First Half Play by Play, Paul Panisko. Color, John Thatcher
Story from Buttesports.com
By Bruce Sayler
Butte High won on the boards, but not on the scoreboard, which produces the only stat that really matters to competitors like players and coaches.
Top-ranked Bozeman escaped the Butte Civic Center with a 42-38 Eastern AA Conference boys’ basketball win over Butte HIgh in a tough Tuesday night. The Bulldogs were trying to string their third tremendous win in five days after weekend magic in victories over Billings Senior and second-ranked Billings Skyview.
The effort might not have produced the most desired result. However, the witnesses liked the performance very much.
“The kids played hard and played well,” a spent Luke Powers, Butte High head coach, said. “We led 37-33 with 2 ½ minutes left. They came out and trapped and we didn’t handle it well.
“We know what to do in a trap, but we didn’t handle it tonight. So, we had to use timeouts then we should have had stockpiled for the end. But, we had the No. 1 team in the state on the ropes.”
Bailey Harlin netted a 3-point shot for Bozeman to cut the difference to 37-36 1:42 flashed on the clock.
Lance McCutcheon, a 6-foot-3 stay-at-home Bobcat recruit for football, pounced on a Butte High pass and took it from past halfcourt to the hoop for a layup and a 38-37 Hawks edge with 48 seconds to go.
McCutcheon stole another pass, but his teammates failed to convert the layup. Still, McCutcheon grabbed the rebound and dew a foul from Butte High’s Evan Anderson.
McCutcheon calmly made both free throws. The Hawks’ lead was 40-37 with 15 seconds on the clock.
Bulldog Ryson Lovshin was fouled by Morgan Hostetler while attempting a 3-point goal. The infraction put Lovshin on the line for three freebies with only 1.9 seconds showing.
He missed the first shot, but sank the second. Lovshin tried to miss on purpose in hopes a Butte High player could grab the rebound and, hopefully, get off a shot before the buzzer. The try, though, resulted in the Hawks being awarded the ball out of bounds under the basket as the ball banged off the backboard, but missed the rim.
McCutcheon was fouled by Brock Powell and made both free throws to sew up the victory.
The game was the last home game of the regular season for the Bulldogs. They will travel to Billings West to end the regular season on Friday.
McCutcheon scored nine of his team-high 17 points in the last quarter. His total tied Lovshin for game-high honors.
The Bulldogs used position and physical strength to outrebound the taller Hawks by a 29-23 margin. Powell led with nine rebounds.
“We keep taking down rebounds and that’s just attitude,” Powers said. “We have to want to go get them. Rebounding and keeping our turnovers down help us with our efficiency.
“I’m not disappointed with the way we played. We just have to execute down the stretch. We can play with any team in Montana. I think we’ve proven that.”
Bozeman held a 10-8 advantage after one quarter and looked ready to cruise when it gained a 15-10 gap by 4:57 of the second period. The Hawks’ roster featured four players 6-4 or taller, topped by 6-7 junior Mark Anderson, who came off the bench.
Evan Anderson of Butte High punched a big hole in the Bozeman lead when he canned a 3-pointer 2:56 before halftime. Lovshin closed the half with two foul shot conversions and the score was knotted at 15-all at intermission.
“We had to have long possessions,” Powers said. “We had to slow the tempo, offensively. We need to play the tempo we want.”
The Hawks looked again ready for a getaway when they began the second half with seven straight unanswered points for a 22-15 lead. Another Montana State football signee, Callahan O’Reilly, tallied the first five on a pass from Harlin and on a 3-pointer set up by McCutcheon.
Bozeman took a 27-23 edge into the last frame. Butte High wiped it out with a Lovshin 3-pointer and a basket from Anderson following a nifty pass from sophomore point guard Kash Kelly.
The Anderson bucket gave the Bulldogs the slim 28-27 edge. Kelly then sank two charity tosses for a 3-point difference.
Bozeman erased it with one shot — a trey by Harlin. The teams traded basket, then Powell caged two freebies, and Kelly followed with a looping 3-pointer over an attempted Bozeman block as the Bulldogs claimed their 37-33 lead.
However, they were unable to hold it.
“We’ll rebound, we’ll stay up and we’ll keep up the intensity,” Powers said. “And, we’ll to Billings West playing to win.”
Powell finished with nine points to go with his nine rebounds and back Lovshin’s 17 in the scoring totals. Kelly had seven points and Anderson five, and Travis Williams, Austin Lee and Zach Archibald all played, too. Williams dished four assists with his deft passing from the inside.
Harlin tallied nine points, all on 3-pointers, to back McCutcheon’s total for Bozeman.
Butte High is 5-8 in Eastern AA play and 9-10 for the season. The Bulldogs will be looking to maybe clinch a home game in next week’s Eastern AA playoffs when they play at Billings West on Friday. The two could play in the playoffs first round, so the Friday outcome may decide homecourt for the matchup. Powers reminded, though, that several variables pertaining to the playoff scene remain.
Bozeman is 9-2 and 16-3, and also will play Billings West later this week to end the regular season. The Hawks have clinched a spot in the March 9-11 state Class AA tournament to be played in Great Falls,
BOZEMAN (16-3, 9-2) — Drew Huse 2-8 0-0 5, Callahan O’Reilly 2-7 0-0 5, Morgan Hostetler 1-8 1-2 3, Bailey Harlin 3-9 0-0 9, Lance McCutcheon 5-9 6-6 17, Kyler Ash 1-5 0-0 3, Mark Anderson 1-5 0-0 3. Totals 14-46 7-8 42.
BUTTE HIGH (9-10, 5-8) — Kash Kelly 2-6 2-4 7, Evan Anderson 2-9 0-0 5, Ryson Lovshin 5-10 5-7 17, Travis Williams 0-2 0-0 0, Brock Powell 3-4 3-4 9, Austin Lee 0-0 0-0 0, Zach Archibald 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 12-31 10-15 38.
Bozeman 10 5 12 15 — 42
Butte High 8 7 8 15 — 38
3-point goals — Bozeman 7-15 (Huse 1-3, O’Reilly 1-1, Hostetler 0-1, Harlin 3-4, McCutcheon 1-1, Ash 1-5), Butte 4-9 (Kelly 1-4, E. Anderson 1-3, Lovshin 2-5). Fouled out — none. Total foula — Bozeman 14, Butte 11. Technicals — none. Rebounds — Bozeman 23 (Hostetler 6), Butte 29 (Powell 9). Blocks — Bozeman 3 (O’Reilly 1, McCutcheon 1, M. Anderson 1), Butte 0. Assists — Bozeman 9 (McCutcheon 2, Harlin 2, O’Reilly 2), Butte 10 (Williams 4, Kelly 3, Lovshin 2). Steals — Bozeman 7 (McCutcheon 4), Butte 4 (Kelly 2). Turnovers — Bozeman 7, Butte 13.