Bears stop Bulldogs on Senior Night

Billings West's Bryson Deming defends as Butte High senior Kyle Klapan looks to pass Saturday at the Richardson Gym. (Bill Foley photo)

By Bruce Sayler
Fifty percent might have been enough, might have done the trick for the Butte High boys in the second half of their basketball game Saturday.

However, a horrendous third quarter of shooting doomed the Bulldogs to a 52-41 loss at the hands of Billings West. The Eastern AA Conference game was played in the Ross J. Richardson Memorial Gym at Butte High School.

It was also the last home game for, at least, the regular season for Butte High, which honored senior players Trey Hoagland, Kyle Klapan and Patrick O’Herron Jr., and their parents before the tip-off.

The Bulldogs had scrapped evenly for much of the first half versus Billings West while hitting 50 percent of their floor shots, 8-for-16, prior to intermission. A Golden Bear 3-point basket by Bryson Deming just before the buzzer opened a 25-22 edge for the visitors.

Playing good defense and under control, a win certainly seemed to be within reach for Butte High and against a team that earlier in the week topped Class AA champion Billings Skyview, which shelled the Bulldogs 71-31 Friday night.

Billings West, though, changed to a tough zone defense as the second half arrived, and Butte High, which had found offensive success on inside passes to Brock Powell and O’Herron, was forced to try to score from outside. The tactic, if it worked, would have likely opened the painted area back up for the big men to cage their points.

The Bulldogs went 0-for-6 from 3-point range, 2-for-15 total from the field, in the dismal period while the Golden Bears rolled out to a 38-26 command. They outscored the home club 13-4 in the frame.

“We missed layups and couldn’t hit a jump shot,” Butte High head coach Luke Powers said. “We had a little run (in the second quarter) and then they hit a shot right at the end of the half. You can’t bank your momentum on one basket, but they did have a little lead.

“We blew five or six layups early in the second half and they went to a 1-3-1 zone defense and we didn’t knock down our shots.”

Powell, who scored eight of his team-high 14 points in the first half, found himself trapped inside the zone with few chances to operate.

“He was triple-teamed and we couldn’t hit a jump shot,” Powers said. “When they suck everything down on you like that, you have to have somebody hit a jump shot.”

The Golden Bears scored the first seven points of the second half before Travis Williams stretched a pass to Powell, who got a step on a defender thanks to screen on the right wing.

Powell drove for the basket, the Bulldogs’ first points of the half coming at with 3 minutes, 42 seconds left in the third quarter.

A seven-point difference was as close as Butte High could come to the Golden Bears the rest of the way. It came when Evan Anderson canned a 3-point basket, his third of the game, and put the margin at 43-36 with 4:33 on the clock.

The Golden Bears responded with a 7-0 run, five of the points being made on free throws.
Butte High led Billings West five times in the first period. The last was 13-12 after Powell took a Ryson Lovshin pass to the hoop with 51 seconds to go in the frame. Braydon Deming sank two foul shots and the Golden Bears had the edge, 14-13, going into the second frame.

Reece Elliott gunned in a 3-pointer for Billings West to begin the second quarter. The Bulldogs stayed close and built a 7-0 run on four Lovshin free throws — two rewarded for a technical foul called against a Billings West assistant coach — and a Travis Williams 3-pointer to knot the count at 22-all 29 seconds before halftime. Bryson Deming then broke the tie with his trey just before halftime and Billings West stayed in front the rest of the way.

Powers started his three seniors along with juniors Lovshin and Powell, and the unit seemed to click.

“The opening lineup did a good job,” he said with a smile. “But O’Herron picked up three touchy fouls to start the game and had to sit down. Kyle is more of a defensive, rebounding type of guy and does a great job in that role, but he isn’t going to get you 20 points a game. What’s great about him, too, is he knows he won’t score 20 points a game, either, and, therefore, is a good role player. The kids like him and look up to him a lot.”

Bryson Deming finished with 16 points to lead Billings West, which also got 14 points from Nielsen. The Golden Bears outrebounded Butte High by a 27-20 margin with three players gathering four caroms each. An oddity was Billings West’s nine player fouls coming at one each for, well, nine players. The Bulldog defense held the Golden Bears to less than 50 percent shooting from the floor. However, Billings West cleaned up from the charity stripe where it converted 13 of 17 attempts.

Powell and 14 points and tied Klapan for the game-high in rebounds with six apiece. Anderson scored 11 points, O’Herron and Williams netted six apiece and Lovshin tallied four. Kash Kelly also played. Lovshin’s four free throws in the second quarter marked the Bulldogs’ only trips to the foul line.

The Bulldogs will finish the end the regular season this week with Eastern AA games at Bozeman Tuesday and Billings Senior Friday. Powers said the plans, both short- and long-range, are just to improve play and performances.

“We have to play better,” he said. “We had a rough week this week, but we really had been improving as a team and we need to get back to that.

“Then, what we really need to do, this summer, is to get in here, into the gym. That’s what the Billings kids do. The Deming kids you just saw average 18 points and 15 points a game and I see them at every camp, every (traveling team) tournament I go to in the summer. That’s how we need to be.”

BILLINGS WEST (13-5, 6-4) — Bryson Deming 5-12 4-4 16, Luke Funyak 0-1 0-0 0, Braydon Deming 2-7 5-6 9, Reece Nielsen 4-6 4-5 14, Cleveland Harvey 3-5 0-0 6, Will Harris 1-2 0-0 2, Parker Elliott 1-2 0-0 3, Jesse Owens 1-1 0-0 2, Jake Bell 0-1 0-0 0, Carson Prokop 0-0 0-2 0, Chaz Maddock 0-0 0-0 0, Jerelle Big Hair 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-37 13-17 52.
BUTTE HIGH (4-14, 2-8) — Ryson Lovshin 0-10 4-4 4, Trey Hoagland 0-1 0-0 0, Patrick O’Herron Jr. 3-4 0-0 6, Kyle Klapan 0-0 0-0 0, Brock Powell 7-13 0-0 14, Travis Williams 2-4 0-0 6, Evan Anderson 4-8 0-0 11, Kash Kelly 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 16-41 4-4 41.
Billings West                         14        11        13        14 — 52
Butte High                 13        9          4          15 — 41

3-point goals — West 5-12 (Bryson Deming 2-4, Funyak 0-1, Braydon Deming 0-2, Nielsen 2-4, Elliott 1-1), Butte 5-20 (Lovshin 0-9, Hoagland 0-1, Williams 2-2, Anderson 3-7, Kelly 0-1). Fouled out — none. Total fouls — West 9, Butte 12. Technical — West bench. Rebounds — West 27 (Bryson Deming 4, Braydon Deming 4, Bell 4), Butte 20 (Powell 6, Klapan 6, Hoagland 4). Blocks — West 0, Butte 4 (Powell 3, O’Herron 1). Assists — West 13 (Funyak 4), Butte 12 (Lovshin 5). Steals — West 4 (Harvey 1, Bryson Deming 1, Braydon Deming 1, Funyak 1), Butte 2 (Hoagland 1, Anderson 1). Turnovers — West 9, Butte 10.

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