By KATIE BROWN
The Daily Inter Lake
It all came down to the free-throw line in this crosstown battle.
The Glacier Wolfpack (5-2 overall, 2-0 Western AA) took a 32-24 win in a clash with the Flathead Bravettes (5-3, 1-1) at Glacier High School on Friday, backed by Ellie Keller’s prowess at the charity stripe.
“That happens in crosstown, it’s exciting, a battle,” Glacier coach Bill Sullivan said.
Glacier leads the crosstown series 21-5.
What the game lacked in scoring it made up for with intensity. Both teams struggled with shooting accuracy — the score at halftime was a 12-11 Glacier lead, perhaps the product of nerves on both sides — so it wasn’t much of a surprise that the game would be won or lost on the free-throw line.
“That’s the way this game goes,” Sullivan said. “I’ve never been in one of these that it’s not like that. That first half is difficult.”
After three quarters, Glacier was starting to build on a 24-17 lead, its largest of the game. Flathead fought back with Maddie Walter’s three-pointer that got the Bravettes within two early in the fourth.
“We’d get a little bit of a lead, let them back into it, get a little bit of a lead, let them back into it,“ Sullivan said.
Leading by 6 points with 1:15 left in the fourth quarter after a well-timed timeout, Keller went six-for-six at the line to open a 10-point lead for the Wolfpack. A Flathead bucket at the buzzer made the final score 32-24.
“In big games, big players get free throws and that’s what we did tonight,” Sullivan said. “Ellie’s a good free throw shooter so a great person to have at the line, get fouled and then shoot the technicals.”
Aubrie Rademacher’s 12 points led the Wolfpack, as did her usual high-energy playing style.
“She hustles and she gets after it,” Sullivan said. “She’s all over the place, she gets hands on basketballs, she steals them, fast-break layups. We feed off that, and that’s pretty good.”
He added: “There are times when she’s gotta get herself a little more in control and she’d even have bigger games, but her effort is fantastic.”
Raley Shirey added 6 points and Kali Gulick scored 4 for Glacier.
Walter drained a trey late in the first quarter that cut Glacier’s lead to 8-6 and led the Bravettes with 12 points. Taylor Henley contributed 5 and Sadie Wilson scored 4 points.
Glacier next plays at Polson on Jan. 17 and Flathead hosts Helena High on Jan. 25.
Flathead 6 5 6 7 — 24
Glacier 8 4 12 8 — 32
FLATHEAD – Sadie Wilson 4, Maddie Walter 12, Jenna Johnson 3, Taylor Henley 5
GLACIER – Kali Gulick 4, Kenzie Williams 2. Aubrie Rademacher 12, Abi Manger 2, Ellie Keller 6, Linsey Waugh 6