At the Ronan Events Center last weekend at the Western B Divisional, the Mission Bulldogs not only bared some teeth and did some growling, but the team took some bites out of the competition they faced as they played some of the best basketball of the season.
However, Mission could not keep pace with a strong Missoula Loyola team in a challenge game held Tuesday in Ronan. The Breakers buried the Bulldogs, 84-41, to earn a berth in the Class B State Tournament.
This past Thursday in an opening round game, Mission heard some roaring by the Lions of Eureka as the Bulldogs were only able to scratch together a half dozen lead at intermission. But once the second half commenced, Mission stepped on the accelerator as they better than doubled up on their opponent during the final frames. Jedi Christy, Flint McPherson and Jacob Hugs combined to tally more than three dozen to advance the Bulldogs into the next round.
Mission’s opponent for the semifinal round was the defending State B champion Bigfork Vikings, a well rounded team that would require their best efforts to keep pace. A combination of high percentage shot execution coupled with sound defense kept Mission within two possessions of the champs.
The Bulldogs stepped up their game in the second quarter, outscoring the Vikings when Wacey McClure drained a deuce to pull within three before intermission.
Shortly into the third period after halftime, Lucas Vanderburg would be fouled underneath after netting a putback, would complete his “and-one” bonus for a three point play that would knot the contest at 38 apiece. The tie seemed to climb somewhat into the heads of the Vikings for a short while, but then it seemed they tried to shake off the laying down of the gauntlet by Mission by going to work on what had gotten them to this juncture of the postseason.
Mission continued to compete, playing well down the stretch, but some defensive lapses allowed some easy Viking transition baskets off what are sometimes called “cherry picks,” an outlet pass hurled down the court to an unchallenged teammate who usually nets an uncontested layup.
Had the Bulldogs been able to tighten down on several of those transition baskets, the outcome of the game could have hinged on a single possession toward the end. Jacob Hugs led the team with 20 points, while Lucas Vanderburg along with Wacey McClure collaborated on contributing another 20 points.
One never knows how a team might respond during a morning game after playing late the previous evening in which they incurred a loss. But Mission displayed lots of energy, whether derived in part from an imbibing of quadruple lattes or not, and harnessed the momentum early to stake themselves to a double figure lead against the Falcons of Florence-Carleton.
The even frames were played much more tightly by the Falcons, but Mission showcased a bundle of offensive firepower and energy during the odd frames to pave the outcome of this contest on a predictable path. Jacob Hugs led all scorers with 22 points that included an impressive trio of sequential threes splashed during the third quarter.
Mission would continue to execute at a high level during the consolation championship with solid shot selectivity and ample energy against the Wardens of Deer Lodge. The Bulldogs consistently outscored the Wardens through the first three frames as they placed a trio of players in double figures with Jacob Hugs netting two dozen and Lucas Vanderburg along with Jedi Christy combining for over a tally of 20.
Western B consolation
Mission 67, Deer Lodge 53
Lucas Vanderburg crested the double century (200) point plateau for season scoring, while Jedi Christy crested the triple century (300) point plateau for season scoring.
Mission (13-9), Deer Lodge (16-6)
Deer Lodge 11 17 12 13 – 53
Mission 18 21 16 12 – 67
MISSION ST. IGNATIUS – *Jacob Hugs 24(4r,2a), Lucas Vanderburg 5 1-3 11(5r,1a), Jedi Christy 3 4-4 10(4r,2a,1s,1b), Wacey McClure 3 1-3 8(3r,4r,4s,3b), Matt Anderson 3 0-0 6(2r,1a), Flint McPherson 2 0-0 5(5r,5a,1s), Layne Spidel 2(1a,2s), *Davien Adams 0 1-2 1, Jadence Peone (2s), Trance Bird (1s).
DEER LODGE – Dyllon McDermid 15, Ben Anderson 10, Dalton Pauley 8, Judd Applegate 6, Logan Nicholson 6, Ozzie King 6, Greydon Nicholson 2.
