Johnston nets 27, Loggers dominate Wildcats, 55-36

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COLUMBIA FALLS — Ryggs Johnston scored 27 points for Libby as the Loggers took down Columbia Falls 55-36 on Thursday in a Northwest A boys basketball clash at Columbia Falls High School.

The Wildcats passed the ball well, but struggled to find open looks in the first quarter as Libby built an 11-2 lead. That lead grew to 16-2 in the second quarter before Columbia Falls strung some points together, but they could not cut into the deficit.

“Unfortunately we dug ourselves a hole,” Wildcats coach Chris Finberg said.

“Offensively we couldn’t find the bucket and finally a few shots started to fall and we settled in a little bit.

“That’s kind of been the story of our season so far, we’ve been struggling offensively and we’ve got to figure that out,” he added.

The loss dropped Columbia Falls to 1-7 overall and 0-2 in Northwest A. Libby is now 5-2 and 2-1.

Johnston torched the Wildcats for 14 points in the first half as the Loggers took a 31-15 lead into halftime. He then opened the second half with a long, arcing triple from well beyond the three-point line.

Johnston finished with four three-pointers in the game.

“With Libby it starts and stops with Ryggs. And boy, you can’t leave him open. He knocks everything down,” Finberg said.

“When he’s open and he shoots it, it doesn’t feel good because you know it’s going in.”

Jay Beagle added nine points for the Loggers, while JJ Davis and Keith Johnson had eight apiece.

The Wildcats’ Dillon Shipp helped keep the second half competitive, knocking down two three-pointers on his way to a team-high 12 points.

“Dillon’s a talented offensive player for us and we need a few other guys to step up. Right now we’ve got too many guys passing up open looks, and maybe making the extra pass when they shouldn’t,” Finberg said.

No other Columbia Falls player had more than six points.

The Wildcats hope to nab their first conference win when they host Polson on Saturday, while Libby will travel to Browning.

Libby 11 20 12 12 — 55

Columbia Falls 2 13 9 12 — 36

LIBBY – JJ Davis 8, Ryggs Johnston 27, Jay Beagle 9, Tim Goodman 3, Keith Johnson 8.

CFALLS – Dillon Wanner 4, Jack Price 2, Drew Morgan 4, Dillon Shipp 12, Danny Henjum 6, Zack Pletcher 3, Sam Hovde 3, Jake Bulawsky 2.

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