Kenney shines in the paint, leads Polson to two more wins
POLSON — It was a different way of winning for Polson's Lady Pirates, but win they did over two Bitterroot teams.
Polson post Riley Kenney powered her way to double-figures in the paint on Thursday and Saturday. The 5'10" sophomore scored 18 points and hauled in seven rebounds to key Polson's 58-45 in Hamilton Thursday night. Then she poured in 20 more on Saturday at home to lead Polson to a 53-39 win over Stevensville.
Kenney was 9-for-10 from the field on Saturday night, adding four rebounds.
"That is pretty danged good," Polson head coach Randy Kelley noted. "Riley does a lot of good things and has been playing real well. She does a good job off the high post and her teammates did a good job of getting the ball to her."
Kenney sparked a strong 20-point second quarter for Polson, which otherwise looked a little off on the offensive end. Breanne Kelley did score 13 and Sierra Pete hit for nine off the bench. But the Lady Pirates didn't seem to have a shooting rhythm outside.
"Bre needs to find her touch. At the free throw line she's lost some confidence. She works hard on defense," coach Kelley said of his daughter, who had four steals. "She's definitely a streak shooter ... she's just got to find that touch again."
Forward Nicole Davey's offense was down a bit with just five points on the night, but she hauled in 12 boards.
"It was just a different game. We've had three games like that," coach Kelley noted. "Against Stevi we had 21 turnovers and went 11-for-28 from the free throw line. If you cut the turnovers to 10 or 15 and hit some free throws and it's not even close. We worked hard ... it was just one of those nights where it felt like we put up only 33 points instead of 53."
In Hamilton, Polson got an early lead and held on against an odd offensive strategy by the Lady Broncs, who primarily looked for three-pointers.
"They were kind of living or dying on the three," Kelley explained.
It didn't work very well for three quarters. Hamilton scored just seven points in the second quarter and put up just two free throws in the third quarter, leading to a 41-20 Polson lead heading into the fourth.
But in the fourth, the Lady Broncs started to hit their long-balls as they put up 25 points over the final eight minutes. But Polson kept scoring and cruised to the comfortable 58-45 win.
Kenney had 18 points and seven rebounds, while Pete scored 14 and Davey hit for nine points, hauling in nine boards.
The Lady Pirates shot well, going 20-for-35 from the floor for 57 percent.
"We shot well and we were taking great shots, even when we got up and down the court. Riley another big game," Kelley noted. "She's got a knack for being at the right spot at the right time, sometimes down low and sometimes at the high post. She's doing a lot of good things."
The coach also credited Mariah Hamel for scoring nine points and taking good care of the ball.
"All the girls did a nice job of moving the ball and finding an open girl," Kelley said.
Now 11-2 and 4-0 in conference play, the Lady Pirates have one game this week and it is a big one. Polson hosts the Columbia Falls Wildkats on Thursday for a showdown of the top two teams in the Northwestern A.
The Wildkats have a lot of size and presence in the paint with the DeWit sisters — 6'2" junior Kayla DeWit and 6'1" senior Kelsey DeWit. Kayla is the second-leading scorer in the conference at 19.25 points per game and Kelsey is third at 13.58 ppg. They are also the top two rebounders in the conference. Kelsey also averages three blocks per game.
"We've got a game plan for them. But having a game plan is one thing and executing it is another," coach Kelley said. "But we've definitely got to try to shut those two down."
Polson 58, Hamilton 45
Polson 16 9 16 17–58
Hamilton 11 7 2 25–45
POLSON - Kendyall Rochin 2, Mariah Hamel 9, Sierra Pete 14, Breanne Kelley 6, Riley Kenney 18, Nicole Davey 9.
HAMILTON - Misha Trotter 5, Karie Albert 12, Jill Harmon 3, Rebecka Hood 7, Anne Schultz 18.
Polson 53, Stevensville 39
Stevi 9 13 8 9–39
Polson 12 20 13 8–53
STEVI - Lakyn Connors 4, McKenzie Sebastian 7, Britney Chilcott 2, Alexa Omlid 3, Maddie Jones 9, Blaire Brookshire 14.
POLSON - Mariah Hamel 3, Sierra Pete 9, Breanne Kelley 13, Riley Kenney 20, Kayla Duford 3, Nicole Davey 5.