1984: A Magical Time

It is hard to win a state basketball championship. How about winning two state titles in a matter of one week. That is what happened in the spring of 1984. Both the Butte Central Maroons and Butte High Bulldogs won the state boys’ basketball championships in a matter of seven days.

It was the Maroons of Butte Central who took center stage first at the Civic Center. After getting by Hardin and Laurel in the state tournament, the Maroons met Billings Central in the state finals. Before a capacity crowd the two Catholic schools gave the fans a game to remember. Billings Central led by two with less than ten seconds to go in regulation. An errant Joe Kump shot was pulled down by the Maroons’ Dan O’Gara who put it back in to tie the contest.

The Rams Jim O’Day hit a long jump just after the buzzer sounded. It meant the two clubs would go into overtime. The extra period saw the Maroons hold off the Rams to win a thrilling state championship game 76-73 in one overtime period. Besides Kump and O’Gara, other key players for the Maroons were Tom Kenney, Marc Murphy, Terry Johnson, Dan McGeehan and Tom Pearson.

A week later, it was Butte High’s turn to shine in the state finals. The Bulldogs took their acct to the Harry Adams Fieldhouse on the campus of the University of Montana. Butte High shocked the top ranked team, Missoula Big Sky, in the semi-

finals to reach the championship game. The Bulldogs met the Great Falls Bison in the state finals on St.Patrick’s Night. With a sea of green and purple in the stands the Bulldogs outlasted the Bison in a hard-fought championship match. Butte High won

the game 53-50 giving the Bulldogs their first boys’ state championship in twenty-six years. It was a time for Butte fans to celebrate more than just the Irish holiday.

The 1984 Bulldogs were led by Chris Rasmussen, Mickey Tuttle, Scott Paffhausen, Mike Ogrin, Tom Hemmett, Henry Kobucar, Scott Ferguson and Bart Black.

The two state titles in a matter of seven days was the only time in the city’s history that two teams won the state basketball crown in the same school year.

An added bonus took place in the Class B and Cstate title games. Area schools Boulder and Manhatten Christian both won state championships.

In a matter of three weeks, four southwest Montana schools took the state crown. Wow! What a year! It was the spring of 1984 a magical time for all basketball fans here in southwestern Montana.