An explosive fourth quarter by Columbia Falls put them ahead in a tight rivalry battle Thursday night at Whitefish.
Early in the fourth, the Lady Dogs trailed just four points, 33-29, in what had been an evenly-matched battle for both teams.
Then the Wildkats got hot, going on a 28-4 run to run away with the victory.
Marlee Bender had a season high 16 points for Whitefish.
For Columbia Falls, Ryley Kehr led with 15.
Head coach Ben Johnson said the gameplan going into Thursday night was to stop Kehr.
“It was kind of a mental breakdown. We ran the gameplan for three quarters and that final quarter we left Kehr open and she hit three three-pointers. That took the wind out of our sails,” he said.
Whitefish (2-16, 1-9) is looking for some postseason magic heading into the Northwest A District Tournament in Ronan this week.
On Thursday they’ll take on the host, Ronan, at 3:30 p.m.
Ronan sits just above the Lady Dogs in conference standings with a 6-12 overall record and 4-6 in league play.
The last time the teams played, Ronan used a strong second half to get ahead for the 52-39 win.
If they can pull out a victory, they’ll take on Browning on Friday at 6:30 p.m. If not, they’ll play again on Saturday at 9:30 a.m.
Johnson said despite their record, the improvement has been consistent and he’s happy with how his team is playing going into the tournament.
“It’s been kind of up-and-down all year, but the consistency is getting better here at the end and I think we’re in a good place heading into the district tournament,” he said. “We should have a pretty good run hopefully.”
Columbia Falls 8 9 16 28 — 61
Whitefish 7 9 13 9 — 38
COLUMBIA FALLS — Dani Douglass 8, Savvy Ellis 4, Lakia Hill 4, Hannah Gedlaman 14, Josie Windauer 3, Ryley Kehr 15, Madysen Hoerner 1, Trista Cowan 12.
WHITEFISH — Hope Brown 2, Claire Carloss 4, Kaiah Moore 2, Ashton Ramsey 5, Annisa Brown 6, Payton Kastella 3, Marlee Bender 16.