Big Sky rallies to win boys’ game

With probably more college football prospects on the floor than basketball ones, the play figured to be physical. Also, as could be expected, nobody seemed to mind the hard contact that occurred during the boys’ game of the Southwest Montana All-Star Classic competition at the Montana Tech HPER Complex Tuesday night.
Under the auspices of the no-felony, no-foul officiating philosophy that often governs freewheeling styles of all-star basketball, the boys’ game went to the finish, with the Butte-based Big Sky All-Stars prevailing over the regional Treasure State All-Stars, 94-90. The show included 71 shots from beyond the 3-point arc, 42 of them tried by Big Sky.
It was a game that kept the spectators in the gym, too, though not so much in their seats. They were up and cheering to the end.
The sealant wasn’t applied until Butte Central standout Kale Guldseth sank a free throw with three seconds left to attain the final four-point spread, one safe from a long-distance 3-pointer, should one fall at the buzzer, as long as the defense was soft enough to not impede the attempt and cause a foul.
The win capped a second-rally by Big Sky, which limited its talented opposition to 33 points in the second half. Treasure State led 57-45 at halftime and took a 73-66 into the fourth quarter, though it had fight off a spirited Big Sky rally to hold the third-quarter lead.
Big Sky took its first lead since early in the gamer at 82-81 following a basket by Whitehall’s Bryce Murphy off a pass from Cole Woodland of Jefferson High in Boulder with 5 minutes, 13 seconds left in the game.
The race was on.
Two consecutive baskets by Ennis star Connor Sullivan took Treasure State to an 85-82 advantage. Big Sky regained the lead, 87-85, as Woodland scored off a fast-break started by Deer Lodge’s Logan Doiron on a defensive rebound, and Guldseth nailed a 3-pointer.
Treasure State lurched back, taking one last lead. Dillon standout Troy Scott netted his fourth 3-pointer of the game and Sullivan tallied again from inside with 2:07on the clock. Big Sky bounced back to erase the 90-87 deficit. Butte High star Dallas Cook shook off the defense with a spin move in the key for a basket and then took a Guldseth feed for a layup, giving the team the lead for good. Butte Central leader Nate Bolstad took the ball to the hole to cap the six-point run and give Big Sky a 93-90 advantage with only 28 seconds showing on the clock.
The always-dangerous Scott cast off from threesville with 13 seconds left, but the shot wouldn’t filter through the net. Butte High’s Peter Granger grabbed the rebound. So few fouls had been called that Treasure State had to then commit four in order to bring on the bonus free throw, one-and-one, situation for a chance to stop time and gain possession.
The seventh team foul was committed by Sullivan and was the one that put Guldseth at the free throw line for what proved to be the clincher, making winners of coaches Jim Konen and John “Skeez” Sullivan former mentors of Butte sports teams.
Granger said playing in the game was a great way to spend a Tuesday night in Butte.
“It’s always fun,” he said about the game. “We all know each other and we’re friends. But it’s always competitive.”
The Butte High senior agreed the play was rugged, but did not complain.
“(Playing) football (last fall) helped me,” he acknowledged, then told he has been invited to walk onto the Montana State football program next fall.
A star receiver, Granger also has all-star football competition on his coming schedule, including a spot in the annual Badlands Bowl in June. Sheer competitiveness is a driving force for the athlete, a reason he was happy to be selected to play in the Southwest Montana Classic for basketball.
“It’s a lot of fun to play in games where everybody is good,” he said. “Everybody knows what to do, you know where they’re at, who’s cutting when, who’s going where and all that. And if you get open, everyone finds you to get you the ball.”
A 9-4 run to close the first quarter staked Treasure State to the early command. A 3-pointer by Braydon McKitirick of Ennis lit the spree that included a rebound basket by Brady Richardson of Dillon and two baskets by Harrison’s Garrett Peterson.
Big Sky held a one-point lead after Bolstad sank two foul shots with about three minutes left in the first half. Treasure State, however, then closed the half with a 7-0 run on drives to the hoop by Peterson and Dillon’s Chance Kluesner, and on a 3-pointer by Peterson.
The biggest lead of the game was 15 points, achieved by Treasure State at 8:25 of the third quarter after Lima’s Dee Mayer scored on a drive to make the score 62-45.
Big Sky then began working its way back toward the victory.
Murphy led Big Sky with 18 points, Cook scored 12 and Guldseth, Woodland and Jefferson’s Trace LeTexier each tallied 11. Also, Bolstad put in 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Granger finished with eight points, Doiron and Butte Central’s Marcus Ferriter with four each, Brian Smith of Butte High with three and Jerry Metesh of Philipsburg with two. Nolan Konen of Twin Bridges also played.
Scott led all scorers with 20 points and was backed in the Treasure State production column by Sullivan with 18 points, Peterson with 14 and McKitrick with 13. Also, for Treasure State, Kevin Oberweiser of Drummond scored nine points, Richardson had seven, Mayer four, Dennis Stanberry of Anaconda three and Kluesner two. Gregory Schindler of Drummond, Trae Williams of Dillon and Jackson Wagner of Anaconda also played. Richardson was the chairman of the boards with 10 rebounds.
Butte Central graduate John Sullivan, a former coach at Ennis where he is now the high school principal, was the head coach of the Treasure State team,. He was assisted by Anthony Connole of Boulder.
The Classic is an Advantage Butte fund-raiser with proceeds going toward the putting on of tournaments and other sporting events in Butte.

