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Central boys make it look easy in home opener

Central boys make it look easy in home opener
Butte Central senior Cade Holter goes up for a bucket as Belgrade's Noel Reynolds defends Tuesday night at the Maroon Activities Center. (Bill Foley photo)

By Bill Foley

For Cade Holter, it came down to one little word. Fun.

The Maroons are having lots of it, and their opponents are paying for it. On Tuesday night, it was the Belgrade Panthers on the wrong end of another Butte Central victory.

Holter poured in 15 points to lead four Maroons in double figures as the Butte Central boys’ basketball team rolled a 65-41 non-conference win over the Panthers at the Maroon Activities Center.

The victory sends the Maroons to 5-0 on the season.

“We’re having a lot of fun as a team out here right now,” Holter said after the first home game of the season for the Maroons. “Everybody just loves playing together. It’s been so fun so far. We’re going to hope to keep that rolling. The chemistry we have right now is awesome.”

On Tuesday, that chemistry really clicked in the middle of the game as BC outscored the Panthers 36-13 over the second and third quarters.

Brodie Kelly is at the beginning of his 15th year as the head coach of the Maroons, and he agreed that his team is rolling so early like never before.

“I think it’s a sign of all the experience we have,” Kelly said. “It’s hard to have more experience than this team has right now. It makes early-season progress faster. That definitely puts us at advantage.”

The fun is also evident to the veteran coach.

“I told them that even at practice on Monday. Just after watching the film over the weekend, it looks really fun to play right now,” Kelly said. “They’re really sharing the ball right now. We’ve got a lot of guys scoring. We’re playing pretty good collective defense.”

The Maroons are also running.

“What’s been fun and kind of unique for us is the transition game,” Kelly said. “We’ve not traditionally scored as much in transition. These guys are getting out and running and finding a lot of opportunities. We’ve got guys that are comfortable making plays in transition.”

The Maroons never trailed on Tuesday.

Dylan Sestrich was fouled while going up for a transition bucket. He hit one of two free throws to make it 1-0.

The next time down court, Braden Harrington scored on a fourth-chance bucket.

The Maroons slowly extended the lead to 17-11 by the end of the first quarter. They really took off in the second quarter, scoring first eight points of the frame.

Luke Heaphy buried a 3-pointer from the baseline at the buzzer to send BC into halftime leading 39-15.

Central led 53-24 after three quarters, and the Maroons made that a 55-24 game when Jared Simkins scored off a Holter pass early in the fourth.

The Panthers battled back, scoring nine straight points to cut into the lead. The advantage, though, was too big.

Harrington ended with 12 points. He joined Sestrich and Trevor Neumann with two 3-pointers apiece. Sestrich scored 11, while Neumann came off the bench to score 10 points.

Central got eight from Simkins, seven from Heaphy and Two from Aaron Richards. Gator Yelenich, Ryan Wahl, Thomas McGree, Egan Lester and Brian Holland also contributed in the win as the Maroons showed off their depth.

Senior Easton Page had a big game, scoring 19 points to lead the Panthers. Tate Bowler and Noel Reynolds each scored eight points, and Cooper VanLuchene tossed in six.

Belgrade fell to 1-5.

Holter, a contributor since his freshman season, said he is not surprised by BC’s early-season success.

“We’ve got an experienced bunch right now,” he said. “We all played together last year. We worked hard with each other all summer. I expected this, really. I expected everyone to be on the same page, and I’m glad we’re doing it.

“We play four quarters,” Holter added. “We don’t let up when we’re up. We don’t get down when things aren’t going well. We just play together always.”

The Maroons will have to maintain this top form Thursday. That’s when they play host to defending conference champion Hamilton in a Southwestern A showdown.

Holter doesn’t seem to think that will be a problem. His Maroons will head to the MAC ready to have some fun.

“Everyone’s playing their role right now,” he said. “That helps the team stay balanced. I’m just loving it right now.”

BELGRADE (1-5) — Tate Bowler 2 2-2 8, Jake Kloniski 0 0-0 0, Easton Page 9 1-2 19, Riley Burman 3 0-2 6, Noel Reynolds 3 2-3 8, Cooper VanLuchene 3 0-2 6, Coby Richards 0 0-0 0, Owen Vaughn 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 5-9 41.
BUTTE CENTRAL (5-0) — Jared Simkins 3 2-2 8, Luke Heaphy 2 2-2 7, Braden Harrington 5 1-2 12, Dylan Sestrich 4 1-2 11, Cade Holter 7 1-2 15, Gator Yelenich 0 0-0 0, Trevor Neumann 4 0-0 10, Aaron Richards 1 0-0 2, Ryan Wahl 0 0-0 0, Thomas McGree 0 0-0 0, Egan Lester 0 0-0 0, Brian Holland 1 0-0 2. Totals 26 6-9 65.
Belgrade                     11        4          9          17 — 41
Butte Central             17        22        14        12 — 65

3-point goals — Belgrade 2 (Bowler 2), BC 7 (Harrington 2, Sestrich 2, Neumann 2, Heaphy). Fouls — Belgrade 10, BC 13. Fouled out — none. Technicals — none.



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