3FGs – DL4 (Nicholson 2, Applegate, King), MSI6 (Hugs 4, F.McPherson, McClure). (Sa23Feb19gm22div)
Asterisk (*) denotes stat variant(s) where informal JH tally differs from media coverage: Hugs 22p(M=65p)
Mission 67, Florence 39 lo
Mission (12-9), Florence (3-18)
Florence 3 13 11 12 – 39
Mission 15 15 25 12 – 67*
FLORENCE –JP Briney 17, Brendan Bailey 6, Parker Hotsinpiller 6, Blake Shoupe 5, Jacob Round 3,
Jake Scully 1, Beau Neal 1.
MISSION ST. IGNATIUS – Jacob Hugs 9 1-1 22(3r,1a), Jedi Christy *14(4r,2a), Lucas Vanderburg 4 0-1 8(7r,2s), Flint McPherson *8(6r), Matt Anderson 2 1-2 5(3r,1a,3s), Wacey McClure *4(5r,8a,3s,4b), Davian Adams 3(1r), Trance Bird 2(2r,1s), Layne Spidel 0 1-4 1(7r,2s), Jordan Matt (1r), noID (2a).
3FGs – F6 (Briney 5, Shoupe), MSI5 (Hugs 3, McClure, Adams)(Sa23Feb19gm19div)
Asterisk (*) denotes stat variant(s) where informal JH tally differs from media coverage: MSI3Q25p,4Q12p. Christy 12p(4 4-4 12), McClure 9p(3 2-3 9), F.McPherson 5p(2 1-1 5),
Western B semifinal
Bigfork 67, Mission 53
Both Jacob Hugs and Wacey McClure simultaneously crested the double century (200) point plateau for season scoring, while Hugs also surpassed the half millennial (500) mark for varsity career scoring.
Mission (11-9), Bigfork (18-2)
Bigfork 20 18 17 12– 67
Mission 16 19 11 7 – 53
BIGFORK – Logan Gilliard 23, Colton Reichenbach 22, Luke Schmit 13, Clayton Reichenbach 6, Anders Epperly 3(17a).
MISSION ST. IGNATIUS – Jacob Hugs 7 4-5 20(3r,1a), Lucas Vanderburg 4 3-3 11(4r,1a,), Wacey McClure 3 3-4 9(4r,3a,2s), Flint McPherson 2 1-2 5(6r,1a), Jedi Christy 2 0-0 4(4r,1a,2s), Layne Spidel 2(2r), Jordan Matt 2(1r).
3FGs – B0, MSI (Hugs 2). (Fr22Feb19gm16div)
Mission 57, Eureka 34
Matt Anderson crested the century (100) point plateau for season scorin, while Jedi Christy crested the quadruple century (400) point plateau for varsity career scoring.
6B Mission (11-8), 7B Eureka (5-14)
Eureka 10 12 6 6 – 34
Mission 16 12 15 14 – 57
EUREKA – Cory Chaney 14, Jake Kindel 6, Corbin Hurst 5, Alex Lowe 4, AJ Pacella 3, Quade Anderson 2.
MISSION ST. IGNATIUS – Jedi Christy 6 3-4 15(2r,2a2s), Flint McPherson 5 0-0 11(6r,2a,4s,1b), Jacob Hugs 4 2-2 11(2r,3a,6s,1b), Wacey McClure 4 0-0 8(9r,6a,4s), Lucas Vanderburg 0 4-6 4(5r,1s,1b), Jordan Matt 4(2r), Matt Anderson 2(3r,2a), Layne Spidel 2(2r).
3FGs – E3 (Pachella, Kindel, Hurst), MSI2 (Hugs, F.McPherson). (Th21Feb19gm8div)
Expanded stat specs derived from informal JH tally. Some details may vary from official summary.