By Bruce Sayler
The efforts were spread around a little deeper and a little wider for the Butte Central girls’ basketball team Saturday in its 39-28 non-conference win over Livingston.
The Maroons used 10 players in the high school game at the Maroon Activities Center (MAC), but with court time a little more liberal for backups than has been usually seen in this rebuilding season.
“Getting two wins (in one weekend) is always a plus for us,” head coach Meg Murphy said after the victory that came less than 24 hours after a 34-29 triumph over Dillon. “I was really pleased with the play of the kids coming off the bench, coming in and giving us positive minutes. They’re playing some good quarters in the JV games and it will help us out vastly in the long run.”
The usuals fronted the attack for Butte Central as senior scoring leader Tricia Joyce paced the contribution list with 10 points. Junior Emma Keeley scored eight and freshman Sofee Thatcher tossed in seven. In all, 10 Maroons played and seven of them tallied points.
Maddie Kump had five, Bella Sorini four, Shea Davis three and Amira Bolton two. Taylor Harrington, Delaney Hasquet and Avery Kelly also saw time.
“Tricia Joyce plays as hard as any player I’ve coached,” Murphy said. “Her motor doesn’t stop. Shea Davis did a nice job of doing what we asked her to do. She pulled down some big boards and does a lot of things that most people wouldn’t notice. Emma hit some big shots for us, and Sofee is as good a rebounder as there is. She is getting better each week.”
Part of the unheralded duty of the BC participants was on the defense against 6-foot-4 Livingston senior post Danielle Babcox. She was held to nine points and six rebounds despite towering over the Butte Central girls.
Such defense shined in the second quarter when the Maroons prevented any field goals from the Rangers. BC outscored Livingston 14-2 in the period for a 20-10 halftime command. The Rangers were 0-for-8 from the field in the frame, scoring only on two free throws by Kodie Vondra.
Murphy said her team’s defense has been a consistent attribute and has been important in its three wins this year.
“We’re probably the smallest team in the conference,” she said, alluding to how the team defense keeps Butte Central in contention. “I’m proud of the way we played. We got beat up on the boards a little bit, but Livingston screens out really well.”
The Rangers ran out to a 6-0 lead to start the game as Babcox knocked down a layup off a pass from Sylvie Schoenen, Abby Kokot took a touch pass from Rainna Floyd to the hoop and Vondra scored on a drive.
Joyce put the Maroons on the board with a steal and layup and Thatcher netted a free throw 25 seconds later. BC had closed to within 8-6 after one quarter, then caught Livingston on foul shots by Sorini early in the second period.
The Sorini freebies began an 8-0 Butte Central run that also included a Davis free throw, Keeley 3-pointer and a nice jumper by Kump. The Maroons led 14-8 and maintained a double-digit margin the rest of the way.
A noticeable improvement for Butte Central was in its passing and ball-handling. The Maroons committed only 10 turnovers, compared to the 27 they were guilty of against Dillon the night before.
Vondra scored 12 points for game-high honors as the Rangers fell to 2-7 for the season.
The win put BC at 3-5 going into a home non-conference game Tuesday against Anaconda.
LIVINGSTON (2-7) — Ryleah Floyd 0-9 0-1 0, Kodie Vondra 5-10 2-4 12, Sylvie Schoenen 0-4 2-2 2, Abby Kokot 1-6 0-4 2, Danielle Babcox 4-6 1-2 9, Rainna Floyd 1-3 0-1 2, Bobbi Lima 0-4 1-2 1, Baylee Bergsing 0-0 0-0 0. Skylar Higgs 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 11-42 6-16 28.
BUTTE CENTRAL (3-5) — Emma Keeley 3-10 0-0 8, Maddie Kump 2-6 0-2 5, Bella Sorini 1-1 2-4 2, Shea Davis 1-1 1-3 3, Tricia Joyce 3-11 2-2 10, Sofee Thatcher 2-10 2-6 7, Amira Bolton 1-1 0-0 2, Taylor Harrington 0-1 0-0 0, Delaney Hasquet 0-0 0-0 0, Avery Kelly 0-0 0-1 0. Totals 13-41 7-18 39.
Livingston 8 2 12 6 — 28
Butte Central 6 14 14 5 — 39
3-point goals — Livingston 0-5 (Vondra 0-1, Schoenen 0-2, Lima 0-2), BC 6-19 (Keeley 2-6, Kump 1-3, Joyce 2-7, Thatcher 1-3). Fouled out — none. Total fouls — Livingston 19, BC 13. Technicals — none. Rebounds — Livingston 44 (Ryleigh Floyd 9), BC 29 (Thatcher 6). Blocks — Livingston 3 (Babcox 2), BC 0. Assists — Livingston 5 (Schoenen 2, Rainna Floyd 2), BC 9 (Thatcher 3, Joyce 3). Steals — Livingston 5 (Ryleigh Floyd 3), BC 10 (Joyce 3). Turnovers — Livingston 15, BC 10.