Bravettes bow to Bruins

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Flathead's Maddie Walter (5) looks to shoot in front of Helena Capital's Paige Bartsch (21) in the first half at Flathead High School on Saturday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

Flathead buried eight 3-pointers but was punished in the paint as Helena Capital rolled over the Bravettes 62-36 in Western AA girls basketball action on Saturday afternoon at Flathead High School.

The loss followed a more competitive defeat to undefeated Helena High the night before.

“The girls should be proud of themselves and their effort this weekend,” Flathead assistant coach Hope Hedges said.

“I thought they made a big stride to where they want to be in the future, and I think we can build off this weekend.”

Head coach Tricia Dean was out with an illness.

The Bravettes (5-5 overall, 1-3 conference) torched the Bruins (10-1, 4-1) from long-range, making six 3-pointers in the first half. Unfortunately, the team struggled with Capital’s size and failed to register a 2-point field goal before halftime.

Meanwhile, the Bruins fed the ball into the post and used their size to dominate from close-range and from the free-throw line, where they went 12 of 14 in the first half.

Dani Bartsch was especially tough down low, scoring 10 points in the half on her way to a team-high 14.

“I thought offensively we did a better job with their size than we did defensively,” Hedges said.

“[Offensively] I thought we handled their pressure well tonight. We really got after it and got up the floor, and were able to make some smart decisions, especially with their size.”

One smart decision was getting the ball to Maddie Walter on the perimeter — she buried four triples in the first half, including one with five seconds left to keep the deficit in the single digits at the intermission, 30-21.

Walter added another 3-pointer in the fourth quarter to finish with a game-high 15 points.

“She’s really stepping up and shooting with confidence,” Hedges said of Walter.

But the Bruins took control of the game in the third quarter. After Taylor Henley made Flathead’s first 2-point field goal early in the frame, the Bravettes had no answers for the Bruins in the paint as Capital went on a 16-1 run to grab an insurmountable 48-24 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Still, Hedges was thrilled with her team’s effort.

“I know it’s hard for the girls to come in like that — the head coach is sick, the person that they look to — and just that little change can be hard. And they came out in the first half and played pretty well,” she said.

“Like I told them, they should keep their heads up. Now they know they can compete with any team in the state. We’ve just gotta do it for 32 minutes.”

After a tough shooting night on Friday, Flathead’s Jenna Johnson bounced back with 10 points and three treys. Henley finished with seven points.

Ten players scored for the Bruins and four managed double-digits. Sidney Sheridan had 12 and Paige Bartsch and Emily Kidder each added 11.

Flathead will try and snap a three-game losing streak when it hosts Missoula Hellgate on Thursday.

Helena Capital 18 12 18 14 – 62

Flathead 13 8 3 12 – 36

CAPITAL – Cassie Brisko 2, Mashayla O’Malley 3, Megan Lindbo 2, Paige Bartsch 11, Sidney Sheridan 12, Emily Kidder 11, Dani Bartsch 14, Nicole Ames 2, Mara McGinley 3, Jaymee Sheridan 2.

FLATHEAD – Sadie Wilson 2, Maddie Walter 15, Jenna Johnson 10, Taylor Henley 7, Rebecca Eacker 2.

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