Nobody would have blamed Kale Guldseth if he would have passed up that shot.
For most of Saturday’s game against Livingston, the Butte Central junior guard couldn’t get anything to fall. Midway through the fourth quarter, Guldseth had zero points to show for his typical all-out effort.
Then Guldseth took a high-pressure 3-pointer with the Maroons trailing 51-50 during Senior Day at the Maroon Activities Center.
Guldseth swished the 3-pointer, sparking a 7-0 Butte Central run that put the Maroons on top for good in a 65-44 non-conference victory.
“That was huge for Kale,” BC coach Brodie Kelly said. “He had struggled offensively all game. I was really proud of him to have the confidence to hit the shot.”
Guldseth said he was simply following the advice of his coach.
“Brodie pulled me aside at halftime and he said, ‘You’ve just got to keep playing,'” Guldseth said. “I had to go out there and keep shooing and battle through it.”
Guldseth, who scored to cap BC’s 15-5 run to close the game, also played solid defense and fed Brady Tippett for two big buckets down the stretch.
“After that (3-pointer) he had some huge steals to ice the game for us,” Kelly said of Guldseth. “He made a lot of plays in the fourth quarter that were big down the stretch.”
The win lifted the Maroons to 10-5 on the season and sent Tippett and fellow senior Emmett McCarthy out in style in their final regular-season game at the MAC.
“That was huge coming off that loss at Dillon,” Guldseth said, referring to Thursday’s Southwestern A game against the defending Class A State champions. “We were making plays tonight, it felt good to score some points.”
The most exciting play came early in the third quarter when junior Nate Bolstad took a loose ball for a one-handed slam dunk that put the Maroons up 39-25 with 6 minutes, 8 seconds left in the third quarter.
The dunk excited the crowd and seemed to put an exclamation point on a win that saw the Maroons do so many things right. Bolstad sank four 3-pointers in the first half on his way to 16 points.
Tippett scored 12 of his 22 points in the first half.
The Rangers, though, didn’t get the memo that the game was over.
Instead of conceding the loss after the dunk, freshman guard Landan Ricketts caught fire for the Rangers. He scored 13 of his 20 points in the third quarter. The Rangers closed the third quarter with a 19-6 run to turn the comfortable BC win into a 45-44 game.
“That was lights-out shooting,” Kelly said of Ricketts, who sank three of his four 3-pointers in the third quarter. “I felt like we were contesting him.”
Coupled with the solid play of 6-foot-7 senior Marcus Payne, who scored 21 points, the Rangers were hitting inside and outside to get back into the game.
“Payne’s good enough to know that they’re going to him and it’s still hard to keep the ball out of his hands,” Kelly said. “Those two were really tough today.”
Ryley Heidt hit a base-line 3-pointer to tie the game for the first time since Tippett sank a 3-pointer to break a scoreless tie in the game’s first minute. Then Payne converted a three-point play with 5:12 left in the game to give the Rangers their first lead at 50-48.
Marcus Ferriter scored inside for BC to tie the game at 50 before Colton Gavne hit one of two free throws to take a 51-50 lead.
The next time down court, Guldseth finally connected.
Ferriter scored six points in the win. Danny Peoples joined Guldseth with 5 points, while Connor McGree and McCarthy each scored four and Dalton Sessions scored three
“That’s a good game that will pay off for us down the stretch, having to overcome a comeback like that,” Kelly said. “We played great really for the first two and a half quarters. Then there was a stretch where I think they scored on eight of nine possessions in the fourth quarter.”
The Maroons play at Belgrade in a non-conference game Tuesday. BC will play games at Corvallis and Anaconda before hosting the Southwestern A Divisional tournament Feb. 21-23 at the MAC.
LIVINGSTON (3-10) — Caleb Gable 0 0-0 0, Landan Ricketts 8 0-0 20, Ryley Heidt 3 0-0 8, Jesse Darr 3 0-0 7, Marcus Payne 10 1-5 21, Nick Bragg 0 0-0 0, Garrett Schweigert 0 0-0 0, Daniel Fowlie 0 0-0 0, Colton Gavne 0 1-2 1. Totals 24 2-7 57.
BUTTE CENTRAL (10-5) — Kale Guldseth 2 0-0 5, Emmett McCarthy 2 0-0 4, Brady Tippett 8 4-4 22, Marcus Ferriter 3 0-0 6, Nate Bolstad 6 0-1 16, Danny Peoples 2 0-0 5, Connor McGree 2 0-1 4, Dalton Sessions 0 3-4 3. Totals 25 7-10 65.
Livingston 13 12 19 13 — 57
Central 18 17 10 20 — 65
3-point goals — Livingston 7 (Ricketts 4, Heidt 2, Darr), BC 8 (Bolstad 4, Tippett 2, Guldseth, Peoples). Fouls — Livingston 14, BC 6. Fouled out — none. Technicals — none.