BC girls outlast Locomotives

Alysea Pica was just the spark plug the Maroons needed Saturday afternoon.

The senior point guard hit back to back buckets — the first a 3-pointer — to put the Maroons up for good as the Butte Central girls’ basketball team beat Laurel 41-36 in a bruising non-conference game at the Butte Civic Center.

The game was the finale in the Butte Central Tip-Off Tournament.

Pica’s 3-pointer, which came with 2 minutes, 42 seconds left in the third quarter, gave BC its first points of the second half. It also started an 11-3 Maroon run to close out the quarter.

“She hit two big shots in the row, and that changed the momentum,” BC coach Meg Murphy said. “We got a little flat.”

Pica scored all of her 11 points in the second half.

“I needed to keep driving to the basket,” Pica said. “I needed to go in for a layup or to get fouled so I could make my free throws.”

Danika Neumann joined Pica with 11 points. Danee Leary scored nine points, while Mariah Cooney scored seven, Shelby Paffhausen tossed in two and Annie Ossello tossed in one.

Hanna Stajcar, Aleesha LaBreche, Shawnee Hjelt and Teresa Piazzola also contributed in the win for the Maroons, who overcame heavy foul trouble. Pica, Cooney and Stajcar all picked up four fouls.

The Locomotives also battled foul trouble, with Bailey Love and Leslie Gappa fouling out.

Neumann and Leary each scored seven points in the first half as the Maroons took a 19-16 lead into the break.

BC switched its focus to defense after that.

“We played defense a lot better in the second half,” Pica said. “In the first half our defense was a little sketchy.”

Jayde LeFevre scored a game-high 17 for the Locomotives.

“Laurel is a good team,” Murphy said. “You’re going to see them over in the East doing some damage.”

The Maroons are back in action Thursday when they play host to Stevensville in a Southwestern A game at the MAC. The game will be a rematch of last season’s divisional challenge game, which was won by the Maroons.

BC plays host to Anaconda next Saturday before heading to Hamilton for a conference game the following Tuesday.

“Now we hit the conference season running,” Murphy said. “Nothing like starting with Stevensville. We’ve got our work cut out for us.”

LAUREL (1-1) — Jayde LeFevre 5 5-6 17, Leslie Gappa 1 2-4 4, Emily Smarsh 0 0-0 0, Bailey Love 2 4-4 8, Lexi Budge 1 0-0 2, Allie McGrath 0 3-3 3, Dalayna Christensen 1 0-2 2. Totals 10 14-19 36.
BUTTE CENTRAL(2-0)  — Hannah Stajcar 0 0-0 0, Danee Leary 3 2-4 9, Alysea Pica 2 5-5 11, Annie Ossello 0 1-2 1, Mariah Cooney 1 5-12 7, Shelby Paffhausen 0 2-2 2, Danika Neumann 2 6-8 11, Shawnee Hjelt 0 0-0 0, Aleesha LaBreche 0-1 0-0 0, Teresa Piazzola 0 0-0 0. Totals 8 22-33 41.
Laurel             11    5       7   13 — 36
Central            10    9    11   11 — 41

3-point goals — Laurel 2 (LeFevre), BC 3 (Pica, Neumann, Leary). Fouls — Laurel 24, BC 19. Fouled out — Love, Gappa. Technicals — none.