By Bruce Sayler
Butte High did a lot of things right in its boys’ basketball win, Wednesday. The Bulldogs had to in order to beat an undefeated power.
So, the 56-37 non-conference Class AA victory over Kalispell Glacier at the Civic Center was the result of doing so much right.
Brock Powell recorded his third double-double of the season, all in Butte, with 15 points, and 11 rebounds. Another senior. Ryson Lovshin, chipped in importantly with 13 points, four assists and six rebounds. Yet another senior, Travis Williams, turned in, perhaps, his best defensive performance of the season and he has had a number of shutdown efforts.
“Total team effort,” head coach Luke Powers declared, showing the effects of the hard-played game about as much as his players did. “The coaching staff put in a lot time on film for this game and the kids played a great game.
“You might not notice it too much, but these kids play with a little bit of a chip on their shoulder. They’re Butte kids.”
Lovshin backed it up with his testimony.
“We felt embarrassed about losing by 26 points to (Missoula) Hellgate,” he said, referring to the Bulldogs’ last contest, a 65-39 loss on the road. “(The Wolfpack) came here off a big win over Great Falls High, and they’re big and they play physical ball. Coach told us not to let them push us around.”
In the response, the Bulldogs outrebounded the bigger Glacier team 29-21, registered three shot blocks to the Wolfpack’s one and held their shooters to a 25-percent rate — 13-for-47 — from the floor.
“We came out with confidence,” Lovshin said. “We shoot well in this place. We shot a lot in the pre-game (practices) and being more confident helped our shots go in today.”
Butte High made 19 of its 33 field goal attempts, 58 percent. It’s a tough average to beat.
“We were balanced,” Powers said. “Earlier in the season, we were rushing to shoot 3s. Today, we got those same shots, but we slowed it down and took our time, and started knocking them down.”
The Bulldogs netted eight from the long distance, and missed only nine. Nearly 50 percent is a pretty good shooting stat from 3-ball range.
A good first quarter was important, but the Butte High second-frame execution was likely what melted Glacier.
The Bulldogs scored the last eight points — three by Lovshin and five by Evan Anderson — for an 11-4 lead. The Wolfpack went to 6-foot-6 Montana State Bobcat football recruit Jaxen Hashley on the inside and cut the difference to five points, 16-11, with 5 minutes, 32 seconds left in the half. Seven players Glacier used stood 6-2 or taller, including Hashley, 6-7 Jack Desmul and 6-4 Torin Bowden.
Lovshin took a pass from Kash Kelly to the hoop and then Powell snared a rebound he stuck back through the hole. Lovshin found Kelly open on the perimeter and the sophomore guard stretched the strings with a 3-pointer. Suddenly, the Butte High advantage was up to 23-11 and the Bulldogs controlled a 28-17 margin at halftime.
Butte High had made 7 of its 10 tries from the field, including three of its four casts from behind the arc.
Hashley scored 10 points before intermission. Williams held him scoreless the rest of the way. Powell and Austin Lee relieved when Williams got into a little bit of foul trouble, and when he needed an occasional breather.
“Travis’ defense is unnoticed by a lot of people,” Powers said. “And when he also gives us six or seven points, it’s huge.”
Williams caged eight Wednesday. Six were tallied on 3-pointers as Glacier tried to zone.
Powell dumped in a couple of inside baskets and free throws, Lovshin converted a basket-and-one, and Williams canned a trey as Butte High widened its command to 40-24 heading into the last frame. A 13-6 run through the first five minutes of the last frame clinched the victory. The Bulldogs were 10-for-12 from the foul line for the game, 7-for-8 in the final period.
“I think that was the best game Butte High has played in a long time,” Lovshin said. “Now, we have confidence for the rest of the season.”
Coaches and fans agreed with him.
“It was fun to see their hard work pay off,” Powers said.
Anderson also finished with eight points and Kelly scored seven. Lathan Ricketts drilled a 3-pointer late in the game. Tommy Mellott, Zach Archibald, Clay Ferguson, Nathaniel Ferguson and Carter Pribnow also played.
Glacier was led by Hashley’s 10 points and 11 rebounds. Brec Rademacher came in off of the bench to score nine points. The Wolfpack are 3-1 for the season after the loss.
Butte High raised its record to 3-2 with the win. The Bulldogs will be home again Thursday in the Civic Center with a 2 p.m. tip-off against Flathead High of Kalispell. It will also be a non-conference game.
“We’ll celebrate this victory for about an hour-and-a-half,” Powers said. “Then, we’ll go get ready for Flathead.”
KALISPELL GLACIER (3-1) — Caden Harkins 1-7 1-2 4, Tadan Gilman 1-4 0-0 2, Jaxen Hashley 2-10 5-6 10, Pat O’Connell 0-2 1-4 1, Torin Bowden 0-2 0-0 0, Brec Rademacher 4-5 0-0 9, Collin Kazmier 0-5 0-0 0, Jack Desmul 3-4 0-0 6, Kody Jarvis 2-6 0-0 5, Bryce Grame 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 13-47 7-12 37.
BUTTE HIGH (3-2) — Kash Kelly 2-5 2-2 7, Evan Anderson 3-6 0-0 8, Ryson Lovshin 4-6 5-5 14, Travis Williams 3-4 0-0 8, Brock Powell 6-10 3-4 16, Austin Lee 0-1 0-0 0, Tommy Mellott 0-0 0-1 0, Zach Archibald 0-0 0-0 0, Clay Ferguson 0-0 0-0 0, Nathaniel Ferguson 0-0 0-0 0, Lathan Ricketts 1-1 0-0 3, Carter Pribnow 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-33 10-12 56.
Glacier 4 13 7 13 — 37
Butte High 11 17 12 16 — 56
3-point goals — Glacier 4-18 (Harkins 1-4, Gilman 0-3, Hashley 1-1, O’Connell 0-1, Rademacher 1-2, Kazmier 0-3, Jarvis 1-4), Butte 8-17 (Kelly 1-4, Anderson 2-5, Lovshin 1-3, Williams 2-3, Powell 1-1, Ricketts 1-1). Fouled out — none. Total fouls — Glacier 18, Butte 11. Technicals — none. Rebounds — Glacker 21 (Hashley 11), Butte 29 (Powell 11). Blocks — Glacier 1 (O’Connell), Butte 3 (Powell 2, Williams 1). Assists — Glacier 3 (Rademacher 2), Butte 10 (Lovshin 4, Kelly 3, Anderson 2). Steals — Glacier 6 (Gilman 2, Jarvis 2), Butte 6 (Kelly 4). Turnovers — Glacier 18, Butte 11.