Big Sky completes sweep with shootout win

By Bill Foley

Butte High’s Evan Anderson won the 3-point contest Tuesday night during the Southwest Montana High School Basketball Classic at the HPER Complex.

That contest took place during halftime of the doubleheader-opening girls’ game.

Apparently, the rest of the All-Stars didn’t get the memo that the 3-point contest ended before the girls took the court for the third quarter. The boys just kept launching the long balls.

In a game that saw 33 made 3-pointers, the Big Sky team out-shot the Treasure State team 97-91 in a contest that certainly pleased the large crowd but made defensive coaches cringe.

The victory gave Big Sky, which included players from Butte High and Butte Central, the sweep on the night.

Four members of the Big Sky team scored in double figures to lead the team’s balanced attack. Wes Harshbarger, a junior from Twin Bridges sank three 3-pointers and scored 17 points to lead the way.

Butte Central’s Tanner Kump, also a junior, hit five 3-pointers, including Big Sky’s first six points, and scored 15 points. Boulder senior Trace LeTexier added 11 powerful points in the paint, while Butte High junior Evan Anderson scored 10.

Gavin McKittrick, a junior from Ennis, hit four of his game-high seven 3-pointers to score 23 points to lead all scorers.

He also led Treasure state back into a contest that saw a steady stream of runs.

Big Sky, coached by Quinn Peoples and Jeff Arnston, opened with a 20-5 run to seemingly take control over the Treasure State, coached by Maury Cook and Kelci Thatcher.

Treasure State battled back to take a lead in the second quarter, only to see Big Sky bounce back for a 49-41 halftime edge.

Big Sky extended the lead to 84-68 early in the fourth quarter.

Ignited by the red-hot McKittrick, Treasure State fought back to pull within 91-89. Big Sky, though, answered with a buckets by LeTexier and Butte Central junior Nate McGree hold off the charge.

Cade Benjamin of Deer Lodge added nine points, while Ryson Lovshin of Butte High tossed in eight points. The Big Sky squad also got six from Powell; five from Twin Bridges’ Tracen Eagers; four apiece from McGree, BC teammate Cole Harper and Deer Lodge’s Brandon Porter; and two from Boulder’s A.J. Eckmann and Lima’s Guy Hales.

All 13 members of the Big Sky team scored at least two points.

Four Treasure State players scored in double figures, with Whitehall’s Andrew Simon tossing in 16. Dillon’s Tanner Haverfield joined Simon with four 3-pointers and scored 14 points, while Beaver teammate Troy Anderson tossed in 10.

The Treasure State boys also got seven from Anaconda senior Caleb Stetzner; six from Dillon’s Payton LaFrantz; five from Whitehall’s Brandon Larson; four from Philipsburg’s Connor Munis; and two from Anaconda’s Nick Huber and Braxton Hill and Ennis’ Jake Knack.

Anaconda’s Sean Gallagher also played for the Treasure State. Dillon Star Nate Simkins missed the game with an injury.

The games, where were a fundraiser for the Butte Chamber of Commerce Hospitality Committee, also featured show-stopping performances by the award-winning Dynamic Dance and Tumbling Company.

TREASURE STATE — Payton LaFrantz 3 0-0 6, Troy Anderson 4 0-0 10, Tanner Haverfield 5 0-0 14, Nick Huber 1 0-0 2, Braxton Hill 1 0-0 2, Sean Gallagher 0 0-0 0, Caleb Stetzner 3 0-0 7, Jake Knack 1 0-0 2, Gavin McKitrick 8 0-0 23, Connor Munis 2 0-0 4, Brandon Larson 1 3-4 5, 3-4 5, Andrew Simon 5 2-2 16. Totals 24 5-6 91.
BIG SKY — Brock Powell 3 0-0 6, Ryson Lovshin 3 0-0 8, Evan Anderson 4 0-1 10, Nate McGree 2 0-0 4, Cole Harper 1 1-2 4, Tanner Kump 5 0-0 15, Tracem Eagers 2 0-0 5, Wes Harshbarger 7 0-0 17, Trace LeTexier 5 1-2 11, A.J. Eckmann 1 0-0 2, Cade Benjamin 4 0-0 9, Brandon Porter 2 0-0 4, Guy Hales 1 0-0 2. Totals 40 2-5 97.
Treasure State           22        19        25        25 — 91
Big Sky                       23        26        30        18 — 97

3-point goals — TS 18 (McKittrick 7, Haverfield 4, Simon 4, Anderson 2, Stetzner 1), BS 15 (Kump 5, Harshberger 3, Lovshin 2, Anderson 2, Harper 1, Eagers 1, Benjamin 1). Fouls — TS 11, BS 6. Fouled out — none.