The Dogs fought hard but couldn’t keep the season alive at the Northwest A District Tournament in Ronan over the weekend.
Whitefish dropped its first two games in the double-elimination tournament. The top four teams in the tournament advance to the Western A Divisional tournament this weekend.
On Thursday the Dogs came out flat against the Libby Loggers for a 50-30 loss.
After one quarter, Libby led 19-8, and a scoreless second quarter by Whitefish made that deficit 32-8 by halftime.
Ryggs Johnston, Libby’s scoring phenomenon, was held in check with just 11 points. Ryan Kemm led the team with eight points.
Head coach Sean Duff said the team’s offensive woes overshadowed some solid defense in the tournament.
“We didn’t score enough points. There’s no way in a high school game you can get away with eight points [in a half],” Duff said. “Defensively we didn’t play bad, but when they put 32 points on the board and you put eight on the board ... you’ve just got to be able to score points. I don’t know why we can’t put the ball in the hole at critical times.”
On Saturday they got back at it against Browning, but fell 75-52.
The Dogs paced Browning in the first quarter, scoring eight to the Indians’ 10, but by half the lead had opened into the double digits.
Lee Walburn got his scoring back on track with 18 points, and Kemm added 12, but it wasn’t enough to pull out the win.
When the Dogs were able to contain the fast Browning offense, things worked well, Duff said.
“We did a good job defensively, the biggest difference was we missed getting back fast enough,” he said. “When we were able to get back and set up defensively, it gave them problems.”
Whitefish finishes the season 2-18 overall, with a winless 0-10 record in Northwest A Conference play.
The team’s record this season was disappointing for both the players and coaches, Duff said, but his players are already looking ahead to working hard for next season.
“It’s a learning experience for them. The kids weren’t happy, we weren’t happy as coaches with the season,” Duff said. “We’re disappointed, but they’re already ready to get back in the gym. They’re hungry to start a season again.”
“We’ve got something to prove next year.”
Libby 19 13 10 8 — 50
Whitefish 8 0 10 12 — 30
Libby — Brian Peck 7, JJ Davis 12, Ryggs Johnston 11, Jay Beagle 6, Nik Jones 7, Keith Johnson 7.
Whitefish — Justin Conklin 3, Brendyn Peacock 2, Mark Anderson 4, Sam Menicke 5, Ryan Kemm 8, Lee Walburn 5, Dillon Botner 3.
Whitefish 8 8 19 17 — 52
Browning 10 17 25 23 — 75
WHITEFISH — Alex Keuylian 3, Caleb Meehan 2, Mark Anderson 2, Sam Menicke 3, Noah Fauth 2, Ryan Kemm 12, Lee Walburn 18, Dillon Botner 10.
BROWNING — Nano Stiffarm 16, Derek Loring 2, CJ Smith 6, James Gilham 8, Trevor Fisher 2, Peyton Crawford 5, Justin Burd 6, Deion MadPlume 5, Tyree Whitcomb 11, Brandon Aimsback 14.