BC girls break through, bring down Yellowjackets

BC girls break through, bring down Yellowjackets
Butte Central freshman Sofee Thatcher takes the ball to the hoop Saturday against Stevensville at the Maroon Activities Center. (Bill Foley photo)

By Bruce Sayler

Growing pains subsided a bit with a win for the Butte Central girls’ basketball team Saturday.

For the most on the Maroons’ roster, the 40-30 victory at the Maroon Activities Center over Southwestern A Conference opponent Stevensville, it was the first in their varsity infancy. We’re only four games into the 2018-19 campaign and the BC girls came close on Friday. They fell  by a point to Frenchtown on a shot at the end in the first basketball game played at the MAC this year.

Hurt lingered overnight, but smiles returned with victory, Saturday. Senior Tricia Joyce’s 21 points, mostly on five 3-point baskets, brought celebration while leading the triumph..

“It’s a learning process for all of us,” Meg Murphy, head coach of the Maroons, said about fielding a young team with just one returning starter, Joyce, this season following a run of three or more seasons covered by experienced and successful rosters. “Young kids will make mistakes and you have to live with that.”

Winning makes the living easier.

The inconsistency of youth was prevalent for both sides. Murphy substituted freely throughout the game as 10 Maroons saw playing time. Their 12-point first quarter built confidence only to see it go to powder when limited to three points in the next period. Still, Butte Central led, narrowly, 15-13 at halftime and never game up the advantage. Stevensville used just six players the whole game and also listed a young bench on its roster.

The Maroons’ lead was first gained when junior Emma Keeley scored back-to-baskets, off passes by Sofee Thatcher and Joyce, to overtake Stevensville, 4-3, with 2 minutes, 40 seconds left in the first frame.

“Tricia is playing a bigger role than before because she has to, now,” Murphy said. “She’s used to distributing the ball to everybody else, making sure they get their shots, but now she has to be taking big shots down the stretch for us.

“She’s a lot more consistent in doing that, now, but teams are going to be trying to stop her. The other kids will have to step up. Emma stepped up a lot the last two games.”

The Yellowjackets closed the halftime gap to 15-13 with a 6-0 run by Angel Richards.

The Maroons kept Stevi from tying to begin the second half as Keeley netted a 3-pointer. It began a good quarter for BC. Joyce meshed three treys in the period and the team was up by 30-16 after three frames. Stevensville’s only points in the frame were by Evynne Alexander.

The difference remained 9-12 points for the rest of the game.

“We have good kids and they will compete hard,” Murphy said. “I had 11 girls play eight quarters in varsity and JV yesterday and today. They work hard and so I hate to complain. You know, it’s hard to come back from a game last night, one I thought we had won.”

The offense will take some time to click, but the defense is pleasing the BC coach.

“And, tonight we did a good job of boarding, again,” she said. “It started with the first game and has continued. We’ve been boxing out and that’s the main thing.”

The defense held Richards to eight points, though Alexander, the Yellowjackets’ other inside standout, put in a team-high 12 and snared a game-high eight rebounds.. The loss put Stevensville at 2-3 for the season, 0-1 in conference play. The Yellowjackets will play at Corvallis on December 20 in their next game.

Keeley finished with 12 points to back Joyce’s output for Butte Central. The freshman Thatcher scored four points and sophomore Maddie Kump had two. Senior Shea Davis tallied one point and led the team in rebounds with six. Bella Sorini, Amira Bolton, Avery Kelly, Delaney Hasquet and Taylor Harrington also played.

“We got a win and it’s a conference win,” Murphy said. “That’s what’s most important.”

At 1-3 for the season, 1-1 in conference, the BC girls will next play on Tuesday when they are home in the MAC against Belgrade in non-conference play. It will be a doubleheader with the girls’ teams playing at 6 p.m., followed by the boys’ game slated for 8.

STEVENSVILLE (2-3, 0-1) — Maddie Weber 0-1 1-2 1, Maddie Sims 0-3 1-2 1, Kennedy Praast 0-2 0-0 0, Angel Richards 4-8 0-0 8, Evynne Alexander 5-15 2-4 12, Maliyah LeCoure 3-12 0-0 8. Totals 12-44 4-8 30.
BUTTE CENTRAL (1-3, 1-1) — Emma Keeley 4-7 3-4 12, Maddie Kump. 0-3 2-6 2, Bella Sorini 0-0 0-0 0, Shea Davis 0-1 1-2 1, Tricia Joyce 7-14 2-2 21, Sofee Thatcher 1-4 1-2 4, Amira Bolton 0-1 0-0 0, Avery Kelly 0-0 0-0 0, Delaney Hasquet 0-2 0-0 0, Taylor Harrington 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 12-33 9-16 40.
Stevensville                5          8          3          14 — 30
Butte Central             12        3          15        10 — 40

3-point goals — Stevi 2-16 (Weber 0-4, Sims 0-3, Praast 0-1, LeCoure 2-8), BC 7-17 (Keeley 1-3, Kump 0-3, Joyce 5-9, Thatcher 1-2). Fouled out — Praast. Total fouls — Stevi 15, BC 10. Technicals — none. Rebounds — Stevi 33 (Alexander 8), BC 26 (Davis 6). Blocks — Stevi 1 (Richards), BC 1 (Hasquet). Assists — Stevi 7 (Weber 4), BC 9 (Keeley 3). Steals — Stevi 8 (Weber 3, Sims 3), BC 4 (Keeley 1, Thatcher 1, Joyce 1, Kump 1). Turnovers — Stevi 19, BC 12.

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