The Lady Bulldogs notched their first victory of the season in a strong 52-38 win over Polson on Friday.
Led by Marlee Bender’s 20 points, Whitefish took a 26-20 lead at half and blew the game open by outscoring Polson 12-3 in the third.
Payton Kastella added 11 points in the Northwest A conference matchup.
Head coach Ben Johnson said the win was the result of weeks of improvement by his players.
“They’ve come a long ways. Our goal this season was to make sure we compete every game and we’ve done that,” he said.
“We’ve learned to take care of the basketball and take what they’re giving us. It was just a team effort, and they didn’t have an answer for our size. It’s a great group of girls and as a team we’re going to be pretty successful.”
The following night looked like it could be another Lady Dog win, but Browning had other ideas.
Down just 31-29 heading into the fourth quarter, it seemed like if Whitefish could keep the points coming, they’d be good to go for the win. Despite scoring 15 points in the final quarter, the most of any quarter during the game, Browning exploded for 23 points of their own to run away with the win 54-44.
Johnson said turnovers were to blame for that final quarter.
“That last quarter they really got us, but in my eyes it wasn’t defense, we just made turnovers at the wrong time,” he said.
Bender again led Whitefish with 15 points.
Dolci Skunkcap led the game with 17 points for Browning.
This week Whitefish travels to Libby on Thursday.
Cutting down those turnovers will be key moving forward, Johnson said.
“We’re just going to keep fine tuning what we’re doing, really working on knocking down shots and cut back on turnovers. That’s probably the one thing that’s beating us, and defensively we’re a lot better than we have been,” he said.
Whitefish had been set to play Frenchtown Tuesday, but the game was canceled due to weather. It will be rescheduled.
Browning 11 10 10 23 — 54
Whitefish 10 7 12 15 — 44
BROWNING: Lacie Goss 6, Olivia Hall 8, Taylor Jordan 6, Veronica Reed 2, Ronnal Jordan 9, Dolci Skunkcap 17, Tamika Guardipee 6.
WHITEFISH: Kit Anderson 5, Claire Carloss 9, Kaiah Moore 4, Ashton Ramsey 7, Payton Kastella 4, Marlee Bender 15.
Whitefish 12 14 12 14 — 52
Polson 13 7 3 15 — 38
Whitefish: Kit Anderson 9, Kaiah Moore 6, Ashton Ramsey 8, Payton Kastella 11, Marlee Bender 20.
Polson: Kaelyn Smith 1, Quinn Motichka 4, Alex Pierre 8, Olivia Perez 8, Jaycee Frydenlund 17.