Hawks turn back Bulldog upset bid at Civic Center

Bozeman's Charlie Carr goes up for a hoop as Butte High's Brock Powell (42) and Ryson Lovshin defend. Powell was called for a foul on the play. (Bill Foley photo)

For three quarters, the Butte High Bulldogs had the attention of the State of Montana.

With 8 minutes left at the Butte Civic Center, Butte High was tied at 39 with the Bozeman Hawks, a team that is one bad call away from being undefeated.

The Hawks, though, avoided the upset by opening the fourth quarter on a 15-2 run on their way to a 65-53 Eastern AA victory.

“The kids just continue to battle and improve,” Butte High coach Luke Powers said. “Those kids out on the floor right now, they care. They’re playing with a ton of energy. They’re playing with great effort, and it is showing.”

Aaron Weidenaar scored 28 points to lead Bozeman in the win. He scored 11 in the fourth quarter.

“That kid is a monster,” Powers said of Weidenaar. “He’s averaging 17 a game, and he’s on a team with so much balance. It’s not like you’re going to leave someone to go help on him.

“He’s 6-7, he can shoot the ball from 25 feet, he can attack, and he can also post you some at the high post. He hurt us some there a couple times.”

Weidenaar scored 13 points in the first quarter to help the Hawks build an 18-10 lead. Butte High held the Bozeman star to four points over the middle two quarters.

“It was a team effort to control him,” Powers said. “He got going in the first quarter. The kids a winner, he also got going there in the fourth quarter.”

The Bulldogs also looked like winners with their play much of the night.

Junior Ryson Lovshin, who scored a career-high 20 points in the loss, hit one of his four 3-pointers with 3 minutes, 6 seconds left in the second quarter to cap a 12-4 Butte High run that tied the game at 22.

Bozeman quickly answered with a Callahan O’Reilly three, and the Hawks held on to take a 28-25 advantage into halftime.

The Bulldogs opened the second half by outscoring Bozeman 10-2 over the first five minutes of the third quarter. That gave the Bulldogs a 35-30 lead after a Lovshin three with 3:07 left in the quarter.

Bozeman stopped the Butte High momentum with what turned out to be a four-point play on a Butte player technical foul, cutting the lead to one.

The game then saw three ties, the last a 39-all deadlock after 24 minutes of play.

A put back by Charlie Carr, who scored six of his nine points in the final stanza, got Bozeman’s fourth-quarter run rolling.

Weidenaar hit a pair of baseline 3-pointers in a run that ended with the Hawks leading 54-41 with 4:36 left in the game.

The Bulldogs kept fighting, but they couldn’t get the game back to within a single-digit margin.

Brock Powell had another huge game for the Bulldogs. He scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for his second double-double in as many games.

“With him, for the most part, it is just effort and attitude,” Powers said. “He’s tough to take out of the game.”

Butte High also got eight points form Evan Anderson, and two points apiece from Trey Hoagland, Patrick O’Herron and Kyle Klapan.

If there’s such a thing as a quite 10 points, then Travis Williams definitely had a very loud scoreless night. The Bulldog junior had a big game on the boards, defense and loose balls.

“You look at Brock Powell and Travis Williams, and even our guards,” Powers said when explaining Butte High’s rebounding effort. “We didn’t necessarily control the boards, but we didn’t let them control the boards. It was just all about effort and heart.”

Kash Kelly and Riley Riordan also played for the Bulldogs.

Bennett Hostetler added 13 points for Bozeman, which improved to 12-1 overall and 6-1 in conference. Their lone loss was a two-point decision to defending champion Billings Skyview. The Hawks hit a half-court buzzer beater that the officials, as video clearly showed, incorrectly ruled was after the buzzer.

The Bulldogs fell to 2-11 and 1-6. Butte High will host Billings Senior at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the Civic Center.

Billings Senior is the surprise team of the Class AA this season. Thursday night, the Bulldogs almost took that title away from the Broncs, will present Butte High with yet another tough test.

“They’re going to be tough,” Powers said. “We’ve got to stay positive and continue to improve.”

BOZEMAN (6-1, 12-1) — Charlie Car 2 5-10 9, Lance McCutcheon 0 1-2 1, Bennett Hostetler 3 7-8 13, Aaron Weidenaar 9 5-5 28, Trace Bradshaw 2 3-3 7, Drew Huse 1 1-2 4, Callahan O’Reilly 1 0-0 3. 18 22-30 65.
BUTTE HIGH (1-6, 2-11) — Ryson Lovshin 5 6-8 20, Evan Anderson 2 5-7 8, Travis Williams 0 0-0 0, Kyle Klapan 0 2-2 2, Brock Powell 7 5-7 19, Trey Hoagland 1 0-0 2, Patrick O’Herron 0 2-2 2, Kash Kelly 0 0-0 0, Riley Riordan 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 19-26 53.
Bozeman                    18        10        11        26 — 65
Butte High                 10        15        14        14 — 53         

3-point goals — Bozeman 7 (Weidenaar 5, Huse 1, O’Reilly 1), Butte 4 (Lovshin 4). Fouls — Bozeman 18, Butte 25. Fouled out — Bradshaw, Williams. Technical — Williams.

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