Hot second half spurs Dogs past Broncs

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Lee Walburn launches a jumpshot for two of his 23 points against Stevensville Thursday at Whitefish High School. (Daniel McKay/Whitefish Pilot)

An offensive surge in the third quarter gave the Bulldogs the push they needed for their second win against Stevensville Thursday.

Whitefish broke open a 23-17 game with the 21-point quarter, giving them a 38-37 lead going into the fourth.

The Dogs only outscored Stevi by one point in the final frame, but they held the lead for the 47-45 win.

Lee Walburn led all scorers with 23 points. Alex Keuylian added eight and Ryan Kemm added seven.

For the Yellowjackets, Logan Roth paced Walburn with 21 points of his own.

A win is a win, but head coach Sean Duff said he wished it wasn’t so close.

“Honestly, the game should have never been that close. We’ve got to make shots at the rim. We missed so many shots inside,” Duff said.

However, he was pleased to see how a halftime adjustment in their offense sparked that third quarter run that led them to victory.

Although the Dogs’ bigs weren’t hitting shots down low, moving Walburn around kept the offense moving and got the ball to their top scorer.

“Putting Lee to the high post and then dropping him down, they didn’t have an answer for that,” he said.

The Dogs have a full schedule this week, with a pair of conference games and a nonconference matchup over the weekend.

They fell Monday night to Frenchtown 76-58, despite leading 43-30 at the half.

Frenchtown went off for their own hot third quarter, outscoring Whitefish 28-8 to take the lead.

Walburn had for 31 points in the loss.

On Tuesday after presstime they took on the Ronan Chiefs in Ronan, and on Thursday they’ll head to Browning for the second Northwest A league game.

The following evening they’ll host Corvallis. That game will start at 7:15 p.m.

Fighting through a four-game stretch in five days isn’t easy, Duff noted, but staying healthy and preparing for the district tournament on Feb. 8 is key.

“We’re just fine tuning some of the stuff we’ve been doing. Eliminating turnovers, we’ve been doing a pretty good job, and we’ve been starting to put the ball in the hole a little bit better.”

“It’ll make them tough, but by Friday they’re going to be tired.”

Whitefish 24 19 8 7 — 58

Frenchtown 20 10 28 18 — 76

Whitefish: Lee Walburn 31, Ryan Kemm 8, Mark Anderson 7, Alex Keuylian 6, Dillon Botner 4, Sam Menicke 2.

Frenchtown: Adam Botkin 14, Hank Rugg 12, Cade Baker 12, Jared Cole 11, Zack Baker 10, Ethan Pyron 7, Ty Hoppie 5, Dawson Leishman 5.

Stevensville 10 13 14 8 — 45

Whitefish 9 8 21 9 — 47

STEVENSVILLE: Colby Meeds 6, Logan Roth 21, Jacopo Carletto 4, Dalton Bragg 6, Alex Gavlak 5, Delvin Sherman 3.

WHITEFISH: Alex Keuylian 8, Sam Menicke 3, Ryan Kemm 7, Lee Walburn 23, Dillon Botner 6.

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