By Bruce Sayler
Just as the air was thick with wildfire smoke outside, it was dense with basketballs inside the Maroon Activities Center.
Thursday night’s second annual Burgman/Boyle Classic alumni basketball game resulted in a 57-52 win for the Butte High squad, Team Burgman.
“Seriously, we didn’t shoot very good,” co-organizer Matt Boyle of Butte Central-affiliated Team Boyle said. “I’m never against more shots, though.”
He grinned. They all did. For a group of former high school and college hotshots, competition is fun and so, their latest endeavor into an intracity clash was a blast.
They meshed 16 shots from beyond 3-point range and missed a whole bunch more. Shootinhg touches were a little rusty, but the wills were sharp. Team Burgman pulled down 53 rebounds and Team Boyle collected 43, accounting for 96 off-the-mark shots — not all of which were from the field.
“It’s fun to play with all your friends and come together to do this,” Team Burgman high scorer Chad Jonart said after tallying 15 points. “It’s a little competition.”
(Story continues below photo gallery)
Jonart was only in the middle of a long day. The former Butte High shooting star, who also served as interim head coach for the Bulldog boys’ team 2014-15, is on the football coaching staff. The Bulldog gridders kicked off their preseason practices at midnight.
“I’ll sleep well (after practice),” he said, “but it’ll be hard to get up in the morning.”
Indeed. He helped his team outscore Team Boyle 25-14 in the final quarter.
The game honors former players Kyle Burgman and Casey Boyle, who died together in a car wreck two years ago. Families of both do much of the work for the game and scholarships are awarded annually from the proceeds.
Casey Boyle’s two older brothers, Dan and Tom, and his younger brother, Matt, all played in the game. Burgman’s young nephews, Landon Burgman and Carter Barsness, also participated. Deep rosters of pretty recent Bulldogs and Maroons lined up to wear the rest of the jerseys for the cause.
“It was great. It was a fun time,” Matt Boyle said. “I just got back into town a couple of hours ago.”
He’s a busy resident and promoter of the community.
“I hadn’t been playing nearly as much as I wanted to,” he continued. “I’d like to play at least 10 games a year, hopefully.”
Team Burgman topped Team Boyle 63-45 last year in the inaugural game, played at the Butte Civic Center. It will return to the Civic Center next year as plans call for the contest to alternate between the two high schools’ homecourts.
Jonart, too, said he hadn’t played much basketball in recent times, explaining that “it’s golf season.” He said he realized he wasn’t in basketball shape, “the first time I tried to run the court.”
The early onset of exhaustion didn’t seem to stifle anyone, though. Everyone remained a willing participant.
Team Burgman didn’t take the lead for good until the last minute and a half. Briggs put back a rebound for a basket to tie the score at 50-all. He was fouled on the play and the conversion of the ensuing free throw broke the tie with 1:24 to go.
Jonart widened the difference with a high-archer from mid-range not quite a minute later.
Tom Boyle dropped in two free throws for a 53-52 margin with only 31 seconds left. Tucker Thatcher drew a foul and two free throws for Team Burgman. He made both. Tom Boyle tried a quick 3-pointer, but it was off the mark and Cole Conway grabbed the rebound for Team Burgman. Boyle quickly fouled him, but, Conway, a former Bulldog and Montana Tech standout put the victory away by canning both foul shots.
“This is the first time I’ve played since that free throw thing I did,” Matt Boyle said, referring to the 5,000 free throws he sank in 12 hours last April 21 in a fundraiser for the Original Festival. “And, I’m not too sure how much money we made tonight (for the Burgman-Boyle Scholarships). I think it’ll be a few thousand.”
Chunky Thatcher coached Team Burgman, which was led by Jonart with 15 points and Briggs with 12. Noah Thatcher scored seven, Landon Burgman and Jake Allmendinger five each, Ryan Pollock and Conway three apiece, and Tucker Thatcher, Shane Clary and Carter Barsness two each. Sammy McGree scored one point, and Natalee Faupel, Kyle Barsness, Hattie Thatcher, Mack Hawbaker and Cole Salo also played.
Brodie Kelly coached Team Boyle, which was paced by Tom Boyle and Renzy Kelly with nine points apiece. Matt Boyle had seven, Dan Boyle six, Carson Kingston and Quinn Peoples five each, Killian O’Leary, Billy Robinson and Matt Pokorny three apiece, and Jake Stagnoli two. Sean O”Leary, Kloie Thatcher, Alex Murphy and Krystin Mengon also played.
Kelly’s two 3-pointers around a Killian O’Leary free throw gave Team Boyle a 13-12 edge at the end of the first quarter. Burgman’s 3-pointer gave his team a 21-19 edge late in the half. Killian O’Leary and Kingston closed the half with baskets as Team Boyle went back ahead 23-21 and turned the floor over to the dazzling Dynamic Dance Academy for halftime.
The nip-and-tuck theme continued through the third frame until Team Boyle’s 6-0 run ran up a 35-27 gap as Matt Boyle, Peoples and Stagnoli all scored. The difference was 38-32 when the fourth quarter started.
Anna Fabatz, John Lappin and John O’Brien officiated the game voluntarily.
TEAM BURGMAN — Tucker Thatcher 2, Sammy McGree 1, Ryan Pollock 3, Natalee Faupel 0, Kyle Barsness 0, Shane Clary 2, Hattie Thatcher 0, Landon Burgman 5, Carter Barsness 2, Noah Thatcher 7, Chad Jonart 15, Mack Hawbaker 0, Casey Briggs 12, Jake Allmendinger 5, Cole Salo 0, Cole Conway 3.
TEAM BOYLE — Renzy Kelly 9, Sean O’Leary 0, Matt Boyle 7, Jake Stagnoli 2, Carson Kingston 5, Quinn Peoples 5, Kloie Thatcher 0, Killian O’Leary 3, Billy Robinson 3, Dan Boyle 6, Tom Boyle 9, Matt Pokorny 3, Alex Murphy 0, Krystin Mengon 0.
Team Burgman 12 9 11 25 — 57
Team Boyle 13 10 15 14 — 52
3-point goals — Team Burgman 6 (Pollock 1, Burgman 1, Jonart 3, N. Thatcher 1), Team Boyle 10 (Pokorny 1, T. Boyle 1, Kelly 3, Kingston 1, M. Boyle 1, D. Boyle 1, Robinson 1, Peoples 1). Fouled out — none. Total fouls — n/a. Technicals — none. Rebounds — Team Burgman 53 (Briggs 12, Conway 7, Allmendinger 6), Team Boyle — 43 (T. Boyle 8, M. Boyle 7, Stagnoli 7). Assists — Team Burgman 4 (N. Thatcher 1, Clary 1, Briggs 1, Hawbaker 1), Team Boyle 8 (Pokorny 2, M. Boyle 1, D. Boyle 1, Robinson 1, K. O’Leary 1, Stagnoli 1, Murphy 1). Steals — Team Burgman 3 (Briggs 1, H. Thatcher 1, T. Thatcher 1), Team Boyle 4 (K. O’Leary 1, Kelly 1, S. O’Leary 1, Pokorny 1).