The Bulldogs showed up to play on senior night, dominating Ronan 59-34.
Right out of the gate Whitefish (12-4, 8-2) shut the Chiefs down defensively.
The Dogs closed out the first quarter 14-3 and extended the lead to 26-6 at the half.
Ronan brought more balanced scoring in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to touch the first half hole they’d dug themselves into.
Ryan Kemm led a balanced offense with 12 points, while Lee Walburn and Justin Conklin added 11 and 10 respectively.
Head coach Scott Smith said while he felt his offense started off slow, he was impressed with his team’s defensive showing.
“In the first half we played great defense,” he said. “We just started off so slow, we couldn’t throw it in the ocean if we were standing next to it. I think that was just adrenaline from it being senior night. Once we calmed down we were able to put points on the board.”
The team followed that performance with a 61-47 win Friday night in Corvallis.
Smith said the game against the Blue Devils was a similar story to Ronan.
“We played really good defense in the first half, we held them to 16 points,” he said. “Our turnovers were down, we had eight total for the game and we’re starting to get that under control.”
With the Corvallis and Ronan wins, the team’s win total is up to a dozen — 10 more than last year’s wins.
Smith said he’s happy with where his team is at with the end of the regular season approaching, and he’s not surprised at all by how the season’s turning out.
“I have high expectations. I thought with the talent we had we could do what we’re doing, we could have a couple more wins even, we just didn’t do what we needed to do. We’re right where we need to be right now. Hopefully we can keep getting better,” he said.
This week the Dogs got another crack at Ronan on Tuesday after press time. They finish the regular season with a rivalry matchup in Columbia Falls on Thursday, starting at 6 p.m. at Columbia Falls High School.
Playing a solid, full game of defense and continuing to clean up turnovers is the focus for the last two games, Smith said.
If his players can get those down, he’s excited to see where they can go come tournament time.
“We’ve got to get better at our second half defense. In the first half we’re playing really good defense and we’re shutting teams down, but in the second half we exchange buckets too much. We’ve got to get more stops defensively,” he said. “We’ve got to keep cleaning up our turnovers. I think if we can do those two things and execute offensively then we’ll be just fine.”
Ronan 3 3 16 12 — 34
Whitefish 14 12 14 19 — 59
WHITEFISH — Jayce Cripe 2, Bodie Smith 4, Justin Conklin 10, Mark Anderson 4, Daniel Davis 2, Sam Menicke 6, Ryan Kemm 12, Lee Walburn 11, Dillon Botner 8.