The Columbia Falls boys basketball team suffered a pair of losses in Missoula over the weekend as they dropped games to Butte Central and Frenchtown at the Western A Tip Off Tournament.
The Wildcats ran into a tough squad in their opening game Friday as they took on a Butte Central team that returned all of its players from their deep playoff run last season. The Cats struggled from the opening tip, eventually falling to the Maroons, 60-35.
“We didn’t play with much energy on either end of the floor and they are a very good team,” head coach Chris Finberg said. “They make you fight for everything and they don’t make mistakes.”
The Cats fell behind 16-8 after one quarter of play and were outscored by 11 in the second quarter to trail 36-17 at the break. The Cats won the third quarter battle 14-10, but were outscored 14-4 in the fourth as the Maroons got the victory.
The Cats had only one player score in double figures in the contest as Drew Morgan finished with 10 points and three rebounds. Danny Henjum scored seven in the loss while Dillon Wanner had five, Logan Bechtel and William Dyon each scored three, Sam Hovde had three points and seven rebounds and jack Price and Dillon Shipp each scored two.
The Cats found themselves in another early hole against Frenchtown Saturday, but Columbia Falls fought back to take a lead in the third quarter before falling to the Broncs, 61-56.
“We dug ourselves another hole in the first quarter. We have done that in all three games so far this season,” Finberg said. “The turnover bug hit us again in the fourth quarter and that has been our downfall so far this year. I was proud of how we bounced back after being down, though. I thought we played well in the second and third quarters.”
Down by as many as 13 in the opening quarter, Dyon hit a three at the quarter buzzer for the Cats to cut the Broncs lead to 21-11 after eight minutes of play.
The Cats were able to cut further into the Frenchtown lead in the second quarter, coming as close as four on several occasions before the Broncs extended their lead to 37-29 at the half.
Morgan, Hovde and Shipp all scoring in the opening minutes of the third quarter as the Cats used an 11-3 run to tie the score at 40 each with four minutes to play. After Frenchtown regained the lead, Shipp gave the Cats their first lead of the game with three wtih 1:06 to play in the third. Frenchtown scored again to regain the lead with 11 second to go in the frame but Dyon hit his second buzzer-beating three of the game to put the Cats up 46-44 heading to the fourth.
The Broncs retook the lead for good midway through the fourth quarter as they Cats managed only 10 points in the final eight minutes.
The Cats will be at home against Glacier Thursday and at Flathead Saturday.
Columbia Falls 8 9 14 4 - 35
Butte Central 16 20 10 14 -60
C Falls – Scoring: Drew Morgan 10, Danny Henjum 7, Dillon Wanner 5, Logan Bechtel 3, William Dyon 3, Sam Hovde 3, Jack Price 2, Dillon Shipp 2. Rebounds: Hovde 7, Morgan 3, Zack Pletcher 3, Shipp 3, Bechtel 2, Dyon 1, Henjum 1.
Butte Central – NA
Columbia Falls 11 18 17 10 - 56
Frenchtown 21 16 7 17 - 61
C Falls – Scoring: Sam Hovde 15, Drew Morgan 13, Dillon Shipp 10, William Dyon 9, Dillon Wanner 9. Rebounds: Morgan 9, Hovde 8, Danny Henjum 5, Logan Bechtel 3, Zack Pletcher 3, Shipp 3, Wanner 2, Dyon 1.
Frenchtown – Cade Baker 20, Zack Baker 15, Brandon Finley 9, Hank Rugg 8, Tel Arthur 5, Ben Larson 2, Dawson Leishman 2. Rebounds: Finley 6, Arthur 5, Larson 4, Rugg 4, Baker 3, Aidan Cyr 1, Mason Pyron 1, Devin Shelton 1.