It was not a turnover plague that proved to be the downfall for the Thompson Falls girls at the Western B Divisional Basketball Tournament last week at the Ronan Event Center. It was inability to show consistent offensive production.
The Lady Hawks, with the No. 3 seed from the 7B District, opened against Missoula Loyola — team they had dropped decisions to twice during the regular season. Thompson Falls trailed 17-6 after one quarter and 36-8 at halftime as the Lady Breakers eased to a 66-25 victory.
T-Falls started slowly as well last Friday in a loser-out game against district foe Eureka, as the Lady Lions knocked down four 3-pointers in the first quarter on the way to a 48-33 win.
Florence-Carlton captured the Western B Divisional title by edging Loyola 43-38 in Saturday night’s championship game. The Lady Falcons earned a berth in the finals with a convincing 59-39 win over Bigfork, while Loyola eased past Anaconda, 55-39.
Deer Lodge beat Bigfork in the third-place game, and earned the right to challenge divisional runner-up Loyola for the No. 2 seed in the Class B State Tournament. That game was set for Tuesday in Ronan. (Results were not available since the Valley Press goes to press Monday night.)
“We tried to slow them down,” T-Falls head coach Doree Thilmony said. “They’re pretty deep. They have quite a few girls they can sub. We played their tempo, their game.”
T-Falls had 21 turnovers, considerably fewer than in previous meetings with Loyola. “What hurt us was that they had some threes on the board,” the coach said, counting six by the Lady Breakers. “They were shooting pretty hot outside.”
Sophomore Megan Baxter recorded a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. “Jody Detlaff and Faith Frields were also pretty solid,” Thilmony said. Detlaff, also a sophomore, had six points and six boards.
T-FALLS fell behind Eureka 17-2 in the first quarter, as the Lady Lions connected early and often from behind the 3-point arc. It was 32-12 at intermission.
The Lady Hawks did have double-figure scoring in the third and fourth periods.
“It was a struggle,” Thilmony said of the early going, noting that Baxter had not taken a single shot in the first half. “We didn’t put the ball up (on shots) much at all.”
Again, T-Falls had 21 turnovers.
“We were just getting off to slow starts. Early in the season the first quarter was our strongest,” Thilmony said.
There were 45 free throws in the game, as T-Falls was 9-for-18 and Eureka 13-for-27.
Baxter paced T-Falls with 10 points, eight rebounds, four steals and three assists. Detlaff added eight points.
Sarah Detlaff and Maya Stiles are the only two seniors on the T-Falls varsity squad.
“Sarah is only 5-2 but she’s strong. She does a good job of modeling how you accept a role on the team,” Thilmony said. “She had a positive attitude.
“We’ll miss Maya’s quickness,” the coach said, “and her leadership on the court.”
Thilmony looks for lots of off-season work in the weight room and on the court by the players who will return. “I’m excited about getting better for next season, for sure,” she said.