Bulldogs silence Lions in road victory
EUREKA — The Mission Bulldogs took a big step toward making the postseason with a 44-38 victory over the Lions in Eureka last Tuesday.
Coming off their worst defeat of the year, the Bulldogs rode a career night from center Jake Durglo for the six-point victory over the team that had ended their season the past two years. The win stopped a three-game skid for the Bulldogs, which included a 54-24 loss to Bigfork at St. Ignatius the night before.
Durglo finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs and carried them down the stretch. Mission coach Lloyd Phillips said that Durglo had a look in eyes that let his teammates know they weren't going to lose.
"Jake was definitely the difference in the game. Whenever we needed a basket we went to him," Phillips said.
With a career-high in scoring from Durglo, the Bulldogs were able to survive a cold night of shooting from their leading scorer, Jorren Gies. Gies finished with 10 points on 4-of-19 shooting from the field and 2-of -9 from the line.
"(Gies) didn't shoot well, but he was there when we needed him," Phillips said, adding that Gies worked the whole night and pulled down seven boards.
The Bulldogs took a 33-20 lead into the fourth quarter, before playing their fourth game in six nights caught up with them. Around the halfway mark of the final quarter, Phillips said his team started to look tired. The Lions started to make a run and hit their only two 3-pointers of the game on back-to-back trips down the court to cut the lead to six. Phillips said that after a timeout his team came out re-energized and re-composed and stopped the Lions' run to pick up the victory in a very tough place to win.
"I think that's one of the tougher places to win in Montana. For us to go up there and win, that was a big deal," said Phillips, who was never able to win in Eureka when he played at Mission.
The Lions beat the Bulldogs the past two years in a play-in game for the District 7-B Tournament. The win should give the Bulldogs confidence that they will be playing in the postseason this year, after a two-year absence. The win should also give them momentum heading into the break.
With the victory the Bulldogs improve to 3-3 and 1-1 in conference play. With a couple of narrow losses to Charlo and Ronan the week before, Phillips said that their record could easily be 5-1.
"I'm looking forward to what the new year brings," Phillips said.
The Bulldogs' first game of the new year will be in Noxon Jan. 7.
Bigfork 54, Mission 24
MISSION - Riley Whitworth-Charlo 2, Dylan Evans 2, Jorren Gies 8, Austin McDonald 7, Gui Silva 3, Jake Durglo 2.
Mission 44, Eureka 38
MISSION - Riley Whitworth-Charlo 2, Dylan Evans 2, Jorren Gies 11, Austin McDonald 6, Gui Silva 2, Jake Durglo 20, Josh Durglo 2.
EUREKA - Kade Davis 1, Jesse Thomson 2, Andrew Sanders 2, Tanner Peterson 4, Ryan Holder 21, Caleb Curtis 2, Bryton Gutenberg 7.