Terry Hauser will likely win a lot of games as a basketball coach. The one he won Tuesday night will be a forever memory.
The 63-59 Butte High boys’ basketball win over Belgrade came in the first game of the season, which was also the 26-year-old Hauser’s debut as a head coach.
To hear him talk about it though, he didn’t really win it. The Bulldogs did.
“It was a good game,“ Hauser, effervescent from the successful evening in the Butte Civic Center, said. “The boys from Belgrade are good shooters and their point guard (Jeremy Ragar) is a heck of a player. Zach Bunney did a good job of containing him. We told Bunney he’s the guy we need to stop and he did.“
The win was not assured until the final seconds. Class AA Butte High didn’t have the lead for good until Dallas Cook sank two free throws, lifting the Bulldogs ahead, 49-48, with just less than five minutes left to play.
Cook wound up with game-highs of 20 points and 11 rebounds. The two free throws started an important 6-0 Butte High run that also included another Cook basket and one by Peter Granger off a Cook assist.
The Panthers crept back to within 53-52 as Ragar meshed a foul shot and Jered Bryant converted a three-point play.
Butte High responded with six more points in a row — one basket by Granger and two by Cook with Bunney assisting on two of the three makes.
Class A Belgrade closed to within three points, then four, on the play of Shiloh Christopher, Jered Bryant and Ragar. Bunney then drained two freebies with 8 seconds on the clock for a 63-57 Butte High advantage and Hauser ordered the Bulldogs to stay away from Panther shooters. They did and Ragar’s layup with three seconds left Belgrade four points short as time expired.
“Dallas Cook was a beast, as usual,” Hauser enthused.
The Panthers had burned the Bulldogs with 28 points in the third quarter after being held to 16 in the first half. Belgrade marksmen buried five of the seven 3-point shots they attempted in the frame, going ahead of the Bulldogs 44-41 before the fourth quarter began.
The Panthers were held scoreless from 3-point range in the final period.
“We started to switch more on screens in the fourth quarter,” Hauser said about cranking down on had no subs for those players.”
Fouls eventually cost the Bulldogs the services of Granger and Brian Smith.
So, keeping the lead late was a challenge.
“They got a lead and the boys didn’t give it up,” Hauser said. “There’s no give-up in them. I can’t say enough about the effort.”
Granger had 19 points and seven rebounds. Cory Farstveet pulled down nine rebounds as the Bulldogs won on the boards, also, 42-33. Bunney and Farstveet finished with eight points each, Smith with six, and six assists, and Chase Plum had two points. Kyle Peterson and Chanse Kremer also saw time on the court.
Belgrade was led by Ragar with 15 points, Bryant with 14 and Christopher with 10. Christopher grabbed nine rebounds.
The Bulldogs will play at Class AA Helena High on Thursday.
BELGRADE (0-1) — Jeremy Ragar 4-7 4-6 15, Drew Fowler 1-3 1-1 3, Jered Bryant 4-7 4-5 14, Brandon Karnath 2-10 1-2 5, Shiloh Christopher 5-13 0-0 10, Trevor Mahn 3-11 0-2 7, Brandon Stubbs 2-3 0-0 5. Totals 21-54 10-16 59.
BUTTE HIGH (1-0) — Peter Granger 8-16 2-3 19, Brian Smith 2-5 1-2 6, Zach Bunney 4-9 0-0 8, Cory Farstveet 3-9 2-3 8, Dallas Cook 7-14 5-7 20, Chase Plum 1-1 0-0 2, Kyle Peterson 0-1 0-1 0, Chanse Kremer 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-55 11-16 63.
Belgrade 7 9 28 15 — 59
Butte High 12 12 17 22 — 63
3-point goals — Belgrade 7-19 (Ragar 3-6, Bryant 2-3, Karnath 0-2, Christopher 0-3, Mahn 1-4, Stubbs 1-1), Butte High 2-3 (Granger 1-1, Smith 1-2) Fouled out — Granger, Smith. Total fouls — Belgrade 15, Butte High 17. Technicals — none. Rebounds — Belgrade 33 (Christopher 9), Butte High 42 (Cook 11). Blocks — Belgrade 0, Butte High 3 (Farstveet 2). Assists — Belgrade 6 (Karnath 3), Butte High 11 (Smith 6). Steals — Belgrade 13 (Karnath 5), Butte High 8 (Granger 2, Farstveet 2). Turnovers — Belgrade 19, Butte High 20.
The following photos were taken by Bret Graden. To buy high-quality copies of these photos or others like them, go to gradenphotography.com.