Last week, the Browning Lady Indians basketball team easily put away the Lady Pirates in a home game on Thursday, Feb. 18, 75-34. Then on Saturday, Feb. 20, they exacted retribution for earlier losses to Whitefish by coming back in the second half to overtake the Lady Bulldogs, 39-31.
Coach Darryl “Poorboy” Croff said that Polson’s new coach is working to improve his team and its three-year search for a win. It didn’t happen in Browning, however, as Walker Running Crane led the way with 17 points, followed by Mishayla Croff with 12, Mecca Bullchild 11, Tatum Running Crane nine, Abby Bullcalf eight, Chalissa Kipp seven, Jazzy Wells and Jerel Whitegrass four, and Alena Burdeau with three points.
Whitefish presented an entirely different scenario for the Lady Indians. “We started off slow,” Coach Croff said. “It’s been the same all year when we’re not hitting, but we made some changes at the half and got better looks and put more pressure on them. We caused a lot of turnovers, kept the pressure on and our shooters warmed up.”
Browning solidly outscored the Lady Bulldogs throughout the second half to emerge with an eight-point margin of victory. Walker Running Crane led with 18 points, followed by Abby Bullcalf with six, Tatum Running Crane five, Mecca Bullchild four, Arena Matt three, Jerel Whitegrass two, and Chalissa Kipp with a point.
This week, the Lady Indians must win a “play-in game” against Polson in order to advance to divisional playoffs this week in Butte. While slated to play the game on Monday, Feb. 22, Coach Croff noted weather conditions over Marias Pass would likely postpone the game until Tuesday.
The coach anticipates winning against the Lady Pirates once more, and if that comes to pass, the Lady Indians will play Dillon at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25, at the MAC Center in Butte. He notes this season continues to be unique in that the games there take place at three-hour intervals to allow for sanitizing between them.
The Lady Indians finish the season with a 5-4 record, putting them into third in Northwestern A, behind leader Columbia Falls and second place Whitefish. While his team suffered from injuries early in the season, Coach Croff said his players are healthy and have their rotation working. “If our offense can be steady,” he said, “we should do well.”