Butte Central girls roll past Blue Devils for SW A win

By Bruce Sayler

The Butte Central Maroons are looking more familiar to their fans, now.

Their 66-47 win over Corvallis Saturday in the Maroon Activities Center was the display of a team more reminiscent of the one that went undefeated while winning the state Class A high school girls’ basketball championship last season.

Emily St. John poured in 21 points, Kloie Thatcher tallied 17 and Mollie Peoples scored 16 to lead the win. Peoples also collected 12 rebounds, four assists ad seven steals. All three players were key components on the 2015-16 title team. Satiurday’s game was just the second one back for Thatcher, who left the season-opener with an injury and returned only Thursday in BC’s 57-32 victory over crosstown rival Butte High.

“I’m happy to have my guards back,” Butte Central head coach Meg Murphy said.

The guard play formed a torrid press, too, that saw the Maroons force the Blue Devils into 22 turnovers, 14 of which were steals.

Corvallis notched leads of 2-0, 4-2 and 7-4 before falling behind the Maroons and never getting a good look at them again. Thatcher’s first of her three 3-point baskets tied the score at 7-all and then her drive to the hoop about 20 seconds later gave BC its first lead of the game, 10-7. Four minutes, 18 seconds remained in the opening quarter and Butte Central then ended the frame on a 17-5 run for a 21-12 margin at the quarter break. St. John scored nine points in the spree and 11 in the frame.

The BC blitz continued to a 37-19 command at halftime.

The Maroons built on their lead, but dialed the intensity down some as the second half proceeded.

“They do let up at the end at times,” Murphy said of the Maroons. “They get up by 20 and then tend to relax.”

The first 20=point margin was 39-19 after a basket by Peoples 26 seconds into the second half. Butte Central maintained and held a 52-32 cushion after three quarters.

The Maroons substituted often in the fourth stanza, but the Blue Devils were unable to cut the difference to less than 16 points — 57-41 after a jumper by Penny Jessop with 4:59 left in the game.

The BC girls posted the significant victory over a chief Southwestern A Conference rival despite missing senior post Corbyn Holm from the post rotation. She was away on a volleyball recruiting trip, Murphy confirmed.

“I was worried about not having Corbyn,” the coach said, “especially after Caleigh (Mullaney) got into a little bit of foul trouble there in the first half. But Bella (Sorini) and Cassidy (Strizic) both did good jobs (pulling relief duty in the post).”

The loss was the first in league play for Corvallis.

“They’re a good team,” Murphy credited. “Corvallis averaged 60 points a game and shoots 70 percent on free throws. (Corinne) Sanderson is a great player for them. They’re big and athletic and pretty solid with those kids.”

Murphy said she thought the Butte Central bench played well as Sorini and Strizic finished with two points each, Thatcher scored her 17 as a non-starter, and Emma Keeley, Zoe Doherty, Tess Riordan and Shea Davis all saw playing time. Sorini and Thatcher also yanked down five rebounds each, and Thatcher blocked two shots. Olivia Bolton registered five points and seven rebounds, Mullaney grabbed two rebounds and had a good inside defensive game for the Maroons, and guard Tricia Joyce drilled a 3-pointer while playing a nice floor game to round out the starters’ contributions.

The BC girls raised their records 3-1 in conference and 7-3 overall with the win. They will be home against Anaconda in non-conference play on Friday in their game.

Corvallis is 2-1 and 5-4. The Blue Devils were led by Jessop with 13 points and 13 rebounds.

CORVALLIS (5-4, 2-1) — Penny Jessop 5-10 3-4 13, Calla Haldorson 2-4 0-0 5, Emme Warnken 4-8 1-2 9, Corinne Sanderson 2-12 1-2 6, Genesis Keith 0-1 3-4 3, Lainie Albright 3-5 0-0 7, Steffani Stoker 2-5 0-0 4. Totals 18-45 8-12 47.

BUTTE CENTRAL (7-3, 3-1) — Olivia Bolton 2-7 1-2 5, Tricia Joyce 1-1 0-0 3, Caleigh Mullaney 0-2 0-0 0, Mollie Peoples 5-16 5-6 16, Emily St. John 9-13 1-1 21, Kloie Thatcher 6-13 2-3 17, Bella Sorini 1-3 0-0 2, Cassidy Strizic 1-1 0-0 2, Emma Keeley 0-1 0-0 0, Zoe Doherty 0-0 0-0 0, Tess Riordan 0-0 0-0 0, Shea Davis 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-57 9-12 66.
Corvallis                    12        17        13        15 — 47
Butte Central                        21        16        15        14 — 66

3-point goals — Corvallis 3-12 (Jessop 0-1, Haldorson 1-2, Sanderson 1-5, Albright 1-3, Stoker 0-2), BC 7-18 (Bolton 0-2, Joyce 1-1, Peoples 1-4, St. John 2-4, Thatcher 3-6, Sorini 0-1). Fouled out — none. Total fouls — Corvallis 12, BC 12/ Technicals — none. Rebounds — Corvallis 33 (Jessop 13), BC 35 (Peoples 12). Blocks — Corvallis 2 (Haldorson 1, Albright 1), BC 4 (Thatcher 2, Peoples 1, Sorini 1). Assists — Corvallis 11 (Sanderson 4), BC 8 (Peoples 4). Steals — Corvallis 4 (Warnken 2), BC 14 (Peoples 7). Turnovers — Corvallis 22, BC 13.