By Bruce Sayler
The Butte girls made their point(s).
Unconstrained by the requirement to play any semblance of defense, let alone the well-branded kind normally seen in high school basketball in these parts, the girls in the Southwest Montana All-Stars game Tuesday night hanged the ball in the air like pictures on a wall, for most of the game.
Some of those floating paintings were pretty, too.
The Butte-based Big Sky All-Stars outdid the Treasure State All-Stars centered in Anaconda and Dillon by an 82-673 count. The showcase game for area talent was played in the Montana Tech HPER Complex before a good-sized crowd.
“Scoring 82 points is always good,” Butte High junior Ally Cleverly said.
The Big Sky girls spotted Treasure State a 2-0 lead on two free throws by Dillon senior Brynley Fitzgerald, and then led the rest of the game after a 2-all tie forged on a basket by Boulder standout Aubrey McMaster.
The Big Sky girls scored the next nine points with Twin Bridges’ Kailee Oliverson tallying seven of them on a 3-point basket, a pass from Falcon teammate Raeanne Bendon and on a drive to the hoop. McMaster picked off a pass and returned it for a deuce to cap the run.
“It was exciting,” another Butte High junior, Aspen Lovshin, said about playing in the game. “There was pressure. I’m happy with how we played and with the win.”
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Lovshin finished with five points and Cleverly with four. They’re contributions extended to their floor games, too, with both making timely assists during the course of the contest. Cleverly dealt a game-high five assists.
McMaster and Nevada-bound Oliverson shared the winning team’s scoring honors with 20 points apiece.
Fitzgerald, a soon-to-be Montana State player, scored 12 of her 17 points in the first half when she tried to keep Big Sky within striking distance. McMaster and Fitzgerald traded four baskets apiece in the first half with McMaster’s three-point play at the 7-minute, 19-second mark ending the exchange.
McMaster had scored 14 points and Oliverson nine when halftime arrived with Big Sky owning a 41-30 margin.
“It was a laid-back game,” Cleverly described. “It was fun playing with all these other girls.And it was fun playing against the other teams’ best players.”
Butte High junior Brittney Tierney scored a 3-pointer between baskets by McMaster and Oliverson to begin the second half. After Fitzgerald hooped twice, Oliverson and Bendon combined for the next five points. Four minutes later, Big Sky reeled off a 7-0 spree that opened a 61-39 command.
The team cruised on to the victory.
Jaden Comings of Philipsburg had nine points and seven rebounds in the win. Oliverson also came down with seven rebounds, and swatted away two shots. Butte Central senior Megan Michelotti collected six points and five rebounds. Bendon finished with seven points, and Olivia Bolton of Butte Central and Dorothy Mastell of Whitehall with three each. Butte Central stars Kloie Thatcher, headed to play at Rocky Mountain, and Tricia Joyce, who will be a senior next year, also played.
Oliverson won the 3-point shooting contest at halftime of the boys’ game. She edged out Tierney in sudden death after both netted 10 treys in the final round. Tierney then was just off on a shot that bounced off the rim in the overtime shoot before Oliverson stepped in to mesh her first attempt.
Fitzgerald and Josie Hokanson of Ennis scored 17 points each to lead Big Sky, followed by Danyel Martin of Ennis with six points, Sydnie Peterson of Anaconda and Jourdan Kelin of Ennis with five apiece, Darcy Walker of Deer Lodge and Rachael Nicholson, also of Arlee, with four apiece, Allie Parke of Drummond with three, and Kyndall Petersen of Dillon with two. Logan Stetzner of Anaconda, Paige Rouse of Dillon and Ariel Clark of Deer Lodge also played in the all-star game. The 6-2 Klein led all in rebounds with 10, and Hokanson, a guard, grabbed eight.
The experience of going to the court with against girls each player have heard and read about might have been the best part of playing in the game.
“It’s like we don’t play them, but we do wonder about how Butte High matches up with anybody else,” Cleverly said.
They all seemed to fare pretty well.
TREASURE STATE —Sydnie Peterson 5, Logan Stetzner 0, Brynley Fitzgerald 17, Paige Rouse 0, Kyndall Petersen 2, Allie Parke 3, Josie Hokanson 17, Danyel Martin 6, Jourdan Klein 5, Darcy Walker 4, Rachael Nicholson 4, Ariel Clark 0.
BIG SKY — Kloie Thatcher 0, Megan Michelotti 6, Olivia Bolton 3, Tricia Joyce 0, Brittney Tierney 5, Aspen Lovshin 5, Ally Cleverly 4, Jaden Comings 9, Kailee Oliverson 20, Raeanne Bendon 7, Dorothy Mastell 3, Aubrey McMaster 20.
Halftime — Big Sky 41, Treasure State 30. 3–point goals — Treasure State 6 (Fitzgerald 3, Hokanson 3), Big Sky 5 (Oliverson 2, Lovshin 1, McMaster 1, Bolton 1). Fouled out — none. Total fouls — Treasure State 11, Big Sky 13. Technicals — none. Rebounds — Treasure State 48 (Kleih10, Hokanson 8), Big Sky 44 (Comings 7, Oliverson 7). Blocks — Treasure State 2 (Martin 2), Big Sky 4 (Oliverson 2). Assists — Treasure State 5 (Fitzgerald 1, Martin 1, Parke 1, Peterson 1, Hokanson 1), Big Sky 12 (Clevery 5, Michelotti 2, Oliverson 1, Tierney 1, Mastell 1, Lovshin 1, Joyce 1). Steals — Treasure State 4 (Nicholson 2, Martin 1, Hokanson 1), Big Sky 7 (Lovshin 3, Oliverson 2, Michelotti 1, Tierney 1). Turnovers — Treasure State 14, Big Sky 9.