Basketball holds court at Advantage Butte meeting

By Bruce Sayler 

 Basketball dominated the agenda Tuesday at the Advantage Butte January meeting held in the Butte Plaza Inn. 

District tournaments, divisional tournaments, travel ball tournaments and a new three-on-three tournament slated for Uptown Butte in June were among the topics of discussion. 

PayneWest Insurance representative Rody Holman, president of Advantage Butte, presided over the meeting, which began with the treasurer’s report from Brad Spear of the Anderson ZurMuehlen accounting firm. He told the group $19,940 rests in the Advantage Butte checking account facing commitments of $27,100 underwriting coming events. Holman noted the group remains waiting on word on if and how much money will be coming in from county development program and TBID grants requested. 

Keegan and Kayla McCarthy, representing Uptown Hoops, attended to talk about the tournament planned for Juney 18-19 in Butte. The plans include 10 basketball courts in the Lexington Garden area between Granite and Broadway streets accommodating 650 three-on-three teams over a two-day period. Their flyer predicted 2,500 spectators. 

The couple said age-group play will be held for both genders with an adult co-ed bracket also to be offered. Fourth-graders will provided the youngest age group. Sponsorships and grants are being pursued toward the $22,000 startup costs, Keegan McCarthy said.  

He said hopes are for the tourney to draw heavily from in-state for competing teams with the Northwest region also to be solicited. Kayla McCarthy said proceeds will be donated to local charities. 

“Uptown Hoops Inc. Is striving to inspire our community and beyond to come together and support an all-inclusive, competitive event with hopes to encourage fun, outdoor play and improve our local economy,” the flyer said, adding “With charity and maintaining an active community being a large part of our core purpose, we aim to donate back to local charitable organizations and sporting programs.” 

Keegan McCarthy said he has not yet started registering teams, but wanted people to know the event was on the Butte sports docket. Uptown Hoops can be contacted at or or Facebook: @uptownhoops or Instagram: @uptownhoops or by phoning (406) 407-1997. 

Bill Melvin, Butte Civic Center manager, said the Middle School State Basketball Tournament will be held March 25-27 at the facility and replaces Mining City Hoops on the local tourney slate. Brendan McDonough, Maroon Activities Center (MAC) manager, reminded that the District 12-C high school basketball tournament, for boys’ and girls’ teams, is set for February 23-25 at the Butte Central arena. Instead of using an off-site gym for two Saturday morning consolation semifinals, the day’s schedule will start earlier that day, McDonough said. An alternative gym was not available due to a traveling ball tournament the same weekend, and Montana Tech no longer having a high school distance 3-point line on its HPER Complex court, Don Peoples Jr., of Butte Central Catholic Schools, said. 

Melvin came to the rescue to prevent a similar dilemma next year. Peoples said the MAC was picked to hold the 2023 Western B Divisional tournament, but needed off-site accommodations for the loser-outs. Melvin said the tourney will immediately go on the Civic Center schedule, solving the problem. 

Other sports were also talked at the meeting. 

Softball official Ron “Sarge” Rowling asked for considerations from the group in attempt to play host to the Montana AAU State Girls’ Softball Tournament in July. He said costs for lodging umpires for the large event need to be met, but no specific number requests were vocalized and so Holman said Rowling’s concerns will be addressed and handled by the Advantage Butte Executive Board shortly. Rowling said it would be preferable to have answers by mid-February. 

Holman reminded that the Western B-C Divisional high school wrestling tournament is to be held February 4-5 in the Civic Center and said he liked that “outlying areas are reaching out to us.” He said the tourney might be a frequent event because the host role is on a division membership rotation with Anaconda, Boulder, Deer Lodge and Boulder all expressing desires to put the meet in the Civic Center when their turns to host arrive. 

Another wrestling set for the Civic Center is the annual Cyclops Invitational, put on by the Butte Wrestling Club, February 19-20. Melvin added that the Class A Duals wrestling tournament, also on a host rotation, is to be held in the Civic Center in 2023 – January 20-21. 

No state tournaments are bound for Butte this winter, but Melvin said the Civic Center is still in line for sporting events, including those already mentioned. He said the Advantage Butte Classic volleyball tournament for traveling teams has grown into a two-weekend event, slated for April 1-2 and April 15-16. The bull riding competition planned for the Civic Center in March has been changed to April 8-9, he added. 

Butte-Silver Bow Chamber of Commerce Director and owner of the Butte 100 mountain biking spectacular told Advantage Butte that registration for the race has opened and already drawn 328 entrants representing 15 states. She said entries are capped at 500 as they were last year, when 363 cyclists competed. 

Butte was host to the Montana High School Association meetings Monday in the Copper King Inn and Advantage Butte played a part in the hospitality. Holman and Ron Davis of Butte Broadcasting Inc., both said it was a successful day and that the city and facility gained favorable reviews. The addition of baseball as a state-sanctioned spring sport and implementation of the 35-second clock for basketball were among the approvals. Also, the MHSA OK’d eighth-graders playing in all sports.