Bronc girls gallop out ahead of Butte Central

By Bruce Sayler
Hamilton’s three-headed monster was too much for young Butte Central to vanquish Saturday in Southwestern A Conference high school girls’ basketball.
The Broncs saw 40 of their points scored by three players in a 64-23 win over Butte Central in the Maroon Activities Center (MAC). The fire-breathing was done by 5-foot-11 senior Lavana Wetzel with 16 points, 5-7 senior Madalyn Nelson with 14 and 5-9 sophomore Ashlynn McKern with 10. McKernan was the only non-senior in the starting lineup, but her older sister, Haylee, gave Hamilton six seniors on the roster.
The Maroons are involved in a major building project with sophomores, freshmen and eighth-graders making up the bulk of the team. Saturday’s loss was a notable improvement over a 61-7 defeat absorbed Thursday against Frenchtown.
For a little more than half of the first quarter, it was an even game. The Broncs scored first on a drive to the hoop by Ashlynn McKern and 5-9 sophomore Arika Stajcar answered for BC with a basket off a pass from 5-7 senior Kathryn Lalicker. Wetzel regained the lead for the Broncs with an inside hoop fed her by 5-3 senior point guard Taylor McCarthy. Lalicker hit for Butte Central and the score was tied 4-all with 3 minutes, 34 seconds left in the first quarter.
Wetzel scored the next six points and Hamilton had control of the contest. Tricia Wilson, a 5-10 junior, and McKern capped 11-0 run a layup and two free throws. Eighth-grader Kenzie McQueary scored on a drive for the Maroons as the quarter ended with the Broncs ahead by 15-6.
Hamilton then scored all 18 points of the second quarter for a 33-6 difference at halftime. The Broncs were able to maintain command the rest of the way.
Hamilton is 9-8 for the season, 5-3 in conference and will play at Stevensville on Tuesday.
Butte Central, 2-14 and 2-6, was led by Lalicker and Stajcar with eight points apiece. McQueary finished with four and eighth-grader Braelynn Schelin came off the bench to drain a 3-pointer near game’s end. Ali Stajcar, Rylee Forbes, Marley Mansanti, Caden Tippett, Zayonna Otherbull and Sophia Gelling also played. Senior Mollie Drew sat out in street clothes awaiting doctor’s OK to return to play after losing consciousness during a church service last Monday.
The Maroons are to be at home against Dillon on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the MAC.
HAMILTON (9-8, 5-3) – Madalyn Nelson 5-8 0-0 14, Ayda Griffin 2-6 1-3 5, Lavana Wetzel 7-15 1-2 16, Taylor McCarthy 1-6 2-2 4, Ashlynn McKern 2-6 5-8 10, Tricia Wilson 1-4 1-2 3, Haylee McKern 1-3 0-0 2, Anna Lewis 0-1 0-0 0, Bryn Cianflone 0-1 0-0 0, Mariah Domingo 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 23-58 10-17 64.
BUTTE CENTRAL (2-14, 2-6) – Kathryn Lalicker 4-12 0-2 8, Ali Stajcar 0-1 0-0 0, Rylee Forbes 0-2 0-0 0, Kenzie McQueary 2-5 0-0 4, Arika Stajcar 3-8 1-1 8, Marley Mansanti 0-1 0-2 0, Caden Tippett 0-1 0-0 0, Zayonna Otherbull 0-2 0-0 0, Braelynn Schelin 1-1 0-0 3, Sophia Gelling 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 10-33 1-5 23.
Hamilton 15 18 18 13 – 64
Butte Central 6 0 7 10 – 23
3-point goals – Hamilton 8-21 (Nelson 4-6, Wetzel 1-3, McCarthy 0-4, A. McKern 1-2, Leonardi 2-3, H. McKern 0-1, Lewis 0-1), BC 2-13 (Lalicker 0-2, Ali Stajcar 0-1, McQueary 0-2, Arika Stajcar 1-6, Otherbull 0-1, Schelin 1-1). Fouled out – none. Total fouls – Hamilton 11, BC 15. Technicals – none. Rebounds – Hamilton 43 (Wetzel 11), BC 21 (Lalicker 5). Blocks – Hamilton 1 (Nelson), BC 0. Assists – Hamilton 14 (McCarthy 4), BC 5 (Lalicker 2, McQueary 2). Steals – Hamilton 14 (Wetzel 5), BC 3 (Lalicker 2).

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