By Bruce Sayler
Hamilton found its scorers and Butte Central was unable to counter as the Broncs edged BC 52-47 Saturday in a Southwestern A Conference high school boys’ basketball game played in the Maroon Activities Center.
The Maroons hooped two more field goals than Hamilton and came up with four more steals. The Broncs, though, were patient and employed their deliberate pace to avenge a 24-point loss to BC earlier in the season.
“I think it was a tight game,” Butte Central head coach Brodie Kelly said. “It felt like it was one or two possessions all of the second half. They made plays in the last two minutes and we didn’t.”
“It was a really low-possession game. We were guarding them well and they were pulling it out to the top. They knew who they wanted to get the ball to, and they got it to those shooters.”
The biggest lead came early, an 8-2 Maroon advantage after Braden Harrington netted a 3-pointer to cap an 8-0 run Luke Heaphy launched with a driving layup and a 3-point goal.
The score was tied 13-all after one quarter, the Broncs closing it with a Carson Rostad basket and a Trey Searle free throw. BC led 26-24 at halftime with baskets by Matt Simkins, Heaphy and Gator Yelenich stringing a 6-0 spree.
No difference was by more than five points after intermission. Hamilton had a 47-42 advantage with 2 minutes, 24 seconds left in the game, following a 3-pointer by freshman Eli Taylor. Butte Central did not catch up again, but did get to within a point, 47-46, when Heaphy scored on a fast break started by a Matt Simkins steal. The clock showed 1:27 left.
Searle dropped in two charity tosses for Hamilton and Harrington converted one for Butte Central. The Maroons didn’t score again, suffering two missed shots and an errant pass in the last 30 seconds. Meanwhile, Tyson Rostad went 3-for-5 shooting freebies to clinch for Hamilton.
“We’ve been making a lot of mistakes, lately,” Kelly said after his team’s second loss in three games after being undefeated for the season until then. “We’re not consistent with what we’re doing. It’s getting to be problematic.”
“I felt like we were getting looks, good looks, at the basket and not making the shots. We had some clean looks at 3-pointers by good shooters that didn’t go down. And, I did a poor job with our (personnel) rotation at the end of the third quarter, into the fourth.”
Kelly said it is important for the team to re-find its way, its chemistry with the season winding down. The Maroons return to action Thursday at home against Dillon.
“We clearly have not been playing our best basketball the last 10 days or so,” Kelly said. “That’s on all of us, including myself. We do have time to correct those mistakes and we need to get that done in practice.”
Searle hit four 3-pointers and led Hamilton with 20 points and Carson Rostad, a Montana Grizzly football quarterback signee, scored 10. The win put the Broncs are 12-2 for the season, 6-1 in Southwestern A play.
The BC boys are also now 12-2 for the season and have a conference ledger of 6-2. Heaphy led the team in scoring Saturday with 19 points. Matt Simkins was next with nine while Jared Simkins scored six, Harrington and Yelenich four apiece, Trevor Neumann three, and Aaron Richards two. Ryan Wahl also played.
HAMILTON (12-2, 6-1) — Carson Rostad 5-9 0-0 10 Austin Drake 1-3 0-0 2, Tyson Rostad 0-4 3-5 3, Trey Searle 6-16 4-5 20, Tyler Burrows 3-5 1-1 7, Eli Taylor 2-2 2-2 7, Josh Dickemore 0-0 0-0 0, Tristan Hanson 1-1 0-0 3, Jaiden Klemundt 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-40 10-13 52.
BUTTE CENTRAL (12-2, 6-2) — Jared Simkins 3-4 0-0 6, Luke Heaphy 8-11 1-1 19, Braden Harrington 1-4 1-2 4, Gator Yelenich 2-5 0-0 4, Aaron Richards 1-4 0-0 2, Trevor Neumann 1-3 0-0 3, Ryan Wahl 0-1 0-0 0, Matt Simkins 4-7 1-1 9. Totals 20-39 3-4 47.
Hamilton 13 11 13 15 — 52
Butte Central 13 13 12 9 — 47
3-point goals — Hamilton 6-12 (Drake 0-1, T. Rostad 0-1, Searle 4-8, Hanson 1-1, Taylor 1-1), Butte Central 4-15 (J. Simkins 0-1, Heaphy 2-5, Harrington 1-2, Yelenich 0-1, Neumann 1-5, Wahl 0-1). Fouled out — none. Total fouls — Hamilton 11, Butte Central 13. Technicals — none. Rebounds — Hamilton 24 (Burrows 8), Butte Central 18 (J. Simkins 6). Blocks — Hamilton 2 (C. Rostad 1 Burrows 1), Butte Central 1 (Harrington). Assists — Hamilton 11 (Searle 3, C. Rostad 3, T. Rostad 3), Butte Central 11 (Yelenich 4, Heaphy 3). Steals — Hamilton 6 (T. Rostad 3), Butte Central 10 (M. Simkins 4, Heaphy 3). Turnovers — Hamilton 11, Butte Central 11.