Anemic stretches sink Chiefs in pair of losses
RONAN — A couple of anemic quarters led to a pair of conference losses for the Ronan Chiefs last week.
Ronan dropped a 54-45 game at home to Polson Tuesday, then lost 55-39 in Libby on Saturday. Both losses were keyed by offensive lapses that let the other team make crucial runs.
Polson used a 1-3-1 trap to open the second half that held the Chiefs to just four points in the third quarter. That 13-4 run built a 42-31 for Polson, which held off a 14-9 run by Ronan in the fourth.
Jerod Tanner led Ronan with 15 points and six rebounds. Lucus Black had six points, seven rebounds, four steals and six assists for the Chiefs.
"It was a good first half. It was a pretty emotional game," Ronan head coach Steve Woll said. "But we didn't show up in the third ... that was the game right there. They went man-to-man on us and we got really super stagnant in the third. That kinda slowed the pace down and we just didn't handle it very well. We just didn't take good shots. Instead of reacting, we were thinking."
The same thing happened in Libby, though earlier. Ronan opened well, earning a 13-13 tie through the first quarter. But then the wheels came off in the second quarter to the tune of a 17-2 run by Libby. It didn't get much better in the third quarter as the Chiefs managed just six points in the third before making an 18-14 run in the fourth with the game already out of reach.
Ronan got scoring from eight players but only one was in double-figures, led by Black's 10 points. Justin Dusty Bull had six points and six rebounds, while Marcus Hungerford had four points, three steals and two assists.
Ronan shot decent from the floor, going 14-for-23 inside the arc, but hit just two of 16 three-balls and four of eight free throw attempts.
"That second quarter ... that's the ballgame right there. The rest of the game is pretty even," coach Woll said. "We (always) have one down quarter. We got off to a pretty good start. We had a lead, but couldn't hold on to it."
Woll said his players are working hard, but there's still work to do.
"We're just struggling on the offensive end. We're giving up 55 points, but we should still have a chance to win. We've got some kids struggling to put the ball in the hole. But, I think it's going to come. We're getting close," Woll said. "We're running the offense, but not running it with a purpose. We're not reading and reacting. We're trying to fine tune, make adjustments and get the kids more comfortable. We're trying to get some more transition buckets and cut down on the other team's easy buckets ... it seems like we have to work hard for whatever we get. We're trying. We're trying."
Now 0-3 in conference and 1-7 overall, the road doesn't get any easier for the Chiefs this week. They'll travel to Bigfork Thursday to take on one of the better Class B teams in the west, then host defending state champ Columbia Falls on Friday night at the Ronan Event Center.
"Bigfork is tough and Columbia Falls has all the tools," Woll agreed.
Polson 54, Ronan 45
Polson 10 19 13 9–54
Ronan 11 16 4 14–45
POLSON - Vince DiGiallonardo 5, Kyle Bagnell 12, Cody Fischer 4, Tim Rausch 19, Derrick Rathe 5, Tyler Krell 9.
RONAN - Jerod Tanner 15, Gordon North Piegan 7, Marcus Hungerford 4, Lucus Black 6, Justin Dusty Bull 4, Kevin Wroblewski 9.
Libby 55, Ronan 39
Ronan 13 2 6 18–39
Libby 13 17 11 14–55
RONAN - Jerod Tanner 4, Gordon North Piegan 6, Robbie Gauthier 3, Marcus Hungerford 4, Lucus Black 10, Justin Dusty Bull 6, Kevin Wroblewski 4, Marley Tanner 2.
LIBBY - Micah Germany 1, T.J. Benson 6, Cree Maloney 7, Kelly May 19, Garrett Craig 5, Colton Cannon 5, Dan Webster 2, Alex Cislo 7.