Bulldog girls rally for sixth straight win

Just like that, a blowout loss turned into a blowout win.

Natalee Faupel scored 16 of her game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter as the Butte High girls’ basketball rallied from a 12- point deficit for a 64-49 Eastern AA victory over Great Falls Saturday at the Butte Civic Center.

“It took me a while to get started,” Faupel joked after the victory that basically put Butte High in a first-place tie.

With Butte High trailing 40-34 after three quarters, Faupel tied the game in the blink of an eye.

She opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer. Then she turned  a steal into a three-point play and a 40-all tie.

Jessica Keller gave the Bison their final lead at 42-40 before Sammy McGree tied it again with a pair of free throws

That started an 8-0 run that put the Bulldogs up for good. Faupel hit four free throws in that run. Maria Michelotti hit two.

“We hit a shot, we had Maria Michelotti step up for us and everybody just started hitting,” Faupel said. “We were more aggressive and got them in some foul trouble. It just all came together.”

The run actually started in the third quarter as Butte High, which trailed 40-28, outscored 39-9 over the game’s final 9 minutes, 30 seconds.

Michelotti scored on a bucket before feeding Faupel with a nice pass. Faupel hit a jumper with 11 seconds left in the quarter to cut the lead to six.

“They weren’t going to give up,” Butte High coach Jeff Arntson said of his Bulldogs. “They believed in each other.”

Arntson said it was no accident that Faupel scored 20 of the Bulldogs final 39 points.

“We started isolating Natalee to get her the ball and get her going,” Arntson said. “She drew some fouls on (Callee) Remsen and hit some big free throws.”

Liz Klinker scored 11 points to lead the Bison, who fell to 10-3 overall and 4-1 in conference. Kelsey Devlin and Callee Remsen each scored 10 points for Great Falls.

Sammy McGree and Hattie Thatcher each 13 points for the Bulldogs. Carlie Haeffner scored six, while Hailey Hoagland joined Michelotti with four and Erika McLeod scored two. Maria Richardson also played for the Bulldogs.

Butte High improved to 10-2 overall and 5-1 in conference with its sixth straight victory.

“It’s a huge win,” Arntson said of the victory. “That was a big game for both teams. If they get that win then they’re pretty much assured of first place and a bye to State. Now it’s a three-way conversation.”

The Bulldogs play host to Bozeman Thursday at the Richardson Gym.

GREAT FALLS HIGH (10-3, 4-1) — Liz Klinker 3 4-6 11, Taylor Kumm 2 0-0 5, Jessica Keller 3 3-5 9, Kelsey Devlin 5 0-0 10, Callee Remsen 4 1-2 10, Nora Kick 1 0-0 2, Michaela Kynett 0 0-0 0, Markaela Francis 0 0-0 0, Brice Hennig 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 8-13 49.
BUTTE HIGH (10-2, 5-1) — Hailey Hoagland 1 1-1 4, Natalee Faupel 6 9-9 22, Sammy McGree 4 3-3 13, Hattie Thatcher 5 3-4 13, Carlie Haeffner 3 0-0 6, Maria Michelotti 1 2-5 4, Maria Richardson 0 0-0 0, Erika McLeod 1 0-0 2. Totals 21 18-22 64.
Great Falls      15   10   15    9 — 49
Butte High      12   12   10  30 — 64

3-point goals — GF 3 (Klinker, Kumm, Remsen), Butte 4 (McGree 2, Hoagland, Faupel). Fouls — GF 19, Butte 14. Fouled out — Michelotti. Technicals — none.