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BC clicks in second half, completes Ranger sweep

BC clicks in second half, completes Ranger sweep
Butte Central guard Luke Heaphy drives and dishes Saturday afternoon at the Butte Civic Center. Livingston's Danner Purkett defends on the play. (Bill Foley photo)

By Bill Foley

Brodie Kelly called it a punch in the mouth.

Livingston scored 10 quick points in the last 1 minute, 17 seconds of the second quarter Saturday at the Butte Civic Center to turn a comfortable Butte Central lead into a shaky 25-21 advantage at halftime.

That was just what the Butte Central boys’ basketball team did not need as the Maroons looked to avoid losing three straight games after starting the season with 13 straight wins.

In the third quarter, the Maroons punched back. Repeatedly.

BC used a 16-2 run in the third to take command, and BC completed the season sweep of the Rangers with a 57-41 non-conference victory. Central beat Livingston 57-56 Jan. 5 in Livingston.

“That was such a huge test of this group’s mental toughness because of the way that second quarter ended,” Kelly said. “That was just a punch in the mouth for us, and we were kind of stunned.”

Central led 25-11 after a Jared Simkins bucket with 3:08 left in the second quarter. BC didn’t score again in the half.

Livingston forced a handful of turnovers during the stretch. The Rangers got a pair of transition buckets and two Morgan Rosberg 3-pointers in the run. That included a buzzer-beating three on the way to the locker room.

Brendon Johnson drove for a bucket to open the second half, cutting the lead to 25-23.

The rest of the way, however, it was all BC.

Matt Simkins, in perhaps his best offensive game of the season, scored BC’s first seven points of the second half.

After scoring off a Braden Harrington pass, Simkins turned an old-fashioned three-point play. Rosberg hit another bucket, and Simkins stole the ball and took it the distance to start an 11-0 Central run.

“Matt was great tonight,” Kelly said of Simkins, who missed the first part of the season with a toe injury suffered during the football season. “It’s really good to have him back in the starting lineup and back to being himself again.”

Cade Holter and Luke Heaphy got in on the scoring during the BC scoring run. That included a picture-perfect pass from Holter to Heaphy on a fast break that put the Maroons up 38-25.

While Heaphy, a junior guard, scored nine points in the win. He was doing the passing most of the time. He dished out five assists, and that included a few absolute dimes.

“He does a really nice job setting guys up. A lot of time you just have to catch it and lay it in,” Kelly said of Heaphy. “The game today is his kind of game. Luke loves open-court basketball.”

Heaphy said the Maroons were ready to shake off losses at Hamilton and Dillon the previous week.

“We were pissed off about the last two games, and it was a good motivation for this one,” he said.

Holter and Matt Simkins finished with 13 points apiece to lead the BC offense. Trevor Neumann added eight points for the Maroons, who got five from Dylan Sestrich, four from Aaron Richards, two from Jared Simkins and Harrington, and one from Patrick Dolan.

Ryan Wahl, Egan Lester, Thomas McGree and Brian Holland also got in on the fun for the Maroons.

“We have a great offense. Everybody can make plays,” Heaphy said. “That’s the great thing about our team. You never know who is going to go off one day. It can be everybody. It’s fun because everybody can get open and everybody can knock down shots.”

Kelly pointed to the BC defense, which held the Ranger to 31 points other than that 1:17 stretch in the second quarter.

“They’re a potent offensive team. Johnson is as good individually as we play,” Kelly said. “They spread you out and shoot. I was just happy we got back to playing defense the way we’re capable of.”

Heaphy echoed his coach.

“They’re tough. They’ve got a lot of good threats,” he said. “Brendon Johnson is an amazing player.”

Johnson scored 13 points to lead the Rangers (8-7), who saw their four-game winning streak end. Rosberg and Danner Purkett each scored nine points.

Kelly downplayed BC’s losses, which came against tough Southwestern A foes.

“We played two really good teams on their home court,” Kelly said. “On top of that, we did not play good basketball. We made a tremendous amount of mistakes on the defensive side.”

The Maroons showed some strong character in bouncing back from the losses, Kelly said.

“Our guys did a great job being accountable,” he said. “No one was pointing fingers or making excuses. Last night we got some things corrected, and we played better today. It wasn’t perfect. We still made mistakes.”

The Maroons now have a few days to get ready for Thursday night. That’s when they take on Butte High in the Butte Civic Center.

Heaphy said BC will be ready.

“We’re excited about that,” he said. “Thursday is a big one. We’re coming out firing.”

LIVINGSTON (8-7) — Matt Netley 1 0-0 2, Brendon Johnson 4 4-4 13, John Waddell 0 0-2 2, Morgan Rosberg 3 1-4 9, Danner Purkett 3 0-0 9, Mcleod Versland 0 0-0 0, Sage McMinn 2 0-4 4, Coby Woods 0 0-0 0, Peyton Murphy 0 0-0 0, Nick battrick 0 0-0 0, Jack Gauthier 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 5-16 41.
BUTTE CENTRAL (14-2) — Luke Heaphy 4 1-1 9, Matt Simkins 6 1-1 13, Braden Harrington 1 0-0 2, Dylan Sestrich 2 0-1 5, Cade Holter 5 3-4 13, Jared Simkins 1 0-0 2, Trevor Neumann 3 0-1 8, Gator Yelenich 0 0-1 0, Aaron Richards 2 0-0 4, Ryan Wahl 0 0-0 0, Thomas McGree 0 0-0 0, Egan Lester 0 0-0 0, Patrick Dolan 0 1-2 1, Brian Holland 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 6-11 57.
Livingston                  9          12        6          14 — 41
Butte Central             11        14        16        16 — 57

3-point goals — Livingston 6 (Purkett 3, Rosberg 2, Johnson), BC 3 (Neumann 2, Sestrich). Fouls — Livingston 16, BC 12. Fouled out — none. Technicals — none.



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