The Bulldogs held on tight against the Indians, but fell short 70-60.
Last Friday’s game came as the conclusion to a long two weeks of winter break and practices, but it didn’t hinder Whitefish in the first half.
While Browning jumped out with 21 points in the first quarter, Whitefish held pace with 15 of their own before outscoring the Indians in the second quarter. At half Browning led 31-27.
Then the Indians went on a run.
The lead grew to 14 by the end of the third quarter, and while Whitefish rallied with 21 points to Browning’s 19 in the final frame, the deficit was too much.
Head coach Scott Smith said it was really a game of two halves.
“The first half was pretty close, the second half was fairly close but then they pulled away,” he said. “We had stretches where we didn’t take care of the ball and forced some shots instead of being patient.”
Smith said turnovers and a lack of consistency throughout the game killed his team.
Smith reported 25 turnovers for the Dogs.
However, he saw some bright spots, including some strong defense and a well-spread offensive attack.
“Offensively we did a good job,” he said. “When we ran our press break right we were able to score fairly easily.”
“We’re more consistent with our scoring than we were last year,” he added. “At any point we can have any kid go off for 15, 20 points. We’re a more balanced team than we were last year.”
Justin Conklin was the team’s high scorer against Browning with 15, followed by Bodie Smith’s 12 and Sam Menicke’s 11.
It’s going to be a grueling week of competition for the Dogs this week.
Tuesday after press time they headed down to Ronan to take on the Chiefs. On Thursday they get another look at Eureka, and then on Saturday they’ll take the trip down to Bitterroot to face off against Hamilton.
“It’s a tough week. They’re all on the road,” Smith said “When you have a long week like this, the kids need to take care of themselves on the court and off. I think these three games are very winnable for us. We just have to play consistent basketball.”
Browning 21 10 20 19 — 70
Whitefish 15 12 10 23 — 60
Whitefish — Bodie Smith 12, Jaxsen Schlauch 5, Justin Conklin 15, Orion Moore 2, Jayce Cripe 6, Sam Menicke 11, Taylon Holmquist 9