Bison hold off Bulldog boys

Butte High's Brock Powell eyes the basket and Great Falls defender Keaton Burcham Saturday at the Richardson Gym. (Bill Foley photo)

By Bill Foley

A frigid first half was too much for the Butte High boys basketball team to overcome Saturday.

The Bulldogs made a ferocious comeback at the Ross J. Richardson Gymnasium, but it wasn’t enough as Great Falls High left town with a 52-39 Eastern AA victory.

Butte High coach Luke Powers liked the shots the Bulldogs were getting early on. The problem is that they were finding nothing but iron as the Bulldogs hit on just 5 of 28 shots in the first half. That included a 1-for-9 performance from 3-point land.

“We had good shots,” Powers said. “We just didn’t knock them down.”

The first-half cold spell resulted in the Bulldogs trailing 27-13 at halftime.

Butte High actually got off to a solid start that helped keep the team in striking distance.

The Bulldogs led 8-6 when Travis Williams drove up the middle for a bucket with 2 minutes, 33 seconds left in the first quarter.

Brendan Howard, though, tied the game at 8 with a bucket. Then Reece Green drove for a hoop to put the Bison on top for good at 10-8.

Those two buckets started a 19-3 Great Falls run.

“It just got kind of nasty there,” Powers said.

Butte High turned things around in the second half.

Evan Anderson and Williams knocked down 3-pointers to get the Bulldogs started in the third quarter. Still, the Bulldogs trailed 36-25 heading into the fourth quarter.

The Bulldogs made a fourth-quarter run that got the crowd back into the game and made the Bison sweat.

Anderson hit a base-line 3-pointer to ignite a 14-6 run that cut the lead to just three points at 42-39 after another bucket by Anderson.

Brock Powell scored six points in that run, while Ryson Lovshin hit a 3-pointer.

Again, the Bison answered with a bucket by Howard, a 6-foot-6 junior who always seems to be at the right place at the right time.

That started a 6-0 run as the Bison iced the game.

Howard, the son of coach Bob Howard, ended with a game-high 19 points, which is shy of his season average of 25.2 points per game. He was the lone Bison in double figures.

Keaton Burcham scored nine points, while Green tossed in eight. Riley Watt and Kody Torgerson each scored six, and Kellan Rumsa netted four.

Powell, Lovshin and Anderson each scored 10 points to pace the Bulldogs, who are still shorthanded thanks to two suspensions for violating team rules.

Powell also grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out four assists.

“Brock Powell really attacked the rim hard in the second half,” Powers said. “He had a nice game for us.”

Williams scored five points for the Bulldogs, while Kash Kelly and Kyle Klapan each tossed in two.

Trey Hoagland and Patrick O’Herron also competed for the Bulldogs, who will play host to Bozeman Tuesday night at the Butte Civic Center.

Powers said he likes what he is seeing from his team, which fell to 2-10 overall and 1-5 in conference.

“It’s nice that we’re competing,” the coach said. “They’re getting better every day, attitudes are fantastic, and all of our goals are still there.”

The Bison improved to 9-5 overall and 3-2 in league play.

GREAT FALLS HIGH (3-2, 9-5) — Kendall Kynet 0 0-0 0, Kody Torgerson 2 2-2 6, Riley Watt 2 2-2 6, Brendan Howard 7 5-6 10, Keaton Burcham 3 2-2 9, Blake Thelen 0 0-0 0, Kellan Rumsa 1 2-3 4, Kyle Winkler 0 0-0 0,, Reese Green 4 0-1 8, Robert Bruskotter 0 0-0 0, Keandre Harston 0 0-0 0. Totals 10 13-16 52.
BUTTE HIGH (1-5, 2-10) — Ryson Lovshin 3 2-2 10, Evan Anderson 3 2-2 10, Travis Williams 2 0-0 5, Patrick O’Herron 0 0-0 0, Brock Powell 5 0-1 10, Trey Hoagland 0 0-0 0, Kash Kelly 2 0-1 2, Kyle Klapan 1 0-0 2. Totals 15 4-6 39.
Great Falls                12        15        9          16 — 52
Butte High                 8          5          12        14 — 39

3-point goals — GF 1 (Burcham), Butte 5 (Lovshin 2, Anderson 2, Williams 1). Fouls — GF 12, Butte 15. Fouled out — none. Technicals — none.

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