By Bruce Sayler
The smell of charred net strings hung in the air at the Maroon Activities Saturday evening. However, the splash of tears dampened the floor as well.
Butte Central senior Brooke Badovinac dizzied basketball mathematicians with a school-record tying 42-point performance and stacks of other statistics for the Maroons. Not a basket, though, brought her a smile because Stevensville outlasted the BC girls 66-59 in overtime in Southwestern A Conference breath-holder.
Badovinac joined former Butte Central standouts Mike McLeod and Kellie “K.J.” Johnson as the record-holders. Each scored 42 in a game with McLeod notching his in 1981 versus Deer Lodge and Johnson tallying her 42 against Whitehall in 1996. Badovinac scored 38 last week against Livingston for the most then by a Butte Central girl against a Class A opponent.
Butte Sports Hall of Fame Director Bill Foley confirmed also that Badovinac is only the second Butte girl to reach 40 points in a game. Tom Kenney caged 41 for Butte Central in the 1985 state Class A championship game loss to Livingston (double overtime) and Tod Hildreth of Butte High registered 40 against Anaconda in 2005. Current BC boys’ standout Dougie Peoples poured in 39 against Frenchtown in the Western A Divisional tournament last year.
Badovinac wasn’t in a celebratory mood after Saturday’s game.
“We tried our hardest and we still lost,” a solemn Badovinac said. “I tried my hardest and still lost. It sucks losing in overtime.”
The Montana Tech recruit and Butte Central team leader took on much of the blame, too, and seemed to feel it more than the 42 points (35 after halftime), 9 rebounds, 5 blocks, 3 assists, 4 steals and all the moxie, too, she contributed. The girls left it all on the court. It was a deep pool.
“I had a slow start to the game,” she said. “I missed a few shots early and I let it get in my head.”
Butte Central head coach Quinn Carter had trouble finding fault with any of the players.
“That was the best effort, collectively, we have had all game from all the girls this year,” Carter said. “We got into a situation where we had two starters foul out and we had to put two players into the game for their first varsity minutes. That puts you into a tough situation.”
Stevensville led 18-8 after one quarter and 30-21 at halftime.
Badovinac scored 19 of the Maroons’ 20 points in the third quarter and assisted on the attempt that led to Maggie Drew’s converted free throw. The effort carved deeper into the Yellowjackets’ lead, which was 38-33 heading into the last frame.
Badovinac’s pullup jumper 11 seconds into the fourth quarter cut the difference to 38-35. However, Stevensville took of on a 6-0 spree launched by Cambree Praast’s 3-point basket. Addison Drye sank a foul shot and Dawsyn Brewer converted a steal into a layup as the Yellowjackets then led 44-35.
Stevensville increased its advantage to 50-39 with 3 minutes, 36 seconds left in regulation before the BC girls surged again. They scored nine straight points by attacking the hoop. Badovinac twice successfully navigated plus-ones to close the run after she netted a pair of charity tosses following Drew’s freebie.
Alexia Perez gave the Yellowjackets a 53-48 gap with an and-one at just a minute left in regulation. Badovinac responded with a 3-pointer and Claire Hutchison tried to clinch for Stevensville with an outside shot. However, it missed and the rebound bounced over the backboard. Butte Central was awarded the ball for the inbound. The Maroons lost possession, but Badovinac stole it back and drove downcourt for a layup to tie the score at 53-all with nine seconds on the clock.
Drew fouled out challenging a Hutchison shot with two seconds left in regulation. Hutchison missed both free throws and Badovinac corralled the rebound as time expired.
Perez scored off an assist from Brewer for a 55-53 Stevensville lead early in overtime. Badovinac responded with a 3-pointer, her third and last of the game. Brewer gave the Yellowjackets the lead for good on a drive to the hoop. BC’s Maycee Anderson fouled out of the game on the play. Brewer then canned a 3-point basket for a 60-56 Stevi lead. Badovinac hit two foul shots, then Stevensville outcored Butte Central 6-1 the last 2 minutes, 12 seconds of the game and gained the win.
Jaden Fisher, Praast and Brewer scored the Yellowjackets last six points. Badovinac netted a free throw for her team’s last point.
“Quinn told us at halftime we had to go out there and give it our best,” Badovinac said, then spoke of fellow senior Anderson and varsity returnee Drew. “I’m so proud of Maycee and Maggie. They played their hearts out. I definitely tried my best and that’s why it hurts.”
Carter consoled a crying younger player in the hallway outside the locker room and lauded Badovinac.
“She scored 35 in the second half,” the coach said. “I told her at halftime, ‘Brooke take over.’ And, she did a 100-percent good job of that. She does it all. She is such a joy to coach. I couldn’t be any more blessed to have her on our team.”
Hutchison led Stevensville with 20 points, Brewer scored 13 and 6-foot junior Shilo McLain Lampi put in 12. The Stevi defense came up with 26 steals, led by Brewer with nine, while forcing BC into 30 turnovers. The Yellowjackets squared their season record at 5-5 with the win. They are 3-3 in conference play.
Butte Central is 1-6 for the season and 0-5 in conference heading into a Thursday home game against Dillon. Anderson scored eight points and Drew seven for the Maroons Saturday. Arika Stajcar had two points and Ali Stajcar, Sophia Gelling and Caden Tippett also played. Arika Stajcar, Gelling and Tippett are freshmen. The smaller BC girls took an edge in rebounds, 38-34, with Drew pulling down 10.
STEVENSVILLE (5-5, 3-3) – Dawsyn Brewer 6-13 0-5 13, Shilo McLain Lampi 5-10 2-5 12, Alexia Perez 3-6 3-4 9, Claire Hutchison 8-19 3-3 20, Cambree Praast 1-4 2-2 5, Cheyenne Sanner 0-0 0-0 0, Haylie Tolley 0-0 0-0 0, Maddy Davids 0-1 0-0 0, Addison Drye 0-1 1-2 1, Jaden Fisher 2-3 0-1 4, Sophia Hutchison 1-2 0-2 2. Totals 26-59 11-24 66.
BUTTE CENTRAL (1-6, 0-5) – Ali Stajcar 0-1 0-0 0, Maycee Anderson 3-4 0-0 8, Brooke Badovinac 13-19 13-18 42, Arika Stajcar 1-6 0-1 2, Mollie Drew 2-8 3-7 7, Sophia Gelling 0-2 0-0 0, Caden Tippett 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-40 16-26 59.
Stevensville 18 12 8 15 13 – 66
Butte Central 8 13 12 20 6 – 59
3-point goals – Stevi 3-9 (Brewer 1-3, C. Hutchison 1-2, Praast 1-4), BC 5-12 (Anderson 2-3, Badovinac 3-9). Fouled out – C. Hutchison, Drew, Anderson. Total fouls – Stevi 21, BC 23. Technicals – none. Rebounds – Stevi 34 (McLean Lampi 8), BC 38 (Drew 10, Badovinac 9). Blocks – Stevi 2 (McLean Lampi 2), BC 6 (Badovinac 5). Assists – Stevi 11 (Brewer 5), BC 9 (Badovinac 3, Drew 3). Steals – Stevi 26 (Brown 9, C. Hutchison 5), BC 7 (Badovinac 4). Turnovers – Stevi 19, BC 30.