Belgrade girls hold off Maroons in opener

Belgrade girls hold off Maroons in opener
Butte Central's Shea Davis goes up for a shot as Belgrade's Meghan McGinley defends Tuesday night at the Maroon Activities Center. (Bill Foley photo)

By Bill Foley

Playing their third game in five nights just might have gotten to the Butte Central girls’ basketball team.

Belgrade went on a 10-0 run early in the fourth quarter, and that proved to be the difference as the Panthers knocked off the Maroons 48-41 in non-conference game Tuesday night at the Maroon Activities Center.

“We ran out of gas,” BC coach Meg Murphy said after her team fell to 1-4. “We couldn’t find our legs. We couldn’t find anything.”

Other than that stretch of about 5 minutes in which the Maroons didn’t score, however, the young Central squad went toe-to-toe with a Panther team Murphy said will be one of the top two teams in the Central A.

“Belgrade is a good team,” Murphy said. “I thought we played with them.”

Belgrade led 18-17 after a first half that saw four lead changes and five ties. A bucket by Sophia Flikkema with 2 seconds left in the third quarter gave the Panthers a 33-29 advantage.

The Maroons pulled to within 33-30 when Maddie Kump hit one of two free throws to pen the fourth quarter. Then Hazel Eaton hit back-to-back buckets to launch Belgrade’s 10-0 run.

When Taylor Christensen scored with 3:06 left in the game, the Panthers led 43-30.

BC senior guard Tricia Joyce sank a 3-pointer with 2:30 left to finally get the Maroons back on the board. By then, though, the lead was too big and time was too short.

Murphy pointed to turnovers and “growing pains” on offense for BC’s downfall.

“When you turn the ball over 22-24 times, you’re not going to win many games,” the coach said. “Defensively, we’re doing some good things. We’ve just got to limit our mistakes on the offensive end. They’re growing pains. They’re better than the first weekend. That’s been our goal is to get better each week.”

Junior Gabby Weber poured in 11 points to lead the Panthers, who improved to 2-4. McKenna Carlson, a 6-foot-2 senior, scored 10 points. The Panthers also got nine points a piece from Bailey and Taylor Christensen.

Junior Emma Keeley scored 14 points to lead the Maroons. Kump, a sophomore who opened the scoring with the first of her two 3-pointers in the first quarter, scored nine, while Joyce tossed in eight and freshman Sofee Thatcher netted seven.

Sophomore Taylor Harrington, who along with senior Shea Davis had a big night defensively and on the boards, scored two points, and sophomore Amira Bolton tossed in one.

Sophomores Avery Kelly, and Delaney Hasquet also contributed for the Maroons. Once again, injured senior Bella Sorini started, but she was subbed out after 5 seconds and never played again.

Murphy said she hopes to get the injured Sorini back full-time after the Christmas break.

The coach said her team is showing signs of good things to come. Murphy said her Maroons are playing hard.

“It’s going to come,” Murphy said. “We’ve just got to be patient.”

BC doesn’t have much time for that, however. The Maroons head to Hamilton for a Southwestern A showdown with the Broncs on Thursday.

BELGRADE (2-4) — Tylor Christensen 2 5-10 9, Meghan McGinley 1 0-1 2, Gabby Weber 4 2-2 11, Bailey Christensen 3 3-6 9, McKenna Carlson 4 2-3 10, Vada Barkell 0 0-0 0, Hazel Eaton 2 1-2 5, Sophia Flikkema 1 0-0 2. Totals 17 13-24 48.
BUTTE CENTRAL (1-4) — Bella Sorini 0 0-0 0, Shea Davis 0 0-0 0, Emma Keeley 3 7-9 14, Tricia Joyce 2 3-5 8, Maddie Kump 3 1-2 9, Sofee Thatcher 2 1-2 7, Amira Bolton 0 1-2 1, Taylor Harrington 1 0-0 2, Avery Kelly 0 0-0 0, Delaney Hasquet 0 0-0 0. Totals 11 13-20 41.
Belgrade                     10        8          15        15 — 48
Butte Central             10        7          12        12 — 41

3-point goals — Belgrade 1 (Weber), BC 6 Kump 2, Thatcher 2, Keeley, Joyce). Fouls — Belgrade 18, BC 18. Fouled out — none. Technicals — none.

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