BC girls roll in opener

Four players in double figures and a dominating display of skills by one of them put a smile on coach Meg Murphy’s face Friday after the Butte Central girls opened their high school basketball season with a 72-52 win over Browning.

The victory came in first-day action at the 2012 Butte Central Tip-Off Tournament. Girls’ games were played Friday at the Maroon Activities Center while the boys competed at the Civic Center. They’ll switch sites for Saturday’s schedule.

Danee Leary led the Maroons to the first-game triumph with numbers of 18 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and six steals. She drilled 4 of 7 shots from 3 point range.

The BC team totals also showed Hannah Stajcar with 15 points, Danika Neumann with 13 and Alysea Pica with 11.  Mariah Cooney pulled down nine rebounds and Stajcar snared seven as Butte Central bossed the boards by a 50-43 margin. The Maroons shot 28-for-62 from the field, but a needs-work 10-for-27 from the free throw line. They created 27 turnovers, including 17 steals.

“I thought we shot the ball well and I thought the kids did a good job of trying to go inside first before shooting the 3-pointer,” Murphy said. “I think it was the first time since we had Quinn (Peoples) and Lexie (Murphy) that we’ve had a good inside-outside (combination).

Peoples and Lexie Murphy, the coach’s daughter, led BC to the state Class A championship in 2011 as seniors. Peoples now stars for Montana State-Billings.

Murphy said the younger role players need to catch up to the experienced varsity returnees so that they can provide relief, particularly at point guard. Pica and Neumann are sharing the start, but the coach is hesitant of playing both seniors at the same time for fear of both incurring foul trouble. Pica fouled out of Friday’s opener.

However, both had very good games on Friday.

“Our seniors are comfortable playing with each other,” Murphy said. “I don’t think our man defense is quite where we want it to be, but I was happy with our press. Our taller players are so athletic they can really help out our guards on the press, which is a reason we’ve been successful with it.”

Senior Mariah Ingraham was the next-to-last player into the game off the bench for Browning, but wound up leading the Indians with 16 points. She was their only double-digit scorer. Marti Eaglefeathers had six rebounds and four assists. Courtney Littledog made three steals.

The only time Butte Central was behind was at 1-0 when Eaglefeathers sank a free throw 24 seconds into the game. Leary gave the Maroons the lead with a jumper from just inside the 3-point arc and they went on to a 16-11 advantage by the end of the quarter.

Neumann scored eight points in a busy second quarter that saw almost every player on both rosters check into the game at some juncture. The difference had widened to 40-24 by halftime.

Murphy experimented with many lineup combinations as BC cruised through the second half.

Freshman Teresa Piazzola scored three points in the win and Annie Ossello and Aleesha LaBreche each tallied two. Shelby Paffhausen caged a free throw. Sierra Pica, Chandra McCurdy and Shawnee Hjelt all also contributed court time to the win.

`”Three freshmen and two juniors with no experience stepped up and gave us some minutes,” Murphy said. “(Senior) Aleesha LaBreche came in and rebounded for us and blocked out.”

Butte Central will play Laurel at 4:15 on Saturday in the Civic Center. Browning will go against Hardin at 11 a.m., also in the Civic Center.

BROWNING (0-1) — Courtney Littledog 0-4 0-1 0, Jessica Magee 1-3 2-4 4, Brooke Carlson 2-7 2-3 7, Marti Eaglefeathers 1-8 2-5 4, Ashley Burd 0-5 1-2 1, Tiara Gilham 3-6 1-2 7, Rachel Heptner 3-5 2-2 9, Shelsey St. Goddard 1-2 0-0 3, Cyndi Sharp 0-4 0-0 0, Treyanna Belcourt 0-0 0-0 0, Mariah Ingraham 6-9 3-5 16, Britney Wolftail 0-1 1-2 1. Totals 17-54 14-26 52.
 — Hannah Stajcar 6-12 2-4 15, Danee Leary 7-13 0-0 18, Alysea Pica 4-9 3-9 11, Annie Ossello 1-3 0-0 2, Mariah Cooney 3-6 1-4 7, Danika Neumann 5-10 2-3 13, Aleesha LaBreche 1-1 0-3 2, Sierra Pica 0-1 0-0 0, Shelby Paffhausen 0-2 1-2 1, Teresa Piazzola 1-5 1-2 3, Chandra McCurdy 0-0 0-0 0, Shawnee Hjelt 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-62 10-27 72.
Browning          11          13           9          19  —  52
Butte Central     16          24         17          15  —  72
3-point goals —Browning 4-13 (Littledog 0-1, Carlson 1-2, Eaglefeathers 0-2, Gilham 0-2, Heptner 1-1, St. Goddard 1-1, Sharp 0-2, Ingraham 1-2), Butte Central 6-13 ((Stajcar 1-1, Leary 4-7, A. Pica 0-1, Neumann 1-3, S. Pica 0-1).  Fouled out — A. Pica. Total fouls — Browning 24, Butte Central 24. Technicals — none. Rebounds — Browning 43 (Eaglefeathers 6), Butte Central 50 (Leary 14, Cooney 9, Stajcar 7). Blocks —none. Assists — Browning 6 (Eaglefeathers 4), Butte Central 16 (Stajcar 5). Steals — Browning 8 ((Littledog 3), Butte Central 17 (Leary 6, Neumann 3), Turnovers — Browning 27, Butte Central 18.