Butte High opened home play tonight at the Butte Civic Center playing host to the Belgrade Panthers. Regardless if it’s only the second game of the year and 1 of 4 non conference games the Dogs will play to begin the season, it’s homecoming for former Bulldog coach Luke Powers and that means the game usually has some more flair to it. “ Luke prepares his team well and they bring a lot of energy and I believe the guys responded well to it tonight.” Said Head Coach Matt Luedtke.
Dylan Bache opened the scoring for the Dogs with a corner triple. Hudson Luedtke would then hit a nice little jumper and a 3 from the top of the key the next two Bulldog possessions to give Butte an early 8-3 lead.
The Bulldogs would close out the first period with a 5 point lead 15-10.
Belgrade is full of length and young talent and forced the issue in the second period, eliminating the Bulldogs lead even with double digit turnovers in the first half, it was done by great post play and shooting to take a 1 point 22-21 lead to halftime.
Hudson Luedtke led the Dogs in the first half with 12 points as Belgrade was led by Rylan McColim with 8.
Rueso Battermann opened the 3rd period with a corner triple to give the Dogs a 2 point lead, after an empty next possession for Belgrade. Luedtke would hit one of two at the charity stripe, and push the Dogs lead to 3 early in the 3rd.
Rylan McColim would continue to shine for Belgrade as he hit a nice turn around jumper on the block to cut the lead to 1 with 5 to play in the 3rd. Belgrade would drill a triple after a Tocher Lee drive and lay in but Lee would come right back down and bury a 3 of his own 30-27 Dogs with 3 minutes left to play in the quarter.
Hudson Luedtke would be found on the left wing and sink a triple to push the Dogs lead to 33-27, he would continue his tear as he was fouled on a 3 point attempt, and would knock down all 3 to push the lead to 9 with 52 seconds left to play in the 3rd.
On their last possession of the 3rd period and great ball movement Bulldog Trey McCarthy cashed in another triple as the Dogs were dropping them like nervous cafeteria workers and led by 10 heading into the final frame.
Belgrade opened the 4th with a triple of their own as it continued to rain 3 balls for both teams and the Panthers cut the lead to 7. Each time the Panthers would put a dent in the lead Luedtke would make them pay as he drove the lane off a spin dribble and laid it in for two more and the foul completing the old fashioned 3 point play, Dogs 42-34 with just over 6 minutes to play in the 4th.
Rylan McColim would continue his tear as well as he completed another 3 point play for Belgrade and cut the lead to just 2 in a matter of 3 possessions. After a Bulldog turnover Belgrade would knot things up on their next possession at 42 apiece.
Turnover and fouls would doom the Dogs in the 4th as Belgrade found the lead at 44-43 with just over 2 to play in the game. It wouldn’t last long as Luedtke would drive the lane again and score a deuce for the Dogs to regain a 1 point lead.
The Panthers were in the penalty sending Rueso Battermann and Torre Tempel to the line back to back times as each would hit 1 of 2 at the line and the Dogs would lead by 3.
It was a nail biting finish as Belgrade had multiple chances to take the lead off of turnovers, missed layups, and free throws. Butte High’s Bo Demarais had a huge rebound off a missed free throw to hold the Dogs lead at 2 with 8 seconds, Belgrade would get one last shot but come up short and the Dogs escape with a 50-48 victory on opening night at the Butte Civic Center. “ We are a much better shooting team tonight than we have showed our first two games.” Said head coach Matt Luedtke, “ a lot of guys stepped up tonight to make big plays, we never got too high or to low.”
The Bulldogs move to 1-1 on the season and will return to action December 19th against Dillon. The leading scorer for the Bulldogs was Hudson Luedtke who had 23 big ones, Tocher Lee and Rueso Battermann each had 7, Torre Tempel had 5, Dylan Bache and Trey McCarthy each had 3 points and Bo Demarais had 2.
Rylan McColim lead the way for the Panthers with 15 points.