The Wildkats improved their season record to 13-1 with a pair of lopsided home wins last week as they defeated Corvallis 64-45 Thursday and downed Ronan Saturday, 68-41.
The Kats honored their three senior players before the game against Ronan Saturday as Dani Douglas, Diana Vasquez and Hannah Gedlaman played their final home game.
A hard-fought battle throughout, the Kats turned up their halfcourt defensive pressure in the fourth quarter to pull away from the Maidens for good as Columbia Falls outscored Ronan 19-5 over the final eight minutes.
“It’s a great sign that we can respond like that when we need to,” head coach Cary Finberg said.
Gedlaman scored a quick seven points for the Kats in the opening quarter but Columbia Falls led by just three after eight minutes of play as Ronan routinely cut through the full-court press for layups.
“We knew going in that our press would probably not affect Ronan as much as it has other teams,” Finberg said. “Their guards are very good and were able to handle the pressure, but we still wanted to get after them and set the tempo.”
Ronan cut the lead to two midway through the second, but the Kats responded with a 17-6 run to grab a 34-21 halftime advantage.
The intense play continued in the third quarter as both sides saw players go to the floor without whistles from the officials. The Kats led by as many as 19 in the third, but settled for a 49-36 advantage heading into the final eight minutes.
The fourth quarter belonged to the Kats as Columbia Falls dropped out of its press and turned up the half-court pressure, to great effect. The Wildkats added 19 points while holding Ronan to a single basket in the fourth, forcing the Maidens into a number of turnovers and holding the visitors to just 1-11 shooting over the final eight minutes.
“We played good half-court defense in the fourth,” Finberg said. “That’s a really good sign for us as we move forward as we are going to have to play a lot of half-court defense come tournament time.”
Douglas and Gedlaman led the Kats in scoring with 17 each in the win as Douglas added five rebounds, five steals and four assists and Gedlaman had 11 rebounds.
Trista Cowan also filled up the stat sheet with 14 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, four steals and two blocked shots.
The Kats also got good play from their bench as LaKia Hill finished with seven points and four rebounds, Josie Windauer added four points and three boards and Diana Vasquez had two rebound and three assists.
The Kats had no trouble at home against Corvallis Thursday as Columbia Falls cruised to a 64-45 victory.
Douglas was on fire from beyond the arc in the victory, going 8-12 from three-point range as she scored a game-high 28 points.
“We’ve been waiting for her to have a game like that,” Finberg said. “She is more than capable of having that kind of shooting night. She did a great job of being aggressive and shooting in rhythm.”
A pair of Douglas threes, and one from Ryley Kehr, helped the Kats jump out to a 16-7 lead after one quarter of action before Douglas added two more threes in the second quarter.
The Kats led 30-23 at the half but began pulling away in the third as they outscored the Lady Blue Devils 18-10 in the frame.
Columbia Falls led by as many as 25 in the fourth quarter as the Kats cruised to victory.
Along with Daniels’ strong performance, Gedlaman added 17 points, 12 rebounds, four steals, two assists and two blocks and Cowan had eight points, six rebounds, five steals and two blocked shots.
Savvy Ellis also had a strong game for the Kats, finishing with four rebounds, four assists, one steal and one point.
The Kats will play the remainder of their 2018 schedule on the road, and will be in Libby Thursday.
Corvallis 7 16 10 12 — 45
Columbia Falls 16 14 18 16 — 64
CORVALLIS: Hutchinson 7, Halderson 15, Martin 6, Albright 13, Berry 4.
COLUMBIA FALLS: Dani Douglas 28, Savvy Ellis 1, LaKia Hill 2, Hannah Gedlaman 17, Ryley Kehr 6, Diane Vasquez 2, Trista Cowan 8.
Ronan 10 11 15 5 — 41
Columbia Falls 13 21 15 19 — 68
RONAN: Micalann McCrea 8, Gabby Wirz 3, Tiana Ulutoa 6, Addison Clairmont 3, Regan Clairmont 6, Jaelynn Askan 11, Madeline McCrea 3, Kianna Finley 1.
COLUMBIA FALLS: Dani Douglas 17, Savvy Ellis 2, Lakia Hill 7, Hannah Gedlaman 17, Josie Windaur 4, Ryley Kehr 5, Madysen Hoerner 2, Trista Cowan 14.