By Derek Hendrickson
The Dillon Beavers avenged a senior night loss to the Stevensville Yellowjackets with a convincing 55-34 victory in the Southwestern A Divisional Championship Saturday evening at the Maroon Activities Center. STATS
Troy Scott led a balanced Beaver attack, scoring 16 points in the win and leading Dillon back to the State Tournament after a rare year away last season.
The Butte Central Maroons were hoping that Stevensville could knock Dillon off for the second time in 8 days which would result in a Monday challenge game and it appeared early there might be some hope as the Yellowjackets got off to a strong start.
Stevensville jumped out to a 12-5 lead on the early hot shooting of Jared Schultz, who had seven-points in the run. Dillon went with the equivalent of a hockey line change midway through the first, subbing in 5 new players and cut the lead to 12-11 entering the second. Parker Love keyed the late quarter comeback with a corner 3-ball.
The Beavers continued their scoring spree, adding seven more to the six they finished the quarter with for an 18-12 Dillon advantage. Chance Coleman hit his second three to bring the Yellowjackets back within 3, but unfortunately for them, as well as the Maroon faithful that was as close as they would get the remainder of the night.
Love cashed in his 2nd triple late in the half right after a Jason Ferris inside jumper and Dillon went up 26-15. Christopher Bergman tried to stop the bleeding and hit a 3 for the last points of the half and halted the 21-3 run.
Justin Ferris got an old fashioned three point play to kick start the Beaver offense in the second half and Love connected on his third triple in three attempts to stake Dillon to a 36-25 lead after three.
Last week in Dillon the Beavers entered the fourth up 14 and grew the lead to 17 so there was still some hope of a comeback for both the Stevensville and Butte Central cheering sections.
The Beavers quickly eliminated those hopes. Dillon scored the first 7 points of the 4th to take an 18 point lead and held on to it by making free throws as Stevensville tried to lengthen the game with fouls.
Dillon shot 17-21 from the line in the second half and held a massive total edge from the charity stripe, hitting 26 of 35 to just 4-11 for the Yellowjackets.
The Beavers turned up the defense after giving up 12 in the first quarter they only allowed 22 over the final three quarters, including only five more to Schultz after the seven he put in the opening frame.
Dillon had contributions up and down their roster as all 12 players got in the game. Love lit up the stat sheet with threes, as he was 3 of 3 from three point range as well as adding a game-high three steals to go with three rebounds. Brady Richardson had eight points, Trae Williams hit all 6 of his points from the line, Chance Kluesner and Justin Ferris put in five, Jason Ferris had four and JD Ferris added two.
Stevensville could only muster 31 percent shooting for the night against the various defenses that Beaver coach Terry Thomas threw at them. Coleman was second on the team with eight points, Zach Gavlak chipped in six while played his final basketball game in Butte before joining the Orediggers on the gridiron, Jace Omlid had five and Bergman finished with three.
Both teams will advance to the State Tournament beginning Thursday in Great Falls at the Four Seasons Arena. Stevensville will open with game one at 12:30 against top ranked Laurel, who edged Miles City 39-38 in the Eastern A final. Dillon faces the Cowboys at 6:30 in game 3 of the tournament. Miles City entered the Eastern A divisional as the six seed and held a 10 point fourth quarter lead before the Locomotives rallied to set up a possible championship between the top two ranked teams in class A. The rest of the bracket is still awaiting the finishing touches as poor weather delyed the Northwestern A tournament. Belgrade and Havre have qualified from the Central A. Columbia Falls will face Whitefish in the Northwestern final and the consolation will be determined to see if a challenge game is forthcoming.