The Columbia Falls boys basketball team came within one point of extending their season at the Western A divisional tournament in Hamilton last week. On Friday, the Wildcats suffered a heartbreaking loss to Frenchtown, 45-44 to end their season.
The Cats had a chance to go ahead against the Broncs. With a little more than 10 seconds on the clock, Austin Green drove to the basket, to put the Cats up by one, but instead of drawing a foul, they called him for a charge.
The Cats got the ball back with a little less than a second left, but the long distance pass from Dakota Bridwell to Logan Stephens was just off the mark. Green led the Cats with 16, Stephens had 12.
The Cats opened the tourney with a win over Stevensville, 54-51. They then advanced to play top-ranked Dillon and got squashed, 69-33, which set up the tilt against Frenchtown in the loser-out bracket. Against Stevi, Stephens had 20.
The Yellowjackets had beaten the Wildcats by 10 to end the regular season, so getting a win against them was a little payback. Undefeated Dillon won the tourney, pounding Polson 50-34.
The Cats lose seniors Bridwell, Stephens and DJ Schrade to graduation.
Coach Chris Finberg was pleased with the teams effort.
I thought we improved as the year went on, he said. He said the goal is to be playing the best basketball you can come tournament time, and the boys did that.
This crew fought until the end, he said.
The rebuilding will continue in the offseason. Open gyms start in April.
Frenchtown 15 8 14 8 45
C. Falls 14 12 8 10 44
Frenchtown Adam Botkin 15, Austin Means 11, Ethan Pyron 8, Jacob Price 5, Brock Rugg 4, Hank Rugg 2.
COLUMBIA FALLS Austin Green 16, Logan Stephens 12, Dakota Bridwell 8, DJ Schrade 5, Drew Morgan 3.
Dillon 22 17 16 14 69
C. Falls 5 5 16 7 33
Dillon (19-0) Troy Andersen 23, Tanner Haverfield 17, Michael Haverfield 8, Clay Allison 7, Kyson Wilson 5, Jansen Anderson 4, Jake Ferris 3, Coby King 2.
C. Falls (4-16) Dakota Bridwell 9, Logan Stephens 7, Austin Green 6, Quintin Schriver 4, Billy Barrett 3, DJ Schrade 3, Drew Morgan 1.
Stevensville 12 13 13 13 51
Columbia Falls 14 14 9 17 54
Stevensville (7-12) Jarod Kingsburg 4, James Fry 13, Dalton Bragg 10, Chayse Richards 4, Alex Gavlak 9, Luis Estrada-Ortiz 11.
Columbia Falls (4-15) Austin Green 13, Logan Stephens 20, Quintin Schriver 7, Dakota Bridwell 12, DJ Schrade 2.