Butte Central boys trample East Helena

Butte Central boys trample East Helena

By Bruce Sayler

Defending state Class A high school boys’ basketball champion Butte Central made Thursday’s victory look easier than it probably was.

Such is the characteristic of juggernauts.

Butte Central beat East Helena 72-27 in the Maroon Activities Center in what was its home opener and first Southwestern A Conference game of the 2022-23 campaign.

“I was happy with that,” BC head coach Brodie Kelly said. “We looked locked in mentally. Our defense, it was like we were on a string and felt like were together. It was really good to see the balance on offense, too.”

If Kelly was searching hard for anything, it might’ve been what to fix. Peoples, hero of last year’s state championship game win, scored 19 points and pulled down seven rebounds as his team went to 2-1 on the young season. Kyle Holter scored 14 and grabbed six caroms. Zane Moodry and Jack Keeley scored 11 points each.

“Dougie is an elite player,” Kelly said about the 6-foot-5 senior who led the state in scoring as a junior. “But we get a lot of contributions. Jack, Eric (Loos) and Joshua (Sutton) also were big.”

Keeley came off the bench to score his points and 6-4 Loos was strong in the middle against a physical, rugged East Helena team. Sutton, just an eighth-grader, swished two 3-point shots to announce his arrival on the scene.

Butte Central’s dominance began with a 22-2 first quarter and the Maroons kept the gas pedal floored much of the rest of the way. It was 40-10 at halftime and 57-18 after three periods.

“Eric did a great job for us on the boards,” Kelly said. “They’re a very physical team inside and Eric did a nice job getting position. We matched their physicality.”

The Vigilantes are suddenly an older team, too. In their third year of existence, but only second of varsity-level sports programs, they have their first senior class. Eight of the seniors are on the boys’ varsity basketball team. They had trouble against BC’s active defense and connected on only 24 percent of their shots from the field.

One, 6-0 Colter Charlesworth, led East Helena in scoring with 10 points.

The BC boys netted eight 3-point baskets en route to their win. Sutton and Keeley each caged a pair. Stats were one-sided in other areas, too, with Butte Central dishing 14 assists and coming up with 20 steals as opposed to the Vigilante’s numbers of two assists and nine steals.

“Our gameplan tonight was exactly the same as last year for them,” Kelly said. “They had no seniors last year. The roster is the exact same.”

Sutton had six points in the win while new starting guard Owen McPartland notched three points, as did freshman Ryan Peoples and sophomore Patrick Stimatz. Loos had two points and Riley Gelling and Justus McGee also played. The Maroons made 57 percent of their shots from the floor.

Butte Central will play at Dillon on Saturday.

East Helena is 1-2 for the season and will play Friday at Class B Deer Lodge in a nonconference game.

EAST HELENA (1-2, 0-1) – Taigen Hagen 0-1 0-2 0, Colton Charlesworth 2-9 5-6 10, Curtis Corzine 1-7 0-0 2, Kaeden Sager 1-4 0-0 2, Kobe Mergenthaler 2-7 0-0 4, Trevor Held 1-2 2-2 5, Tucker Petty 0-0 0-0 0, Jacob Spencer 0-2 2-2 2, Dallin Fuhrlman 0-0 0-0 0, Slade Olson 1-1 0-0 2, Jack Taylor 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 8-33 9-12 27.

BUTTE CENTRAL (2-1, 1-0) – Dougie Peoples 6-8 7-7 19, Kyle Holter 5-9 4-5 14, Eric Loos 1-5 0-0 2, Owen McPartland 1-4 0-0 3, Zane Moodry 5-5 0-0 11, Jack Keeley 4-7 1-2 11, Joshua Sutton 2-2 0-0 6, Riley Gelling 0-1 0-0 0, Ryan Peoples 1-3 0-0 3, Patrick Stimatz 1-1 0-0 3, Justus McGee 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-46 12-14 72.

East Helena        2             8             8             9 – 27

Butte Central     22           18           17           15 – 72

3-point goals – East Helena 2-11 (Hagen 0-1, Charlesworth 1-2, Corzine 0-1, Sager 0-1, Mergenthaler 0-2, Held 1-2, Spencer 0-2), Butte Central 8-17 (D. Peoples 0-1, Loos 0-1, McPartland 1-4, Moodry 1-1, Keeley 2-3, Sutton 2-2, Gelling 0-1, R. Peoples 1-3, Stimatz 1-1). Fouled out – none. Total fouls – East Helena 14, Butte Central 12. 27 (D. Peoples 7, Holter 6).  (Rebounds – East Helena 21 (Mergenthaler 6), Butte Central 27 (D. Peoples 7, Holter 6). Blocks – East Helena 1 (Taylor), Butte Central 1 (Loos). Assists – East Helena 2 (Sager 1, Hagen 1), Butte Central 14 (McPartland 4, D. Peoples 3, Loos 2, Holter 2). Steals – East Helena 4 (Charlesworth 2), Butte Central 20 (Holter 5, Loos 4, D. Peoples 4). Turnovers – East Helena 22, Butte Central 9.


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