HAMILTON -- One day after being pushed to the brink of its first loss of the season, Missoula Loyola started quickly and never looked back as the Breakers defeated the Bigfork Valkyries 50-29 in the Western B girls basketball divisional championship game on Saturday evening at Hamilton High School.
The Breakers were in control from the start and quickly jumped to a 20-6 lead after senior Sam Clevenger found junior Violet WhiteGrass for an easy layup. The Breakers would head into half up 24-8.
"We came out and had a very solid plan defensively," Loyola coach Travis Walker said. "The girls did an incredible job in the first half. I'm just very proud of the effort they had defensively (Saturday)."
From there Loyola continued to cruise. Sophomore Lani Walker knocked down a 3-pointer with 6:29 left in the fourth quarter to make it 42-24 and the celebration was on for the Breakers.
"We have an amazing team," Lani Walker said. "Our coaches do an amazing job. We just have an amazing support system throughout this whole community we have.
"Everybody has stepped up and gained a lot of confidence since the beginning of the season. And it's just been great to see that we've been playing really good and our defense has stepped up a lot and shots have been falling."
Walker, Loyola's leading scorer, missed almost four weeks with a knee injury. She came off the bench in the first two games of the divisional tournament but started on Saturday in the title game.
Loyola improves to 23-0 with the victory.
"(The girls) have an incredible will and they love playing for each other," Travis Walker said. "They never cease to amaze with the things that they do, not just in games but in practice. Our girls push each other hard during practice in the week and I think that's part of the success we have."
Bigfork (14-9) will also advance to the State B tournament. Thompson Falls won the consolation game and the Valkyries beat the Bluehawks in Friday's semifinal, so a challenge game for that second spot is not possible.
The boys and girls State B basketball tournament is March 12-14 in Butte.