By John Robbins via NFHS Sports Network
Butte High Bulldogs 59 Flathead Braves 48
The long holiday break may be just what the Bulldogs needed as they notched their second consecutive win in as many days, two conference wins to open 2023.
The Bulldogs may have played their most complete game of the season tonight on both ends of the floor, showing great determination and not allowing themselves to get flustered when the going got tough.
When I say a complete game a lot of Bulldogs were in the mix both offensively and defensively, they have a deep roster and it showed tonight.
Jace Stenson opened the scoring up with a three ball on Butte Highs first possession of the night. Followed by a Cameron Gurnsey Duce to give the Bulldogs a 5-2 advantage.
Flathead would come down with 6:30 remaining and nail a 3 to knot it at 5 apiece.
Jonas Sherman on the next possession was fouled on his way up and completed the 3-point play.
The Bulldogs would then get a rebound off the Braves next possession, and Casey Merrifield dribbled down and drained a 3 from the right wing leading to a Braves timeout.
Flathead would come out of the timeout to hit a 3 ball of their own and make it 11-8 Dogs. After a loose ball foul and a sub out Jace Stenson would knock down his second 3 ball of the quarter to make it 16-10 Butte with 2:22 left in quarter 1.
Each team would trade buckets at the end of the period and Butte had an 18-15 advantage after 1.
Tocher Lee would draw a charge to begin the period, leading to two scoring possessions by the Dogs from Jace Stenson and Tocher Lee to give the Dogs a 22-15 edge leading to a timeout for the Braves.
The Braves would come down and hit a triple as the Bulldogs offense sputtered towards the end of the quarter, Jace Stenson led the Bulldog scorers at the half with 8 points. The Bulldogs would take a 23-18 advantage into halftime.
Casey Merrifield came out on the second possession of the second half and hit a 3 to start things off in the second half, followed by a lay up by the Braves to make it 26-20 Dogs, but Jace Stenson knocked down another 3 to put the dogs up 29-20.
The Braves went on a streak of 2-point buckets and would cut the lead to 30-28 with 3:26 in the 3rd quarter.
Cayde Stajcar would come right back down and knock a three ball down of his own for the Dogs. The Braves were relentless down low in the paint in the 3rd as both teams traded buckets Tocher Lee grabbed a board with 30 seconds to go and was fouled on the shot, he would knock down both.
He would then force a 5 second call the very next possession and give the ball back to the offense and Cameron Gurnsey would put in a bunny as time expired to give the Dogs a 41-36 advantage heading to the final frame.
Cameron Gurnsey would get a steal leading to a fast break bucket for Butte High taking a 44-38 lead with 5:33 left in the 4th. Hudson Luedtke would get a rebound and take it coast to coast as he flew down the lane and drew a foul for the and one, he would then again get the ball and drive to the bucket and increase the Bulldog lead to 11 with 3:55 left.
Flathead would come out of a time out and get fouled on a 3-pointer knocking down 2 of the 3 attempts and get the ball off the miss and turn it into a 4-point play 49-42 Bulldogs.
Cameron Gurnsey was fouled on the Dogs next possession hitting 1 of 2 at the stripe, leading to another 3-point play by the Braves to cut the lead to 5 with 2:30 left.
The Braves would get the ball back off a missed Bulldog shot and hit a 3 next time down to make it 50-48 Butte.
Senior guard Cameron Gurnsey said I’ve had enough and channeled his inner Mamba Mentality as he scored the last 10 points of the ball game and knocked down back-to-back 3 balls to ice the game for the Bulldogs.
Bulldogs win again, 59-48.
Cameron Gurnsey led the pack for the Dogs tonight with 16 points, Jace Stenson had 12, Hudson Luetdke had 8, Casey Merrifield and Tocher Lee each had 6, Dylan Bache, Bo Demarais, and Jonas Sherman each had 3.
The Flathead Braves were led by 6 foot 6 junior Noah Cummings who had a game high 30 points. The Bulldogs are now a game above .500 at 3-2 and 2-0 in conference play. They will return to action Tuesday January 10th @ 7pm.