Story from Buttesports.com
By Bruce Sayler
This game was all about tenses — intense, present tense and future tense — as the Butte High boys rode a hot first half to a 46-36 win over their Butte Central counterparts Thursday night.
The 2017 version of the intra-city basketball rivalry was played to more than 3,000 spectators in the Butte Civic Center. The result marked the Class AA Bulldogs’ third straight victory over their Class A in-town rivals and increased their lead in the overall series to 98-76-1.
Senior Evan Anderson gunned in four 3-point baskets on his way to 17 points as Butte High’s only double-digit scorer. Eleven of those points went into the scorebook in the first quarter.
Butte High rattled off the first 12 points of the game and Butte Central never caught up, cutting the deficit to nine points twice, but not anymore.
The Bulldogs took only 29 shots from the floor the entire game, but made 16 of them for a success rate of 55 percent. At the same time, their defense was stifling against a younger BC squad.
“Our defense definitely did a great job on (Nate) McGree and (Dan) McCloskey,” Butte High head coach Luke Powers said about shutting down Butte Central’s season scoring leaders. “It was great total team defense.
“But there were a lot of negatives we can take from tonight, too, to work on. Central, though, had something to do with those negatives. Give a lot of credit to Butte Central and Coach (Brodie) Kelly. They played hard.”
The Bulldogs were on-target with their defense. No Butte Central scored a point until McGree took a pass from Tanner Kump to the hole with 4 minutes and 44 seconds left in the first half. By then, Butte High had owned an 18-6 command.
Anderson scored nine of those first 12 points as Butte High gained control 14-4 in the first quarter. Cade Holter came off the bench and sank a free throw for BC’s first point before teammate Tyge Yelenich subbed in and knocked down a 3-pointer before the quarter ended.
Butte Central whittled the difference to under 10 points, 21-12, on a Kump free throw with 2:36 left in the half and did so again on a pair of Holter foul shots 2 minutes later. The Bulldogs had responded with two inside baskets from reserve Austin Lee and held the 25-14 halftime advantage.
The Bulldogs’ frustration in the first half was that leading scorer Brock Powell was held scoreless by the work of McGree and other Maroon inside players. Powers said, too, that Powell sprained an ankle in the half battling the BC defense and considered putting him on the bench for the rest of the game so as not to worsen the injury.
Kelly, who used as many as four freshmen in the contest, said he expected better play from his team.
“We lost to a better, more mature and more confident basketball team,” he said. “We did not play a good first half, but I still thought we were in the game.”
The halftime margin was 25-14.
“It makes it hard to feel any momentum when you can’t put the ball in the hole,” Kelly said. “We’re lacking self-belief, right now. I feel that our team is underachieving and that responsibility is on me.”
The third quarter ended with Butte High’s lead at 41-20. Subs played much of the final quarter and Butte Central went on a 16-2 run to close the game.
“I’m searching for positives,” Kelly said. “Cade Holter played a scrappy game for us as he usually does. He always plays hard.
“Give Butte High credit. They’re great at a lot of things they’re doing.”
Butte Central out-rebounded Butte High by 10 as Holter gathered seven.
Anderson was one of four seniors in the Bulldogs’ lineup. Another, Powell, wound up with eight second-half points and also pulled down five rebounds. The other two, Travis Williams and Ryson Lovshin, finished with five and four points in their last Butte High-Butte Central game.
“It definitely feels good to win that game,” Anderson said. “We came out really fast and really intense, and that gave us momentum that kept us going for the rest of the game.”
Anderson was particularly accurate from the corner during his personal 6-for-8 shooting night from the court.
“I definitely like the corner,” he said. “But this was a defensive battle. We just hit more shots down the stretch. I feel like we are playing confident. We worked really hard in the offseason and bought into the program. It gave us confidence.’
While BC was holding Powell to single digits, the Butte High defense was doing the same to the Maroons’ two top scorers — McGree and McCloskey.
Lee finished with four points and another Bulldog senior, Zach Archibald, netted a 3-pointer. Kelly, the sophomore starter at point guard, also drilled a 3-ball. Latham Ricketts finished with two points, and Tommy Mellott, Nathaniel Ferguson, Trevyn Roth, Clay Ferguson and Carter Pribnow also played. Butte High is 6-3 this season and won’t play again until Jan. 20 at Billings Senior, returning to Eastern AA Conference competition.
“We found a way to win and we’re 6-3, and city champions,” Powers said. “Now, we’ll need to do a good job in conference games and maybe get a chance to play at the state tournament.”
Holter led Butte Central with 11 points — canning a long 3-pointer at the final buzzer to reach double digits — and McCloskey was next-high with five. Both are sophomores. McGree, senior Sam Johnston and freshman Matt Simkins had four points apiece, Yelenich hit the 3-pointer, and freshmen Luke Heaphy and Aaron Richards each scored two points. Kump caged a free throw. Senior Archie Petritz and freshman Jared Simkins also played. The Maroons are 3-6 for the season and will next be in action on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Corvallis. It will be a Southwestern A Conference counter.
BUTTE CENTRAL (3-6) — Sam Johnston 2-9 0-0 4, Matt Simkins 1-3 2-2 4, Tanner Kump 0-5 1-4 1, Nate McGree 2-8 0-0 4, Dan McCloskey 2-8 0-0 5, Cade Holter 3-5 4-5 11, Archie Petritz 0-2 0-0 0, Tyge Yelenich 1-2 0-0 3, Jared Simkins 0-0 0-0 0, Luke Heaphy 1-4 0-0 2, Aaron Richards 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 13-49 7-11 36.
BUTTE HIGH (6-3) — Kash Kelly 1-2 0-0 3, Evan Anderson 6-8 1-1 17, Ryson Lovshin 1-2 1-2 4, Travis Williams 2-2 1-2 5, Brock Powell 3-6 2-4 8, Austin Lee 2-2 0-0 4, Zach Archibald 1-1 0-0 3, Tommy Mellott 0-1 0-0 0, Nathaniel Ferguson 0-0 0-0 0, Trevyn Roth 0-0 0-0 0, Clay Ferguson 0-0 0-0 0, Carter Pribnow 0-0 0-0 0, Lathan Ricketts 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 16-29 7-11 46.
Butte Central 4 10 6 16 — 36
Butte High 14 11 16 5 — 46
3-point goals — Butte Central 3-15 (Johnston 0-2, Kump 0-4, McCloskey 1-4, Holter 1-2, Yelenich 1-1, Heaphy 0-2), Butte High 7-15 (Kelly 1-3, Anderson 4-5, Lovshin 1-5, Archibald 1-1, Mellott 0-1). Fouled out — none. Technicals — none. Rebounds — Butte Central 34 (Johnston 6, M. Simkins 6), Butte High 24 (Anderson 5, Williams 5, Powell 5). Blocks — none. Assists — Butt Central 6 (Kump 3), Butte High 10 (Williams 4, Kelly 3). Steals — Butte Central 7 (Johnston 2, Kump 2), Butte High 4 (Powell 3). Turnovers — Butte Central 10, Butte High 1.