Northwestern A Divisional: Whitefish Edges Frenchtown

By Beacon Staff

The Whitefish Bulldogs began the season 2-5 and the Class A state tournament seemed a million miles away. Now they’re battling for the conference championship and on the verge of going to state for the first time in five years.

Alex Wilson sank a pair of free throws in the final 30 seconds and the Bulldogs clamped down defensively, edging Frenchtown 56-51 in the semifinal round of the Northwestern A divisional basketball tournament Saturday night at Glacier High School.

Wilson made three of four from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter and finished with seven points. Whitefish held Frenchtown to one point in the final minute. The Bulldogs made seven of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter. Garrett Anderson scored four of his team-high 16 points in the final eight minutes and Keaton Nicholson added 12 points for the Bulldogs (11-8).

Whitefish squares off against rival and five-time defending conference champ Columbia Falls (15-4) in the tournament finale at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Frenchtown (12-7) drops to loser-out action against Libby (1-18) at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. The winner plays Polson (5-15) in the consolation game at 4:30 p.m. The top two teams advance to the state tournament in Great Falls, March 6-8. The top two teams advance, and the winner of the consolation game can challenge the runner-up team only if the squads did not already play.

Frenchtown’s John Chapman scored a game-high 21 points, including a 3-pointer with 1:27 remaining to cut the Broncs’ deficit to 53-50.

Frenchtown 8 19 11 13 – 51
Whitefish 11 15 17 13 – 56

FRENCHTOWN – John Chapman 5 7-10 21, Quintin Mazzola 1 0-0 2, Chris Delaney 2 2-4 6, Andrew Honken 2 0-0 4, Bridger Truett 5 0-2 12, Jordan Moe 3 0-0 6. Totals 18 9-16 51.

WHITEFISH – Keaton Nicholson 4 2-3 12, AJ Wetsch 2 1-2 6, Cody Olson 0 2-2 2, Alex Wilson 2 3-4 7, EJ Havens 3 0-0 8, Arthur Doorn 2 1-1 5, Garrett Anderson 7 2-4 16. Totals 20 11-16 56.

3-pointers – Frenchtown 6 (Chapman 4, Truett 2); Whitefish 5 (Nicholson 2, Havens 2, Wetsch); Team fouls – Frenchtown 15, Whitefish 15.

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