By Bruce Sayler
The Butte High girls played nice and exemplified lessons in sharing Tuesday night.
Dillon suffered its first loss of the season.
Butte High dished 16 assists spread among six different players as the Class AA Bulldogs defeated Class A Dillon 57-43 in a non-conference girls’ basketball game at the Butte Civic Center.
“Dillon did a good job of adjusting to what they wanted to do,” Butte High head coach Bryan Arntson said, noting the game was quite competitive.
“We did a good job of sharing the ball,” he continued. “We’re getting a sense of being a team and knowing where we’re at on the court. Defensively, I thought we did a good job of limiting their shots and defending their No. 1 shooter.”
Staying focus and poised was also important. The Bulldogs weathered a couple of early runs from the game Dillon team before confirming their hold on the win.
Steady senior point guard Kodie Hoagland led Butte High in scoring again with 18 points and also dished three assists. She had three steals and chased down four rebounds in a strong all-around game. Emmarie Richards canned three 3-point baskets for nine points, and Laura Rosenleaf came off the bench for eight points and seven rebounds. Her boards total tied Tylar Clary for team honors.
Clary also dished three assists and scored six points. She seemed busier on the court Tuesday than usual.
“I really do enjoy getting my teammates the basketball,” she said. “I enjoy scoring points, too, but I’m more of a sharer. When you work hard passing the ball around the key and are able to swing it around and get it in there (to a player inside the key) and (the shot) is wide open, it’s a good feeling.”
Clary was smiling when she talked. She said the rewards of the season so far are welcome.
“It’s definitely a good time,” she said. “It’s senior year and I’ve been playing with all of these girls since second grade. It is fun to how far we’ve come. I see a connection I haven’t seen in a long time.”
Connections were prime, too. The Bulldogs hit seven of 16 shots from 3-point range.
“The kids coming off the bench did a good job,” Arntson said. “Ashley (Olson) picked up a couple of quick fouls, which was due to her playing aggressively – a good thing, but the fouls were there. So, against the zone, we did a good job of getting the ball into the high post. We made good decisions. And, then (after Dillon changed up defenses), we got some really good high-percentage shots from the outside.”
The 6-foot-3 Olson was held to six points and three rebounds, but she blocked two shots and changed several others before needing to be spelled by Rosenleaf due to foul trouble.
“We were playing our third game in five days,” Arntson said, “and it was good to see us come through like we did. The energy on the bench was high and the kids responded.”
Butte High never trailed. Hoagland scored the first five points of the game with a 3-pointer and two free throws. The Beavers closed to within 5-3 on a foul shot by Halle Fitzgerald and a basket by Ainsley Shipman. Brooke McGrath then re-ignited the Bulldogs with a 3-point shot and Rosenleaf followed with a three-point play before Hoagland capped the burst with two charity tosses. It was a 13-3 difference until Dillon got a 3-pointer from Fitzgerald and a runner from Sydney Peterson to close the first quarter.
Another Fitzgerald 3-pointer in the second quarter knifed a Butte High 16-10 lead to 16-13. The Bulldogs outscored the Beavers 9-3 the rest of the way and held a 27-16 advantage at halftime. Clary and Olson scored four points each in the run.
Dillon tried to bounce back in the third quarter, but the Bulldogs fought it off with two 3-pointers by Richards and one by Hoagland, and led 40-28 going into the last period.
The teams traded points most of the rest of the way and Butte High maintained its advantage.
“It was a nice way to work on plays we don’t normally do,” Clary said. “We’re playing team basketball, right now, and we had a chance to work on some things with it being a non-conference game.”
McGrath led the way in the team’s assists parade as she dished four while also collecting seven points and five rebounds.
The Butte High defense held Shipman to only four points, and limited Fitzgerald in the second half to two. Fitzgerald notched 10 points in the first half. Her six steals helped her team keep the Bulldogs close for much of the game.
The Beavers were 7-for-15 from 3-point range for the game with Fitzgerald dropping in three of the long shots. Her 12 points led Dillon while Lauryn Petersen was next-high with eight.
Payton Clary totaled three points for the Bulldogs and Joseph had a steal and played several minutes. Butte High will be home against Missoula Big Sky Thursday night in a Western AA Conference counter.
Jordyn Walker had seven points and six rebounds for Dillon to back the efforts of Fitzgerald and Lauryn Petersen. Sydney Petersen finished with five points, Kylie Konen had three, Hailey Powell two, and Evey Hansen and Abby Brevig scored one apiece. Bri Williams, Leila Stennerson and Zoey Morast also played.
DILLON (6-1) — Ainsley Shipman 2-10 0-0 4, Lauryn Petersen 2-5 2-2 8, Evey Hansen 0-1 1-2 1, Halle Fitzgerald 4-9 1-4 12, Jordyn Walker 2-5 3-4 7, Abby Brevig 0-1 1-2 1, Sydney Petersen 2-3 0-0 5, Bri Williams 0-1 0-0 0, Leila Stennerson 0-1 0-0 0, Kylie Konen 1-1 0-0 3, Zoey Morast 0-2 0-0 0, Hailey-p Powell 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 14-40 8-14 43.
BUTTE HIGH (5-1) — Kodie Hoagland 4-5 8-8 18, Tylar Clary 1-3 4-4 6, Emmarie Richards 3-9 0-0 9, Brooke McGrath 2-5 1-2 7, Ashley Olson 3-5 0-1 6, Payton Clary 0-2 3-3 3, Pieper Joseph 0-1 0-0 0, Laura Rosenleaf 3-7 2-4 8. Totals 16-37 18-22 57.
Dillon 8 8 12 15 — 43
Butte High 13 14 13 17 — 57
3-point goals – Dillon 7-15 (Shipman 0-1, L. Petersen 2-3, Fitzgerald 3-5, Walker 0-2, S. Petersen 1-1, Konen 1-1, Morast 0-2), Butte High 7-16 (Hoagland 2-3, T. Clary 0-1, Richards 3-6, McGrath 2-5, P. Clary 0-1). Fouled out – none. Total fouls – Dillon 17, Butte High 13. Technical – Butte High bench. Rebounds – Dillon 22 (Walker 6), Butte High 33 (T. Clary 7, Rosenleaf 7). Blocks – Dillon 1 (Konen), Butte High 3 (Olson 2, P. Clary 1). Assists – Dillon 7 (L. Petersen 3), Butte High 16 (McGrath 4, Hoagland 3). Steals – Dillon 14 (Fitzgerald 6), Butte High 9 (Hoagland 3). Turnovers – Dillon 17, Butte High 20.