Wednesday, January 20, 2021
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Bravettes pick up speed but lose to Spartans

by FRITZ NEIGHBOR
Daily Inter Lake | January 7, 2021 10:58 PM

Missoula Sentinel showed it’s still a bully on the girls’ basketball block, but the Flathead Braves managed a fourth-quarter highlight you would not have predicted after the first 16 minutes.

Sentinel coach Karen Deden called timeouts 45 seconds apart.

“I told the girls that was a compliment,” first-year Flathead coach Sam Tudor said, after his team fell 61-45 Thursday to its Western AA foe. A half-court trap harried Sentinel into several turnovers, and the Bravettes made a game of it after intermission.

“I’m taking positives out of the whole game,” Tudor noted. “We anticipated a little bit of jitters – a lot of these girls haven’t started. But same with Sentinel – and Sentinel came out blazing. They hit a lot of good shots.”

Brooke Stayner was a force for Sentinel, getting nine first-half points on the way to 14. Her steal and layup capped a 14-0 first-quarter surge that put Sentinel up 16-4. The gap grew to 33-11 at 2:40 of the second quarter when reserve CC Size knocked down a 3-pointer and Olivia Huntsinger scored down low.

In a battle of full-court presses, the longer Spartans were supreme. In the second half Flathead was able to play some zone and then started trapping half-court. Sentinel (1-0) ended up with 20 turnovers and the Bravettes’ shots began to fall.

Clare Converse hit back-to-back baskets, senior Molly Winters scored twice and freshman reserve Kennedy Moore scored as Flathead kept pace in the third quarter.

Sophomore Maddy Moy hit a 3-pointer, then a fast-break layup as Flathead drew to 51-34 with 4:05 left. That drew one timeout; after a free throw from Sentinel’s Challis Westwater, Bridget Crowley scored in the lane to cut the gap to 52-36. Another time out, at 2:30.

That’s as close as it got: Size nailed her third 3-pointer to push Sentinel’s lead back to 19.

“They have some real talented players for sure,” Tudor said of the Spartans. “But at times we hung with them, and that was good to see.

“The big takeaway is we kept playing and improved. That’s the thing – I looked in those girls’ eyes and I knew they were going to improve after one game. We have 13 ahead of us and I’m very optimistic about this team. And they’re optimistic.”

Moy led Flathead with nine points, seven coming in the second half.

“It was just a matter of trying to get in that full-court transition game,” Tudor said. “Molly Winters (eight points) did a good job of getting us going today and Becca Eacker (six points) finished really well for us, down low. And that’s what she has to do for us to be in games.”

Huntsinger had a game-high 17 for Sentinel, which will play host to Glacier Saturday while Flathead travels to Missoula Big Sky. Megan Hamilton had 15 points and Size added nine to lead a strong bench for the Spartans.

Sentinel 16 19 12 14 - 61

Flathead 5 8 12 20 - 45

MISSOULA SENTINEL - Olivia Huntsinger 6-8 5-6 17, Challis Westwater 2-7 2-3 6, Brooke Stayner 4-7 6-8 14, Kodi Fraser 0-4 0-0 0, Jayden Salsbery 0-4 0-0 0, CC Size 3-5 0-0 9, Megan Hamilton 6-11 1-1 15, Hannah Hart 0-0 0-0 0, Charlotte Cummings 0-1 0-0 0, Lilly Allen 0-0 0-0 0, Aliyah Big Lake 0-0 0-0 0, Emily McElmurry 0-0 0-1 0. Totals 21-47 14-19 61.

FLATHEAD - Molly Winters 4-4 0-0 8, Bridget Crowley 3-7 1-3 7, Rebecca Eacker 3-4 0-0 6, Kuyra Sigel 2-9 2-2 7, Clare Converse 2-11 0-0 4, Maddy Moy 4-10 0-0 9, Akilah Kuby 0-1 0-2 0, Kennedy Moore 1-2 2-4 4, Avery Chouinard 0-2 0-0 0, Olivia Pate 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-50 5-11 45.

3-point goals - Sentinel 5-16 (Size 3-5, Hamilton 2-6,l Sayner 0-1, Fraser 0-2, Salisbury 0-2), Flathead 2-19 (Seigel 1-6, Moy 1-4, Crowley 0-2, Converse 0-5, Moore 0-1, Chouinard 0-1). Rebounds - Sentinel 31 (Stayner 8), Flathead 26 (Converse 9). Fouls - Sentinel 11, Flathead 17. Fouled out - None. Turnovers - Sentinel 20, Flathead 23.

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Flathead's Kennedy Moore (14) looks to shoot in the first half against Missoula Sentinel at Flathead High School on Thursday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

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Flathead's Kuyra Seigel (3) goes to the basket against Missoula Sentinel's Brooke Stayner (5) in the first half at Flathead High School on Thursday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

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Flathead's Clare Converse (15) drives to the basket in the first half against Missoula Sentinel at Flathead High School on Thursday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

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Flathead Bravettes head coach Sam Tudor speaks to the team during a timeout in the third quarter against Missoula Sentinel at Flathead High School on Thursday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)