HELENA — Kalispell Glacier head coach Amanda Cram was asked to describe her team following it's come-from-behind win over Helena High Thursday night and relentless is the one word that came to mind.
It's also a fitting one, because the relentless effort of the Wolfpack — on the offensive glass, defensively and with arguably their best player on the bench with foul trouble — led to a critical 54-47 victory in the Jungle.
"Our goal was to come in, play our game and be relentless," Cram said. "It's a word we talk about often, what does it mean to be relentless? And also, as a program, we have the expectation to win and we have tried to coach our girls to have a winning mindset as opposed to playing not to lose."
That mindset certainly helped in the third quarter, when Glacier, trailing by three points, saw its leading scorer, Ellie Keller check out of the game with four fouls.
Down 34-31, the timing wasn't ideal. But the Wolfpack and their senior-laden roster responded to the challenge with four straight to close the third quarter, then added the first seven of the final stanza to grab a 42-34 lead.
The run included key plays from a number of players including Kaylee Fritz, who knocked down a 3-pointer and scored on an offensive board.
"Having Ellie in foul trouble is something we have dealt with a few times this year," Cram said. "But having that happen tonight and to have everyone be cool, calm and collected tells me all I need to know about this team. I think we can go a lot farther than our record indicates."
Helena High made a final run thanks to five straight points from Alex Bullock, who kept the Bengals in it with 19 total on a 6-for-7 shooting effort from the field and a 7-for-8 showing at the free throw line.
However, a 3-pointer from Emma Anderson, who wound up with 11 for the Wolfpack ended up being the dagger. The Bengals trimmed the lead to five points with 10 seconds thanks to Kylie Lantz's second trey of the night, but it was too little too late.
"In our four wins this year, we have closed out teams in the fourth quarter," Helena High head coach Ben Dudek said. "So we can finish games. But in games like this, against really good teams, it comes down to making plays in the fourth quarter and they just made a few more than we did."
In the first quarter, Lantz scored five points and hit a 3-ball as Helena built a 12-7 advantage. But the Wolfpack, who were cold early from 3-point range, hit a few in the second and evened the scored at 21-21 going into the half.
Avery Kraft drained two triples and a step-back jumper early in the third quarter to help the Bengals grab a three-point lead but a 9-of-23 effort from the free throw line worked against HHS in the seven-point loss.
Kenzie Williams was the top scorer for the Wolfpack with 16 points and two 3-pointers. Anderson also finished with a double-double, racking up 11 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.
In addition to Bullock's 19 points, the sophomore grabbed seven rebounds. Lantz and Kraft both finished with eight points.
"Alex is really starting to understand what she needs to do to be successful," Dudek said. "She's so strong, so physical and she's always in the right position. She's got a great left hand."
Glacier (7-5) will host Helena Capital Saturday. The Bengals (4-6) will travel to Kalispell to take on Flathead.