By Derek Hendrickson
BELGRADE — The Butte Central boys’ basketball team ran its record to 5-0 with a hard-fought win over the Belgrade Panthers Thursday night, 42-40.
The Maroons appeared to have the game in hand early in the fourth as a Dylan Goodell basketball put Central up 39-29 with just over 7 minutes to go. The Panthers made a run fueled by their defense, which held the Maroons scoreless for over 5 minutes and allowed them to get within a point at 39-38 with under two minutes to go.
Senior guard Kale Guldseth made the play of the game for BC when he made a steal, somehow kept himself inbounds and scored between two Panthers. Belgrade was then called for a technical foul against their head coach for arguing the call and Guldseth hit one of two free throws to give the Maroons a 42-38 lead.
Senior Shiloh Christopher led all scorers with 22 points and brought the Panthers back to within 42-40 after he hit two of three free throws. The Maroons couldn’t connect on the front end of a one and one which led to a Trevor Mahn three point attempt at the buzzer that fell just short.
BC head coach Brodie Kelly was pleased with the team despite the shaky fourth quarter.
“I’m happy we got to learn those things in a win because usually you have to learn from a loss,” Kelly said after the game. “I am proud of our resilience. We played better on defense as a group after the first quarter, especially on Christopher but we have a lot of things to work on.”
The Maroons and Panthers battled through a close first half, led by Central 27-26. The Panthers held the edge at the end of one 16-13 led by the 10 points from Christopher, who tallied 13 total in the first two quarters. The Maroons responded with a 14-10 second quarter that saw Guldseth pour in eight points, all on aggressive drives to the hoop, giving him 11 total at the break.
Central played one of their better defensive quarters of the season, outdueling Belgrade 10-3 in the third quarter, but the Panthers responded holding the Maroons to 5 in the fourth, setting up the nail biting finish. Guldseth led the Maroons with 16 points. Ferriter chipped in eight points and Goodell put in seven off the bench to spark the Maroons offense.
Senior star Nate Bolstad was held scoreless in the win and it was learned that he was battling an ailment that had him sick at halftime and unable to start the second half.
The Maroons travel to Hamilton on Saturday for a conference game against the Broncs and will look to continue their early momentum with a third straight conference win.
BUTTE CENTRAL (5-0) — Cal Hollow 2 0-0 5, Kale Guldseth 6 3-5 16, Danny Peoples 1 0-0 2, Conner McGree 0 0-0 0, Chad Peterson 1 0-0 3, Marcus Ferriter 3 1-2 8, Dalton Sessions 0 0-2 0, Dylan Goodell 3 1-1 7, Nate Bolstad 0 1-1 1. Totals 16 6-11 42.
BELGRADE (2-4) — Trevor Mahn 2 0-0 5, Brayden Konkol 1 0-0 2, Brandon Stubbs 1 0-0 2, Koby Ruff 2 0-0 5, Angel Torres 0 0-0 0, Ethan Turner 0 0-0 0, Shiloh Christopher 7 3-5 22, Keldon Lamb 2 0-0 4, Baxter Roys 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 3-5 42.
Central 13 13 11 5 — 42
Belgrade 16 11 2 11 — 40
3-point goals: BC 4 (Hollow 1, Guldseth 1, Ferriter 1, Peterson 1), Bel 7 (Christopher 5, Mahn 1, Ruff 1). Rebounds: BC 21 (Guldseth 4, Sessions 4), Bel 14 (Konkol 4). Fouls: BC 9, Bel 6. Fouled out: none. Technicals: none.