Western B Divisionals: Loyola Girls Stun No. 1 Bigfork

Breakers upset Vals with game-winning basket; Bigfork boys play Deer Lodge at 4 p.m.

By Dillon Tabish
Loyola defeated Bigfork 43-42 on Feb. 25, 2016. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Bigfork has dominated all season with size and strength.

But Loyola’s speed and scrappiness continue to stump the Valkyries.

On Thursday, the fourth-seeded Breakers stunned Bigfork 43-42 in the opening round of the Western B Divisional basketball tournament at Flathead High School.

Loyola’s senior guard Skylar Hollenback caught an inbounds pass and dribbled three quarters of the court to score the game-winning layup with 4.5 seconds left.

It marked the second time this season Loyola (17-6) has defeated Bigfork (16-5). The Breakers won 67-59 in mid January.

“They worked harder than we did,” Bigfork head coach Jami Grende said. “We just weren’t finishing. A lot of missed opportunities.”

Bigfork missed a pair of shots in the key in the final two minutes while clutching to a slim 40-39 lead.

Lana Berg and Miranda Campbell each scored 11 for the Vals and Mattison McAnally had eight.

Campbell, Bigfork’s 6-foot-2 senior post, had nine points in the first half but Loyola’s defense smothered the Vals down low in the second half.

Tessa Burke paced Loyola with 15, including eight in the third quarter, when the Breakers went on a 13-3 run to take a 35-30 lead entering the fourth.

Bigfork shot 13-of-24 from the free throw line.

“Free throws at this time of year win games. The girls know that,” Grende said.

“We also had the size and they out-rebounded us by 11.”

Bigfork is clinging to state-tournament hopes and will need to win out to ensure a trip to Butte. Three teams from Western B will advance to the state tourney, March 10-12.

“We’re going to hold our heads up,” Grende said.

Bigfork plays Troy (12-10) at 11:20 a.m., Friday.

Troy lost to Florence, 46-33 on Thursday. Florence and Loyola play in the semifinal round at 7:20 p.m., Friday.

In other action on Thursday, Ronan plays Eureka at 7:20 p.m. and Deer Lodge takes on Libby at 9 p.m.

In the boys tournament, Florence defeated Troy 53-29 and Loyola defeated Thompson Falls 57-50.

Bigfork, the top seed from District 7B at 19-1, takes on Deer Lodge, the fourth seed from District 6B at 8-14, at 4 p.m. and Libby (12-8) takes on Anaconda (14-6) at 5:40 p.m.

Results and stats will be updated throughout the tournaments

Hollenback’s game-winning layup

Thursday’s Box Scores

Missoula Loyola 7  15  13  8  – 43
Bigfork 12  11  7  12  – 42
LOYOLA – Darien Schneider 2, Caroline Stahl 2, Tessa Burke 15, Payson Jacobson 3, Skylar Hollenback 11, Brook Kolar 10.
BIGFORK – Haile Norred 1, Jaime Berg 5, Rakiah Grende 4, Mattison McAnally 8, Katie Thomas 2, Lana Berg 11, Miranda Campbell 11.

Thompson Falls  14  7  9  20  –  50
Sacred Heart  10  19  9  19  –  57
THOMPSON FALLS – McKenzie Holt 9, Dylan Beckman 5, Tanner Laws 5, Josh Wulfekuhle 3, Joe Lindberg 9, Trais Hoisington 6, Joe Fields 5, Max Birkholt 2, Tyler Riffle 8.
LOYOLA – Noah Pohlman 5, David Koppang 8, Strother Cooper 7, Frank Zheng 7, Ryan McHugh 5, Parker Davis 25.

Florence  22  10  8  13  –  53
Troy  9  0  11  9  –  29
FLORENCE – Levi Edwards 2, Bo Zeiler 5, Marcus Zeiler 14, Levi Clagett 14, Cody Liles 4, Dan Mickelson 12.
TROY – Savage 6, Winn 3, Tallmadge 2, Opland 9, Finelay 2, Chapel 2, Winebank 3, Rice 2.

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