The Wildkats picked up a pair of wins at home last week as Columbia Falls defeated Stevensville by 26 Thursday before picking up a 49-41 win over Flathead Saturday.
“We are playing hard and competing, and that’s really what you want to see,” head coach Cary Finberg said. “We competed against these two teams and we have one more tough one against Bigfork before we get into conference play.”
The Wildkats wasted no time building a lead against Stevensville Thursday, scoring the first seven points of the contest before using a 15-0 run to go up 29-8 early in the second quarter.
Defense led to offense for the Kats as time-and-again the full-court press forced Stevensville turnovers.
“We shot the ball well and we passed the ball well, but I really think it was our defensive pressure that was the real difference,” Finberg said. “That’s the kind of team we want to be and the type of tempo that we want to play with.”
Ryley Kehr and Hannah Gedlaman each scored 15 points in the first half as the Wildkats built a 39-16 lead at the break.
Trista Cowan took over the Columbia Falls offense in the third quarter, scoring 10 of the team’s 18 points in the frame as the Wildkats led 57-32 heading into the fourth.
The teams traded baskets in the fourth as several of the younger Wildkats saw playing time, but Columbia Falls cruised to a 70-44 victory.
The Columbia Falls pressure held Stevensville to just 29 percent shooting and forced 35 turnovers in the victory while the Wildcats made 44 percent of their attempts.
The Wildkats did commit 22 turnovers in the win, but Finberg said the miscues were acceptable.
“Eight of those turnovers came in the fourth quarter with some of our younger players on the court,” he said. “That’s passable for us when we are forcing them to turn it over 35 times.”
Kehr led the Wildkats with 23 points and six steals in the victory while Gedlaman scored 17. Cowan did a great job on the post in the win, scoring 17 points and adding 13 rebounds. Dani Douglas led the squad in assists with seven and added seven points while Savannah Ellis, Hannah Schweikert and Graceanne Sevesind each scored two.
The Wildkats picked up another home win Saturday as they defeated AA opponent Flathead, 49-41.
Baskets were tough to come by all evening, but Finberg said his team was able to fight through their struggles.
“We didn’t take care of the ball very well and we didn’t shoot very well. Good ball movement leads to higher shooting percentage, and we just didn’t have that against Flathead,” he said. “We did do an excellent job on the glass, though.”
The teams traded baskets through the first quarter and were tied at 12 after eight minutes of play. The Bravettes led late in the second quarter, but Gedlaman finished the half with five straight points to put the Wildkats up 24-20 at the break.
The Wildkats opened the second half with eight straight points and went up 32-20 on an inside basket from Cowan with 2:56 to play in the third.
Flathead cut the Wildkat lead to seven early in the fourth quarter, but four straight points from Kehr helped quash any comeback hopes as Columbia Falls held on for the win. rebounds. Gedlaman led the Wildkats with 16 points and 17 rebounds while Cowan added 12 points and 14 rebounds, Kehr scored 12 and Douglas added seven points, five steals and five assists. Ellis added two points in the win.
The Wildkats will be at home Thursday as they host Bigfork for the annual Hall of Fame Game at 7:15 p.m. The team will open conference play on the road Friday as they play at Ronan. Game times in Ronan have been changed as the froshmore game will start at 1 p.m., the JV will play at 2:30 and the varsity will play at 4 p.m.