Hamilton in a close 34-31 win. The following day they fell 46-27 to Stevi.

In the Hamilton, Gracie Smyley came off the bench and made her presence felt, dropping a game-high 14 points. Smyley, a sophomore wing, was 4 of 4 shooting from two-point range and 2 of 3 on threes.

Kit Anderson put the game away with two big free throws with under a minute to play, putting the Lady Dogs up by three for good.

Head coach Bob Bolam said a solid start was what he and his players were hoping to build from.

“We won the first two, so that’s a good start and that’s what we had hoped for from the beginning, to get off to a good start and get some confidence,” he said. “Saturday playing Stevensville we just didn’t give our best effort and we ended up losing that one a lot worse than we probably should have. Other than that though, we’re on the right track.”

Bolam said so far he’s seeing a good mix of experience and youth on the court, with a roster that’s seen a lot of varsity time being complemented by some younger faces that add something new to the team.

“I’ve got at least six kids that have played varsity for three years, so they haven’t had a lot of success as far as wins go but they’ve at least gained a lot of experience on the court playing varsity basketball. That’s really something to build off, and we’ve got some good young kids to help push them along. We’re pretty experienced and we’re developing some depth,” he said. “Our biggest area for improvement is just working toward perfection on what we’re trying to do.”

“There’s just a lot of things, being a new program that we’ve had to install and we’re still working on getting the kinks out and getting better. I think there’s a lot of room for improvement, but actually that’s a good thing.”

This week Whitefish will host Libby on Friday at 7:30 p.m. before heading to Browning on Saturday.

Both teams are going to be challenges for his squad, Bolam says, but he’s looking forward to seeing what they can do.

“Those are two tough teams we’re going up against this weekend. Watching Libby at the Tip-Off Tournament, they run things very well and they’re very scrappy. Jayden Winslow is a very good player that you have to focus on and stop. Then you go into Browning and they’ve got a lot of size and speed and we’ve got to go up there to play them. We’re focusing a lot on what we need to do to be better that will help us to be better against them,” Bolam said.

Whitefish 51

Polson 15

Hamilton 9 11 2 9 — 31

Whitefish 5 11 12 6 — 34

WHITEFISH — Kit Anderson 9, Kaiah Moore 2, Claire Carloss 3, Gracie Smyley 14, Jadi Walburn 2, Marlee Bender 4.

Whitefish 9 5 7 6— 27

Stevensville 11 11 10 14— 46

WHITEFISH — Kit Anderson 3, Kaiah Moore 3, Hope Brown 4, Claire Carloss 1, Payton Kastella 5, Jadi Walburn 6, Marlee Bender 5.

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