TREASURE STATE ALL-STARS — Kevin Oberweiser 4-5 0-0 9, Connor Sullivan 9-16 0-2 18, Braydon McKitrick 5-9 0-0 13, Chance Kluesner 1-5 0-0 2, Dennis Stanberry 1-10 0-0 3, Gregory Schindler 0-4 0-0 0, Trae Williams 0-2 0-0 0, Dee Mayer 2-6 0-0 4, Troy Scott 8-17 0-0 20, Jackson Wagner 0-6 0-0 0, Garrett Peterson 6-10 0-0 14, Brady Richardson 3-4 1-2 7. Totals 39-94 1-4 90.
BIG SKY ALL-STARS — Nolan Konen 0-6 0-0 0, Brian Smith 1-8 0-0 3, Logan Doiron 2-5 0-0 4, Jerry Metesh 1-3 0-0 2, Kale Guldseth 3-10 3-4 11, Peter Granger 4-11 0-0 8, Cole Woodland 5-10 0-0 11, Trace LeTexier 4-6 2-3 11, Bryce Murphy 7-11 0-0 18, Dallas Cook 6-12 0-0 12, Marcus Ferriter 2-5 0-0 4, Nate Bolstad 4-9 2-2 10. Totals 39-96 7-9 94.

Treasure State 29 28 16 17 — 90
Big Sky 23 22 21 28 — 94

3-point goals — Treasure State 11-29 (Oberweiser 1-1, McKitrick 3-6, Kluesner 0-3, Stanberry 1-2, Schindler 0-1, Mayer 0-2, Scott 4-7, Wagner 0-3, Peterson 2-4), Big Sky 9-42 (Konen 0-4, Smith 1-7, Metesh 0-1, Guldseth 2-4, Granger 0-4, Woodland 1-7, LeTexier 1-2, Murphy 4-7, Cook 0-1, Ferriter 0-2, Bolstad 0-3). Fouled out — none. Total fouls — Treasure State 12, Big Sky 4. Technicals — none. Rebounds — Treasure State 62 (Richardson 10, Sullivan 8, Peterson 8), Big Sky 63 (Bolstad 9, Murphy 7, Ferriter 7). Blocks — Treasure State 4 (Kluesner 1, Schindler 1, Peterson 1, Richardson 1), Nig Sky 1 (Bolstad). Assists — Treasure State 7 (Stanberry 2, Mayer 2), Big Sky 11 (Woodland 3, Cook 3). Steals — Treasure State 6 (Sullivan 2), Big Sky 10 (Metesh 2). Turnovers — Treasure State 10, Big Sky 16.

Ennis player Connor Sullivan goes up for a basket in front of Boulder’s Trace LeTexier and Twin Bridges’ Nolan Konen.

Butte Central’s Kale Guldseth creates a shot in the third quarter.

Dillon’s Trae Williams drives to the hoop against Twin Bridges’ Nolan Konen and Boulder’s Cole Woodland (24).

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