The Lady Falcons of Florence came back up the loser’s bracket to challenge Eureka on Saturday afternoon for a chance to go to state. Florence opened with a win over Thompson Falls and then lost to Deer Lodge, the eventual champion. They then topped Bigfork in loser out action, and Loyola in the consolation game. They were able to challenge Eureka because the two had not played each other in the tournament.
“We played five games in four days,” said coach Bryan Neuman. “That’s pretty significant considering how we play.”
Florence plays an up-tempo game that has both teams running full out as hard as they can. With Neuman ‘platooning’ five players in and out every two minutes, their opponents have a difficult time getting into any rhythm.
Eureka and Florence hadn’t played each other this year but Neuman was familiar with the Lady Lions. “They were bigger and more physical but we are a lot faster.”
Florence trailed at the half but came back to outscore Eureka in the final two periods and get the 67-55 win and punch their ticket to the state tournament. Megan Byrne finished with 23 points including hitting seven of 10 shots from the charity line.
Florence 67, Eureka 55
Florence – Megan Byrne 23, Cass Skeers 2, Courtney Byrne 5, Jill Harris 3, Cody Miller 10, Paige Bodner 2, Courtney Austin 2, Carli O’Brien 9, Kyndall Hoff 11.
Eureka – Holland 12, White 19, Larson 4, Morgan 9, Allen 4, Williams 4, Peterson 3.
The Lady Falcons came from behind to defeat the Thompson Falls Bluehawks, 67-61, in their opening game at the Western B Divisional. A 16 point fourth quarter put Florence up behind the scoring of Megan and Courtney Byrne who each scored 14 points in the game. Carli O’Brien added another 13 points including three treys.
Florence 67, Thompson Falls 61
Florence – M. Byrne 14, Skeers 2, C. Byrne 14, Harris 3, Miller 9, Bodner 7, Austin 4, O’Brien 13, Hoff 1.
Thompson Falls – K. Fitchett 18, Reid 10, Padden 2, Vaught 5, Beckman 7, Hannum 13, M. Fitchett 6.
The win put the Lady Falcons into the semi finals where they met Deer Lodge once again. The Wardens had come out on top every time the two teams met this season and this was the case again. The Wardens jumped out to an early lead and went on to win, 80-60. Miller had 14 points for Florence and Hoff added 13.
Deer Lodge 80, Florence 60
Florence – M. Byrne 7, Skeers 8, C. Byrne 4, Bodner 5, Harris 3, Hailey Huot 4, Miller 14, O’Brien 2, Hoff 13.
Deer Lodge – Thomas 9, Padovich 6, Christnacht 17, Gray 2, Senecal 14, Therriault 24, Lombardi 2, Walker 6.
Friday morning, the Lady Falcons took on Bigfork in loser out action. Florence jumped out early and went on to win, 52-39. Megan Byrne had 12 points including three treys to lead Florence. Her sister, Courtney, added 10 and Hoff had 11 points in the win.
Florence met Loyola in the consolation game. Florence beat the Breakers in both regular season games but lost to them in the seeding tournament last weekend.
“We didn’t change anything against any of the teams,” said Neuman. “We want to make them react to us.”
Florence had a 21 point second quarter to give them the edge. They also shot 32 of 46 free throws and took third with a 64-51 win.
Florence 64, Loyola 51
Florence – M. Byrne 7, Skeers 4, C. Byrne 14, Bodner 5, Harris 6, Huot 4, Miller 11, Austin 2, O’Brien 5, Hoff 6.
Loyola – Crippen 8, Tirrell 26, Round 4, Dawald 5, Hollenback 2, Schneider 4, Mitzel 2.
Florence will play Conrad at 8pm on Thursday, March 7th, in Butte at the state Class B tournament.