Butte High inside attack bests BC girls

Butte High inside attack bests BC girls

By Bruce Sayler 

Emotions almost always take over in Butte High-Butte Central rivalry games. Sometimes, instincts do, too. 

“They did some things tonight you can’t coach,” Butte High head coach Bryan Arntson said of post players Ashley Olson and Laura Rosenleaf in the Bulldogs’ 52-40 girls’ basketball win over Butte Central Thursday night. “Ashley did some good things and both did a good job on the boards.” 

The paired for a pair of double-doubles that provided much of the substance to the win in the Civic Center, one that was very much a team victory all-around. The 6-foot-3 Olson scored 11 points and pulled down 13 rebounds, and the 5-10 Rosenleaf came off the bench to score 14 points and rebound 10 caroms. Rosenleaf matched Emmarie Richards for team scoring honors, and Butte Central’s Sofee Thatcher for game high. 

“Once we overcame the turnover bug early in the game and settled down a little bit, we did we did better,” Arntson said. “We were a little bit nervous.” 

The win was the fourth in a row for Class AA Butte High in the intracity rivalry with Class A  Butte Central. The Bulldogs have a 37-18 advantage over BC all-time. They didn’t play each other last year because of Covid-19 outbreak guidelines. 

“When you only have 11 players, you feel it later,” Butte Central head coach Meg Murphy said about the Maroons not being able to keep up with the bigger, deeper Bulldogs the second half. “Then, we couldn’t board to save our lives and I think that was the big difference in the game. We tried to defend 6-2, 6-3 with 5-7, 5-8.” 

The first half was even. Butte Central stormed out to a 9-4 lead through one quarter as sophomore Ella Moodry canned five points, the Maroons closing the period on a 7-0 rum. Thatcher’s pullup jumper capped it. 

Butte High caught up in a hurry, scoring the first eight points of the second frame as Richards drilled a 3-point basket and executed an and-one to end the spree. It fave the Bulldogs a 12-9. The BC girls caught up once more, getting a runner in the key from Brooke Badovinac to square the score at 19-all with 1 minute, 2 seconds left in the half. Olson broke the tie with a free throw and Butte High’s edge was 20-19 at intermission. 

Butte Central was rotating seven players through the alignment while Butte High was able to stretch its bench to nine solid contributors. 

The Bulldogs got away the later stages of the third quarter. A three-point play by Rosenleaf opened up a 28-24 gap, Thatcher’s first 3-point narrowed it back to a point and Butte High finished the quarter with three straight points – a foul shot Olson made, and then a rebound basket by Rosenleaf. 

The difference was 31-27 in the Bulldogs’ favor and they burned off the first eight points of the fourth quarter and to make their advantage significant, 39-27. 

Richards netted the last six points in the surge, an 11-0 run from the last minute of the third quarter to 5:51 of the fourth. 

The BC girls got the difference to 10 points, once, when Thatcher stretched strings from 3-point distance. The 43-33 margin quickly, however, expanded to 48-33 as Rosenleaf and Olson worked the Maroons over inside. 

Butte Central was unable to whittle the lead to single digits. 

“We didn’t do a whole lot different (in the second half),” Arntson said. “We put more emphasis on attacking the basket, getting the ball in the paint, on offense. And, more emphasis on attacking the dribble on defense.” 

The coach cited his team’s reserves, too. 

“It’s one of those games where emotions are big and you need a big spark from the bench sometimes. These girls do just that. The kids responded well.” 

Butte Central won in Corvallis on Tuesday night before turning its attention to Thursday’s task, trying to top a good Butte High squad for the city championship. 

“Butte High played well,” Murphy said. “It’s always a good game. We didn’t have an answer for Olson. Emotions are part of it. If you play 80 games (in a high school career), these are the ones you remember.” 

The coach lauded Thatcher, a senior and Butte Central’s four-year starter. The 5-6 guard scored six of her 14 points in the fourth quarter trying to rally her team back into winning position. She also led the Maroons with five steals and four assists, and grabbed four rebounds in her last Butte High-Butte Central game. 

“Sofee did a great job,” Murphy said. “Brooke just hadn’t seen (the defense) she saw tonight, this place can be a tough place to shoot in, sometimes especially for good shooters. She’s a good shooter and will bounce back.” 

Badovinac still scored 12 points and caged half of her 10 shots from the field. 

“Meg squeezes every ounce of talent out of everybody they have on the court,” Arntson said. “They’re scrappy and they battle.”

The game was the second time Rosenleaf and Olson have both had double-doubles in the same game. It would’ve been the third, but Olson was held to nine rebounds in one game earlier.  

Brooke McGrath scored six points, Kodie Hoagland five, and Tylar Clary two in the Butte High win. Payton Clary, Pieper Joseph and Rian Ferriter also played. The Bulldogs are 3-0 for the season and will hit the road for Kalispell after the Christmas break to play Flathead on January 7 and Glacier on January 8. 

Moodry finished with 10 points to give BC three players scoring in double figures. Payton Hartwick tallied four, and Brenna Foley, Mollie Drew and Kathryn Lalicker also saw significant court time. Butte Central goes into the break with a 3-3 record, 2-1 in the Southwestern A Conference. 

BUTTE CENTRAL (3-3) — Brenna Foley 0-2 0-0 0, Payton Hartwick 2-5 0-0 4, Sofee Thatcher 5-12 1-2 14, Brooke Badovinac 5-10 2-2 12, Ella Moodry 4-10 2-8 10, Mollie Drew 0-1 0-0 0, Kathryn Lalicker 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-40 5-12 40.
BUTTE HIGH (3-0) — Kodie Hoagland 1-2 2-2 5, Tylar Clary 1-8 0-0 2, Brooke McGrath 2-10 0-0 6, Ashley Olson 4-6 3-6 1 11, Emmarie Richards 4-13 5-5 14, Laura Rosenleaf 6-7 2-3 14, Payton Clary 0-2 0-0 0, Pieper Joseph 0-1 0-0 0, Rian Ferriter 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-49 12-16 52.
Butte Central             9          10        8         13 —  40
Butte High                 4          16        11        21 —  52
3-point goals – Butte Central 3-13 (Foley 0-1, Thatcher 3-8, Badovinac 0-3, Lalicker 0-1), Butte High 4-17 (Hoagland 1-2, T. Clary 0-3, McGrath 2-4, Richards 1-7, P. Clary 0-1). Fouled out – none. Total fouls – Butte Central 16, Butte High 14. Technicals – none. Rebounds – Butte Central 21 (Moodry 5, Thatcher 4), Butte High 43 (Olson 13, Rosenleaf 10, McGrath 7, Hoagland 4). Blocks – Butte Central 1 (Badovinac), Butte High 3 (Rosenleaf 2, Olson 1). Assists – Butte Central 9 (Thatcher 4), Butte High 9 (Hoagland 4). Steals – Butte Central 15 (Thatcher 5), Butte High 8 (Hoagland 3). Turnovers – Butte Central 14, Butte High 19.

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