In a back-and-forth battle between the top seeds in the Northwestern A boys divisional basketball tournament, No. 1 Whitefish prevailed in the consolation final 56-48 Saturday afternoon at Glacier High School.
The win kept the Bulldogs’ state tournament hopes alive. Whitefish will face Polson in a challenge game at 6 p.m. on Monday night at Glacier High School to determine who will join conference champion Columbia Falls at the state tourney on March 12-14 in Great Falls.
The Loggers’ season is over.
Whitefish led 13-8 at the end of the first quarter, but Libby scored 17 second-quarter points to take a 25-23 lead into halftime. Libby senior Conner Benson hit a three-pointer just before the half ended.
Libby came out of the half sharp and extended its lead to 34-29 with less than four minutes remaining in the third quarter. But beginning at the three-minute mark, Whitefish went on a 6-0 run to close out the quarter and take a 35-34 lead into the final period.
Early in the fourth quarter, Benson fouled Whitefish’s Aaron Tkachyk on a baseline three-pointer and Tkachyk knocked down all three free throws to put the score at 40-36. The closest Libby got after that was 42-39 after a Joel Fuller free throw with 6:17 on the clock.
The lead quickly grew to nine points and after Libby got it back to five, Whitefish senior Colt Idol hit a big basket with under three minutes to make the score 50-43 and effectively kill any momentum the Loggers had.
Idol finished with a team-high 14 points and Tkachyk added 10. For Libby, Benson scored 18 and Fuller had 9.
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