The Lady Bulldogs fought hard but couldn’t keep their season alive at the Northwest A District Tournament over the weekend.
The team finished 0-2 in the Whitefish-hosted tournament, falling to Libby on Thursday and Ronan on Saturday.
Offense was hard to come by for the Lady Dogs in their matchup with the Lady Loggers.
Whitefish amassed quarters of four, two and five points before exploding for 11 in the final frame.
Still, Libby only led 11-6 at the half, but followed that by outscoring Whitefish 24-16 in the remainder of the game.
Gracie Smyley led Whitefish with eight points, while Jayden Winslow had a game high 11 points for Libby.
It was a similar story against Ronan on Saturday.
After falling behind 9-4 in the first quarter, Whitefish managed to close the gap down to two points, trailing 17-15 at the half.
The Maidens extended that lead to 11 midway in the third quarter and Whitefish wasn’t able to claw back into the game afterwards.
Marlee Bender led Whitefish with 10 points, while Jasmine Matern and Jadi Walburn added seven and six points respectively.
Head coach Bob Bolam said he felt the tournament was representative of how the rest of the year had gone for his team.
“It was just a microcosm of our season,” he said. “The same things we’ve been dealing with all year kind of came up during the tournament. We definitely played better defense as the year went on, but turnovers and the lack of offensive production seemed to rear its head during the season and the same thing happened during the tournament.”
Saturday was the final game for the team’s two seniors, Bender and Kit Anderson.
Bolam praised both seniors for their roles on the team this season.
“They both did a nice job for us. They’re different in their own ways and different types of players. Kit started out strong but had an injury and couldn’t quite get back to form,” he said. “Marlee had a really good season, she learned a lot in her senior year and played really good defense. I think those two seniors will be missed, but there are a lot of good young kids coming up and we’re going to work hard with them to improve our program.”
Whitefish finishes the season 4-16 overall and 2-8 in Northwest A conference play.
It’s an improvement over last season’s two wins, and while he wishes there were more wins in his first season at the helm, Bolam said he does feel like the program made strides.
“I feel pretty good about where we got to, especially on the defensive end,” he said. I think it’s one of the things we really worked on, trying to play different types of defense and wanting to play man-to-man def this year after basically playing zone the last year or two and I think the girls really got better at it.”
“When you look at Whitefish basketball, it’s not just where we’re at today. We’re looking to improve with the youth programs, get more people involved in basketball in Whitefish. So that’s a focus for us. I think things that have been happening for our program to turn in that direction overall, things look good and we just want to keep the momentum going for girls basketball to have a stronger presence in the community.”
Libby 4 7 11 13 — 35
Whitefish 4 2 5 11 — 22
WHITEFISH — Kaiah Moore 4, Gracie Smyley 8, Payton Kastella 4, Jadi Walburn 2, Mikenna Ells 4.
Ronan 9 8 15 17 – 49
Whitefish 4 11 10 10 – 35
WHITEFISH – Kit Anderson 3, Kaiah Moore 2, Claire Carloss 2, Jasmine Matern 7, Gracie Smyley 1, Payton Kastella 1, Jenny Patten 1, Jadi Walburn 6, Mikenna Ellis 2, Marlee Bender 10.