By Bill Foley
Lathan Ricketts figured the seven points he had already scored Tuesday night was plenty.
So, the Butte High senior passed up a shot on a two-on-one break to dish to Big Sky teammate Mac Hauck.
Hauck sank a long 2-point jumper as the buzzer sounded to cap the Big Sky Stars’ 101-94 come-from-behind win over the Treasure State Stars in the 2018 Southwest Montana All-Star Classic at the Montana Tech HPER Complex.
The bucket was the first of the game for Hauck, who made the trip from West Yellowstone for the crowd-pleasing game.
“I don’t know, I just decided to pass it off,” Ricketts said. “I didn’t get an assist all game.”
The Big Sky team included Rickets, Butte High teammate Clay Ferguson and Butte Central’s Luke Heaphy, Cade Holter, Dylan Sestrich and Aaron Richards.
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Ricketts was the lone senior from Butte in the game. He said he welcomed the chance to play alongside some Maroons.
“That’s awesome because they’re my friends as well. I got to play with Clay, and he’s a good teammate of mine,” Ricketts said. “It was just a bunch of Butte kids out playing ball as if we were out on the playground again.”
Big Sky started slow, falling behind by as many as 15 points, 33-18, in the first half.
The team wearing its home jerseys, though, rebounded in time to pull within 45-40 at halftime.
In the second half, Big Sky rolled, using a 17-2 run to take its first lead since early in the game. Ricketts scored all of his seven points in that stretch, including a 3-poitner that put Big Sky up 57-56.
Big Sky led 67-58 before Anaconda star Braxton Hill hit a 3-poitner to stop the bleeding. Hill, who scored a game-high 24 points, hit another 3-poitner to tie the score at 77 with 6 minutes, 11 seconds left.
Then, Holter hit a 3-pointer to start a 10-0 run to give Big Sky the lead for good.
Ricketts said the Big Sky chemistry just wasn’t there early in. In the second half, that wasn’t a problem.
“When we came out in the second half we were settled in and ready to go,” he said.
Ricketts’ seven points were part of a balanced Big Sky attack.
Whitehall star Max Feight scored 18 points to lead a team that saw seven players reach double digits in scoring.
Holter, Ferguson, Sestrich, Dylan McDermid of Deer Lodge, and Nathan Morse of West Yellowstone each scored 11.
Richards, who hit two 3-poitners, scored 10 points, while Bryce Nye of Twin Bridges joined Ricketts with seven. Hauck finished with three.
Whitehall’s Wyatt Alexander, a Montana Tech football recruit, injured his knee during warmups and didn’t play for the Big Sky squad.
Anaconda’s Trent Mikalatos joined Hill in double figures for the Treasure State stars with 13 points.
Josh Eckmann of Jefferson High in Boulder scored nine points, while Tanner Wood of Ennis and Derik DeFrantz of Harrison each scored eight points.
The Treasure state got seven from Dillon’s Coby King, six from Dillon’s Clay Allison and Drummond’s Jonah Parke, five from Lima’s Dax Thornton, four from Drummond’s Luke Holland and three from Anaconda’s Michael Galle.
Colton Grange of Philipsburg also played for the Treasure State.
Ricketts said everybody had a blast.
“It was so much fun. Everything was relaxed. It was nice to see people from all over,” he said. “It’s just a good time. Yeah, there’s some competition here and there, but everybody was just having fun.”
The game was sponsored by the Butte Chamber of Commerce Hospitality Committee.
Butte Central’s band performed, and the Dynamic Dance & Tumbling Academy thrilled the crowd with halftime shows of the girls’ and boys’ games.
TREASURE STATE (94) — Tanner Wood 8, Michael Galle 3, Jonah Parke 6, Luke Holland 4, Colton Grange 0, Josh Eckmann 9, Coby King 7, Trent Mikalatos 13, Dax Thornton 5, Braxton Hill 24, Derik DeFrantz 8, Clay Allison.
BIG SKY (101) — Bryce Nye 7, Cade Holter 11, Luke Heaphy 0, Clay Ferguson 11, Dylan McDermid 11, Max Feight 18, Dylan Sestrich 11, Lathan Ricketts 7, Mac Hauck 3, Nathan Morse 11, Aaron Richards 10.
Halftime: Treasure State 50-54. 3-point goals — Treasure State 9, (Hill 4, Mikalatos 1, Galle 1, Eckman 1, King 1, Thornton 1), Big Sky 8 (Holter 2, Richards 2, McDermid 1, Feight 1, Sestrich 1, Ricketts 1).