Last Thursday at Dale Berry Court in Hamilton for an opening round of the Western A Divisional, the NWA Pirates and the SWA Beavers experienced the basketball equivalent of a meteorological phenomenon. It may have been snowing outside with polar vortex temperatures, but inside it started to rain. Unfortunately for the Pirates, it would the Dillon that created most of the precipitation from beyond the arc, although Polson did get in on some of the action.
Forcing your opponent to take a lot of long range shots usually would have worked to the Pirate’s advantage. An opponent who has to resort to longer range shooting usually means two things. First, your defense is denying penetration for higher percentage shots. Secondly, despite a three point shot having an additional bonus point over a deuce, triple shooting tends to have a lower precentage payoff, an average expectation ranging within the 30th percentile. Finally, when they miss, your team usually gathers in a goodly share of rebounds.
But for Dillon on this particular day, they must have been granted a special dispensation as their three-point shooting percentage more closely resembled that of the better free throw shooters. Dillon would splash 17 three-pointers over the course of the contest.
Ordinarily, netting eight from beyond the arc by the Pirate would have given Polson a good chance of prevailing in the matchup. But not when the opponent is making twice as many for their side. The end result would route the Pirates into the consolation bracket despite placing a trio in double figures.
Last Friday in a consolation round, the Pirates and the Bulldogs of Whitefish would clash for the fourth time this season, Polson having won the most recent encounter in the semifinal of the NWA Conference tournament.
After an even first frame, Polson put some distance between themselves and Whitefish with a big second quarter that extended the margin into double figure territory. The Bulldogs would trim the pare the deficit down into single figures during the third quarter, then mounted a rally in an effort to overtake the Pirates during the final frame.
With three minutes and change remaining, the Pirates were holding onto a precarious one point advantage, 51-50. Micah Askan would score a deuce, but Whitefish countered with a Lee Walburn triple from the corner to knot the contest at 53 all. Walburn would pilfer a Pirate possession and then slam dunk the ball as an exclamation point as Whitefish took over the lead 55-53, forcing a Polson time out.
With under a minute remaining, Micah Askan would attempt a triple to retake the lead, having shot 4-4 up to that point. Whitefish would rebound, move the ball up the court in what was expected to burn up clock and force the Pirates to foul. But a Bulldog shot was taken, perhaps with the intent of putting the final nail in the Pirate coffin, so to speak. Robin Erickson would snare the rebound. The Pirates would move the ball up, 18 seconds and ticking. A pass would thread its way in near the basket to Trevor Schultz, who attempted to put in a contested shot to tie the game. The shot would not go, but a trailing Colton Graham would net the putback to send the contest into overtime, 55 apiece.
In overtime, the Pirates would come out on the short end as their shots rimmed out or would not fall, while those of the Bulldogs acquired net, forcing Polson to send opposition players to the foul line.
Ryker Wenderoth would not let the Pirates wander off into the night, though, as he hit a pair of back-to-back triples in overtime, the second a deep bank well beyond NBA three point range to pull Polson within two, 63-65. But Whitefish would close things out at the free throw line to make it a two possession contest without enough time to counter.
The loss wrapped up the prep careers of seniors Parker Toth, Keyan Dalbey, Micah Askan, Robin Erickson as well as Connor Lanier and Kordell Walker, who were not able to finish out the season.
Whitefish 67, Polson 63 (OT)
Bo Kelley crested the century (100) point plateau for season scoring.
Polson (9-14), Whitefish (15-8)
Whitefish 12 13 12 18 12 – 67
Polson 12 25 8 10 8 – 63
POLSON – Micah Askan 6 0-0 16(3r,1a,1s) Colton Graham 4 0-0 10(4r,3a,1s), *Bo Kelley 4 0-0 10(2r), Ryker Wenderoth 3 1-2 9(5a), Trevor Schultz 3 0-0 7(1r,2a), Robin Erickson 3 0-6 6(3r,4a,2s), Parker Toth 1 1-2 3(2s), Trevor Lake 2(2r,2a).
WHITEFISH – Lee Walburn 26, Dillon Botner 17, Bodie Smith 9, Sam Menicke 6, Ryan Kemm 5, Mark Anderson 2, Justin Conklin 2.
3FGs – P11-17 (Askan 4-5, Wenderoth 2-2, Kelley 2-3, Graham 2-3, Schultz 1-3), W3-9 (Walburn 2-6, Smith 1-1). (Fr22Feb19gm12div)
Asterisk (*) denotes stat variant(s) where sideline specs differ from DBCvenue or media coverage: Trey Kelley misidentified
Dillon 81, Polson 34
Micah Askan crested the double century (200) point plateau for varsity career scoring.
NWA Polson (9-13), SWA Dillon (16-7)
Dillon 16 19 26 20 – 81
Polson 11 6 5 12 – 34
DILLON – Michael Haverfield 18, Justus Peterson 15, Dylan Cervelli 12, Braden Anderson 8, Warren DeMark 7, Alfred Peterson 6, Cole Johnston 6, Bradley Rakich 5, Cole Truman 4.
POLSON – Ryker Wenderoth 4 0-0 12(1r), Micah Askan 3 1-2 8(2r,2a), Bo Kelley 2 1-1 7, Parker Toth 0 4-4 4(1r,1s), Colton Graham 1 0-0 3(2r,5a,1s,1b), Trevor Lake (3r), Trevor Schultz 0(1r,1a,1s), Robin Erickson 0(1r,1s).
3FGs – D 17-21(M.Haverfield 5-5, Cervelli 4-4, Peterson 2-2, Anderson 2-3, Johnson 2-3, Rakich 1-1, DeMark 1-2 = 80%), P8-29 (Wenderoth 4-9, Kelley 2-8, Askan 1-2, Graham 1-5 = 27.6%) (Th21Feb19gm7div)