It is hard to believe 20 years have gone by since the last time a high school boys’ basketball team from Butte won the state championship. It was the spring of 1992 when the Butte Central boys polished off Stevensville 68-56 in the Class A finals played at the Metra in Billings to capture the school’s fifth state boys’ basketball crown.
The 1992 Maroons were led by Sean Walsh who averaged 17 points a game for Butte Central. A pair of seniors, Ryan Murphy and Ryan Maloney, were also big time players for the Maroons. Both averaged 12 points a contest. They also had outside help from sharp shooters Tim McHugh and RJ Olson. Added to the mix was their best defender, Brodie Kelly, the Maroons current head coach.
The Maroons went through the year with a solid 20-4 record. Along the way Butte Central beat the Bulldogs of Butte High 64-55 in the city championship game and knocked off Anaconda 56-49 in the divisional title contest played at the Civic Center.
The biggest win of the year came in the state semi-finals when the Maroons beat undefeated and defending State champion Whitefish 65-58. Sean Walsh led the way that night with a 33-point output.
Since that 1992 state title the boys’ teams at both high schools had opportunities to lift the first place trophy. The Bulldogs and Maroons have each played in two state finals in the past decade. In all four games, the Butte club got beat in the finals.
Could the luck for one of the two Butte teams change this year so once again the first-place trophy sits back in Butte. You never know when gold might strike.
All you have to seek for inspiration is to look back at this year’s football season when the underdog Butte High football team shocked Montana by winning their first state football crown in 21 years. Perhaps another boys’ basketball title might be looming just around the corner.