Butte High boys open conference with win

Butte High enjoyed being the big dogs, Bulldogs as they are, on the block Thursday night in a 46-41 basketball victory over Great Falls High at the Butte Civic Center.

A decisive size advantage that the Bison seemed at times too willing to allow Butte High let the Bulldogs dominate in crunch time at the end. Dallas Cook, Peter Granger and Cory Farstveet cleaned up the boards at then end while muscling inside for Butte High’s win in its first Eastern AA Conference contest of the young season. The victory also snapped the team’s losing streak at four games and was its first win over a Class AA squad this campaign. The Bulldogs began the season with a win over Class A Belgrade before dropping four games in a row during Class AA non-conference play.

“We had a big game inside,” said a happy Butte High head coach Terry Hauser. “We told them we needed to pound it inside, then go outside, because (the Bison) are small.

“We played very good defense. They played four guards most of the time and we stayed with them.”

Great Falls High was scary enough in its own right at the end, holding a six-point lead a couple of minutes into the fourth quarter. Zach Bunney scored for Butte High to begin a key Bulldog surge and then Cook, Granger and Farstveet took over under the basket. Cook followed two made free throws with a rebound putback and the Bulldogs then led 40-39 with 3 minutes, 25 seconds left in the game.

Cook hit two more free throws to open a three-point spread before Bison Bryce Clark reeled the Bulldogs back in with a short jumper that trimmed the difference to 42-41. The clock showed 32 seconds remaining.

Granger then drew a foul from LaRance Racine and hit one of two freebies. Farstveet did likewise after being fouled by Matt Wyman. Great Falls found difficulty trying to convert offensive tries against the bigger Bulldogs.

A rebound that Granger sent through the hoop clinched the Butte High win as the Bulldogs scored the last four points of the game, all in the last 28 seconds.

“We showed our composure when we were down by six points with six minutes left,” Hauser, a first-year head coach, said.

The comeback erased a 21-19 Bison halftime edge.

The Bulldogs struggled through 12-of-27 shooting from the free throw line, but a positive, Hauser and members of the team agreed, was that they did a good job of getting to the stripe. The foul count helped to slow the Great Falls players.

“That was a confidence booster,” Granger said. “Losing four in a row was tough, but we knew we had to come out and get this conference win.”

Granger said team goals for the game included outrebounding Great Falls High and keeping turnovers under 16. He said both were accomplished.

Cook was important to Butte High’s domination on the boards, especially late in the contest while the team was surging toward the win.

He pointed to the 5-foot-8 Bunney’s basket, though, that launched the go-ahead spree as being a decisive moment.

“Bunney getting that basket when we were down by six sparked us,” he said.

Cook led the Butte High scoring with 21 points and Granger finished with 10. Farstveet had nine points, and Brian Smith, Bunney and Kyle Peterson tallied two apiece. Killian O’Leary also saw duty.

Jace Anderegg led the Bison with nine points.

Butte High will play at C.M. Russell in Great Falls on Saturday in an Eastern AA game, the Bulldogs’ next action.

GREAT FALLS HIGH — Bryce Clark 2 1-2 5, Lukas Vining 2 1-2 6, Kelley Sukut 1 1-4 4, Stan Gopher 3 0-0 6, Dylan Tatarka 1 2-4 4, LaRance Racine 1 1-2 3, Matt Wyman 2 0-0 4, Jace Anderegg 3 3-4 9. Totals 15 9-18 41.
BUTTE HIGH (2-4, 1-0) — Killian O’Leary 0 0-0 0, Peter Granger 3 4-7 10, Brian Smith 1 0-2 2, Zach Bunney 1 0-1 2, Cory Farstveet 4 1-2 9, Dallas Cook 7 7-15 21, Kyle Peterson 1 0-0 2. Totals 17 12-27 46.
Great Falls               14           7          10          10  —  41
Butte High                 8          11         11          16  — 46
3-point goals —Vining, Sukut. Fouled out — Vining, Tatarka. Total fouls — Great Falls 24, Butte High 14. Technicals — none.