A rough shooting stretch led to a pair of losses for the Wildcats last week as they fell 49-42 in Libby Friday before losing to Polson at home Saturday, 56-48.
Columbia Falls combined to hit just 5-34 (15 percent) from beyond the arc in the two losses and also struggled at the free throw line, making just 19 of 38 attempts.
“When you hit a stretch where you are not hitting shots, teams have a tendency to start pressing it and trying to do too much. We just need to relax and start making the right play,” head coach Chris Finberg said. “Eventually, our shots will fall.”
The Wildcats came up just short in a close contest in Libby Friday as they fell to Loggers, 49-42. Libby led by only two after one quarter of play and the Wildcats trailed by only four at the break, 26-22. The Loggers pushed their lead to nine after three quarters and held off the Wildcats to get the win.
The Wildcats made 47 percent of their two-point tries in the loss, but shot just 1-14 from three-point range.
Matt Morrison was the only Wildcat in double figures in the loss as he finished with 11 points and eight rebounds. Drew Morgan chipped in with nine points and five steals while Austin Green also had nine points and added four steals.
The first and third quarters were the difference at home Saturday as the Wildcats fell to the Polson Pirates, 58-48.
The Pirates scored the first five points of the contest before Quintin Shriver got the Wildcats on the scoreboard with a layup. The Pirates closed out the frame with a 12-2 run and Polson led 17-4 after eight minutes of play.
The Wildcats rallied in the second quarter as eight points from Shriver helped spark a 15-3 run that cut the Pirate lead to 20-19 with 1:19 to play in the half. The Pirates hit a three to go up by four, but Morgan answered with a three of his own to keep the Polson lead at just one with 43 second to go in the half. Polson added a basket in the closing seconds of the quarter to take a 25-22 lead at the half.
The Wildcats struggled to score in the third quarter as Shriver scored the only Columbia Falls basket of the frame on a layup with 2:04 to play. Polson scored 12 in frame and took a 37-24 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats fell behind by as many as 17 in the opening moments of the fourth quarter, but baskets by Morrison, Shriver and Lowell Panasuk cut the Pirate lead to 43-33 with five minutes to play. The Wildcats came as close as seven in the quarter, but could not complete the comeback as the Pirates held on to win by eight.
The Wildcats once again struggled from three and the free throw line, making just 4-20 from beyond the arc and 12-26 from the charity stripe.
Shriver led the Wildcat effort 22 points, 10 rebounds and four steals while Morrison added eight points, 10 rebounds and four assists.
The Wildcats will be in action again Thursday as they host Whitefish.
Columbia Falls 8 14 8 12 — 42
Libby 10 16 13 10 — 49
COLUMBIA FALLS: Austin Green 9, Drew Morgan 9, Lowell Panasuk 4, Quintin Schriver 5, Logan Bechtel 4, Matthew Morrison 11.
LIBBY: Brian Peck 5, JJ Davis 5, Ryggs Johnston 23, Jay Beagle 8, Nik Jones 4, Keith Johnson 4.
Polson 17 8 12 19 — 56
Columbia Falls 4 18 2 24 — 48
POLSON: Bo Kelley 6, Connor Lanier 20, Shade Main 13, Trevor Schultz 2, Sam Schultz 2, Weston Danley 9, Micah Askan 4.
COLUMBIA FALLS: Austin Green 2, Drew Morgan 7, Lowell Panasuk 7, Quintin Schriver 22, Logan Bechtel 2, Matthew Morrison 8.