At the Salish Kootenai College gym in Pablo, the host Polson Pirates checked the reins on the visiting Broncs for most of the way.
Frenchtown was held to a dozen points below their season average. Pirate defensive efforts kept a lid on their most potent long range sharpshooter Cade Baker as well as their leading deuce scorer Brandon Finley, containing the two to half their combined points per game average. While the margin of separation was precarious, Pirate efforts were sufficient for three quarters and a half.
Unfortunately, another proficient point producer would emerge from the shadows as Mason Pyron scored a season high after averaging a mere 2.8 ppg. over the course of the previous five games. Pyron would score a dozen of the Bronc 14 during a crucial second period that cut the Pirate lead in half before intermission instead of the alternative of hanging a double digit deficit around their manes.
Entering the final frame, a fourth triple by Pyron cut the Polson lead to a mere point 35-34, precipitating a timeout. When the Pirates were unsuccessful in crafting a comparable counter, Finley would break containment for a crucial deuce that swung the hinge of momentum in Frenchtown’s favor for a 36-35 lead.
A pair of unanswered deuces would put the Pirates behind the eight ball with a two possession deficit.
The Pirates would battle back within a point 41-40 with 43 seconds and change remaining, but would be unsuccessful in converting on a couple of key possessions while the Broncs closed out the contest at the charity stripe.
The Pirates will get another crack at harnessing the Broncs in Frenchtown toward the latter part of the month. Polson will have already faced Stevensville in the Bitterroot, then travel to Ronan for the first phase of their annual Rez roundball rivalry wrangle on Friday, followed by a trip to Columbia Falls on Saturday. The freshmen and junior varsity boys play in Polson on Thursday.
Frenchtown 43, Polson 40
Colton Graham crested the triple century (300) point plateau for varsity career scoring.
NWA Polson (2-4), SWA Frenchtown (4-2)
Frenchtown 4 14 11 14 – 43
Polson 12 10 11 7 – 40
FRENCHTOWN – Mason Pyron 19, Brandon Finley 9, Hank Rugg 4, Devin Shelton 4, Carson Shepherd 4, Cade Baker 3. 17-50 5-9 43
POLSON – Colton Graham 5 1-2 13, Trevor Lake 4 1-2 9, Gunner Grisak 3 0-0 6, Xavier Fisher 2 0-2 5, Anton Lefthand 3, Ryker Wenderoth 1 0-1 2, Bo Kelley 0 2-4 2.
3FG – F4-12 (M.Pyron 4-5), P4 (Graham 2, Lefthand, X.Fisher). REB – F24 (Rugg 5, Zack Baker 5), P35 (Grisak 13, T.Lake 6, Graham 5, Wenderoth 3, X.Fisher 3, Lefthand, B.Kelley, Trey Kelley, Sam Fisher, Jarrett Wilson). AST – F13 (Z.Baker 5, C.Baker 3), P11 (Graham 3, Wenderoth 2, Lefthand, Grisak, X.Fisher, B.Kelley, T.Kelley, Braunsen Henriksen). STL – F9 (Rugg 3, Z.Baker 3), P6 (T.Lake 2, B.Kelley 2, Lefthand, Wenderoth). BLK – F3 (Arthur, Finley, Shelton). (Sa04Jan20)
Expanded stat specs derived from informal JH tally. Some details may vary from official summary.