Glacier jumped out to a big early lead and never trailed, rolling over Flathead 46-35 in Western AA boys basketball action on Friday night at Glacier High School.
The Wolfpack (3-4 overall, 2-0 conference) had a 13-5 lead after one quarter and a 20-5 lead minutes into the second, their tight defense forcing the Braves (4-4, 1-1) into sloppy turnovers and few good looks at the basket.
“They battled tonight, they played real hard. I am excited for them,” Glacier coach Mark Harkins said of his team.
“We had a great team defensive effort ... they helped each other out, they switched on screens, they took care of each other. And they rebounded well.”
Harkins also commended Drew Deck’s defensive efforts at point guard, as he helped slow down the Braves’ fast-paced transition offense.
Flathead coach Ross Gustafson said his team struggled with ball movement and making aggressive moves toward the basket.
“I thought Glacier played really tough ... forced us into playing back on our heels.” Gustafson said.
The Braves finally found their stride late in the second quarter, finishing the first half on a 13-3 run to cut the deficit to 23-18 at the intermission. They were buoyed by Glacier going 3 of 12 from the charity stripe in the quarter.
“Our zone defense started to get a few turnovers ... and we got a couple of transition buckets, which helped out,” Gustafson said.
Meanwhile, both teams’ leading scorers — Flathead’s Gabe Adams and Glacier’s Bret Michaels — were called for their third fouls late in the second quarter.
Michael Schwarz picked up the slack for the Wolfpack on the offensive end, burying five triples for a game-high 15 points.
“He kind of got in a bit of a slump the last couple games, and tonight he came out and let it fly and shot with confidence. You could tell in his body language,” Harkins said.
“He had a great game. Those shots were huge.”
The Wolfpack held onto a 5-point lead after three quarters, but Schwarz knocked down two 3-pointers in a 10-3 Wolfpack run that opened the fourth quarter and put the game out of reach for Flathead.
Ethan Baines had 7 points for Glacier, and Drew Engellant and Cole Crosby had 6 apiece.
“This is a team effort. I thought the kids that came off the bench did a huge job for us tonight,” Harkins said.
“It was everybody, it was everybody that was there. The crowd was awesome. I’m really proud of our guys.”
Tannen Beyl had 9 points to lead the Braves, and was 6 of 6 from the free-throw line. Adams had 8 points in a rough shooting night.
With the Braves’ next game two weeks away, Gustafson said his team will work to find some answers on the offensive end.
“We’re not on the same page right now and so we’ve got to polish up a few things,” he said.
Glacier returns to the court to host Polson next Thursday.
Flathead’s next outing is Jan. 25 at Helena High.
Flathead 5 13 8 9 – 35
Glacier 13 10 8 15 – 46
FLATHEAD – Tannen Beyl 9, Stephen Bridges 5, Seth Moon 2, Blake Counts 6, Gabe Adams 8, Anthony Jones 5.
GLACIER – Drew Deck 1, Ethan Baines 7, Weston Price 5, Cole Crosby 6, Drew Engellant 6, Kyle Buckingham 2, Michael Schwarz 15, Bret Michaels 4.