Central girls bounce back with rout of Rangers

By Bruce Sayler

The Butte Central Maroons righted their ship Saturday and did it impressively. The defending state Class A high school girls’ basketball champions crumpled Livingston 67-30 in a non-conference contest played in the Maroon Activities Center.

Four Butte Central players scored in double figures as the team shot a red-hot 55 percent from the field the day after a 42-35 loss to Dillon. It was the same gym, too. However, the shooting in Friday’s game was maybe as cold as the outside temperatures.

Saturday, the Maroons warmed up and scored so frequently, they caused the clock to run continuously the last quarter-and-a-half on the 35-point difference rule. Tricia Joyce’s steal-and-layup play with 4 minutes, 9 seconds left in the third quarter started the flow of clock ticks.

“They were disappointed,” BC head coach Meg Murphy said of the team’s turnaround in less than a day’s time. “They don’t like the lose. Today, they were a little more serious and asked more questions at the shoot-around. I had told them they needed to compete — that if they weren’t disappointed in the way they played (Friday), then they weren’t competitors.”

The Rangers played under the direction of interim coach Randy Mogen, who was filling in for head coach Scott Coleman. Coleman was away serving a National Guard assignment.

Three big scoring spurts in a huge offensive first quarter for Butte Central spurred the Maroons to an early, gaping 28-9 command. Butte Central shooters canned four 3-point shots in the first quarter on the way to a 61 percent performance from behind the arc for the game.

Livingston never led.

Emily St. John scored the first two points on a basket and then fired a pass to Olivia Bolton, who drained a 3-point shot. On the Maroons’ next trip down the court, Mollie Peoples sank the second of the two free throws and her team had a 6-0 lead.

Abby Kokot put the Rangers on the board with a shot hefted from inside the key before BC went on a 10-2 spree.

The halftime difference was 44-19 and Butte Central romped to a 19-4 scoring advantage in the third quarter to take a whopping 63-23 cushion into the final frame.

Peoples led the scoring with 19 points, Joyce finished with 14, St. John with 11 and Bolton with 10. Bella Sorini, Corbyn Holm and Cassidy Strizic put in four points each, and Emma Keeley netted a free throw. Caleigh Mullaney, Zoe Doherty, Shea Davis, Tess Riordan and TzuChen Lin also played several minutes.

Holm led all in rebounds by grabbing eight caroms, and Mullaney blocked a shot and came up with two steals. St. John dished five assists.

“Anytime you get Joyce and Bolton scoring 14 and 10 points for you, it is a big night,” Murphy said. “Corbyn had eight boards and that is a bright spot for her. When she really starts to play, she’ll give us a little more depth. She is athletic with long arms.”

Holm, a volleyball and softball star, joined the basketball team only recently, becoming eligible just before Christmas Break. The 5-foot-10 senior hadn’t played the sport the past couple of years.

“Bella had a good game, and Keeley and those young kids that came in all did well,” said Murphy, who saw a lot of her reserves gain playing time in the lopsided victory. “Tricia and Olivia settled down and looked for shots. They didn’t pass up shots.”

Abby Kokot led Livingston with 12 point and Ryleah Floyd was next-high with five. Josie Jesson pulled down five rebounds and 6-4 sophomore Danielle Babcox blocked two shots.

The Maroons went to 5-3 with the win and hold an 2-1 Southwestern A Conference record. They will play crosstown rival Butte High on Thursday in the Civic Center, then take on Corvallis on Saturday in the MAC. Murphy said the Corvallis game is an important conference contest, meaning the BC girls will be trying to prepare for two opponents this week in practice.

The coach said both games are big ones. It is especially important, she said, to win at home in the conference schedule. However, before it, looms the intra-city rivalry game.

“I can assume,” Murphy said, “we’ll be ready for it.”


LIVINGSTON (1-7) — Ryleah Floyd 2-8 1-3 5, Claree Tecca 1-11 1-2 4, Josie Jesson 2-4 0-2 4, Sylvie Schoenen 0-3 0-1 0, Abby Kokot 6-6 0-0 12, Kaylie Palmer 0-1 0-0 0, Shania Johnson 1-5 1-1 3, Danielle Babcox 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 13-39 3-9 30.

BUTTE CENTRAL (5-3) — Olivia Bolton 4-7 0-0 10, Tricia Joyce 6-8 0-0 14, Caleigh Mullaney 0-1 0-0 0, Mollie Peoples 7-10 3-6 19, Emily St. John 5-7 1-1 11, Bella Sorini 2-6 0-2 4, Corbyn Holm 1-4 2-2 4, Emma Keeley 0-3 1-2 1, Cassidy Strizic 1-1 2-2 4, Zoe Doherty 0-0 0-0 0, Shea Davis 0-0 0-0 0, Tess Riordan 0-0 0-0 0, TzuChen Lin 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-47 9-15 67.

Livingston 9 10 4 7 — 30

Butte Central 28 16 19 4 — 67

3-point goals — Livingston 1-13 (Floyd 0-3, Tecca 1-6, Schoenen 0-2, Johnson 0-2(, BC 6-13 (Bolton 2-3, Joyce 2-3, Peoples 2-4, St. John 0-1, Sorini 0-2). Fouled out — none. Total fouls — Livingston 10, BC 12. Technicals — none. Rebounds — Livingston 21 (Jesson 5), BC 33 (Holm 8, Peoples 7). Blocks — Livingston 2 (Babcox 2), BC 1 (Mullaney). Assists — Livingston 5 (Johnson 4), BC 9 (St. John 5). Steals — Livingston 4 (Johnson 2), BC 6 (Mullaney 2, Peoples 2). Turnovers — Livingston 15, BC 12.