Northwestern A Divisionals: Balanced Scoring Leads Lady Pirates Over Wildkats

By Beacon Staff

COLUMBIA FALLS — Youth and inexperience hounded Columbia Falls once again. So did Riley Kenney and her sharp-shooting supporting cast.

Kenney, Northwestern A’s leading scorer, had 12 of her 15 points in the first half and the Polson Lady Pirates shut down Columbia Falls on its home court 50-37 in the divisional girls basketball tournament on Friday. Polson (15-4) advanced to Saturday’s championship against Frenchtown (17-2) at 6 p.m. Columbia Falls plays in loser-out action against Whitefish at 9 a.m. on Saturday.

Kenney, a senior team captain averaging nearly 20 points per game, ignited the Lady Pirates early and consistent shooting carried Polson all night. After building a 23-18 lead at halftime, the girls ran away in the second half. Senior Mariah Hamel scored 11 of her 14 points in the final two quarters and Anna DiGiallonardo finished with 10 points.

Free throws were especially helpful for Polson. The team only missed two of 13 in the second half. Kenney, Hamel and DiGiallonardo combined to make 14-of-19 from the line overall. Polson shot 16-for-23 as a group while Columbia Falls struggled, making only 5-of-20.

Junior Hope Burlage scored a game-high 16 points and Haley Belgarde added 11 for the three-time defending division champ Wildkats (7-12). Winter Kemppainen scored four, Cortney White had three and Kaity Presnell had two. Madison Sandefer scored one.

MaCall Banner scored five points for Polson, Mackenzie Banner added four and Jordan Quinn finished with two.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.