Central girls fall to Broncs, face must-win situation

DILLON — It is do or die time for the Butte Central girls’ basketball team.

The Maroons will play a Frenchtown in a 9:30 a.m. loser-out game Saturday at Montana Western’s Straugh Gymnasium.

That comes after the Maroons dropped a hard-fought 44-40 decision to Hamilton Friday night in in the semifinals of the Southwestern A District tournament at the Straugh Gymnasium.

If the Maroons beat Frenchtown for the third time this season, they will head to the 3:30 p.m. third-place game. That would also secure the Maroons a trip to next week’s Western A Divisional tournament in Hamilton. (Bracket)

The top four teams advance to the next tournament.

Layne Kearns hit three free throws and picked up a huge steal in the final minute of the game to lead the Broncs to their third win over the Maroons this season.

That came after Brenna Foley stole the ball and fed Sofee Thatcher to tie the contest at 40, capping a comeback that stretched nearly the entire second half.

Hamilton used a 16-8 run in the second quarter to take a 29-18 into halftime.

Kearns finished with 10 points to lead the Broncs (17-3), who head to the title game to take on Dillon. Lavana Wetzel scored nine. Hamilton also got seven from Taryn Searle, six from Taylor McCarthy and five from Ayda Griffin.

Sofee Thatcher scored 17 points, and Brooke Badovinac netted 16 to lead the Maroons. Ella Moodry scored five points before fouling out, and Foley tossed in two.

Payton Hartwick, Mollie Drew and Maycee Anderson also contributed for the Maroons (12-8).

Central beat Frenchtown 49-43 Jan. 8 in Butte and 55-29 Feb. 3 in Frenchtown. Frenchtown lost its first-round game 45-34 to Stevensville.

Thanks to a quirk in the seven-team bracket, the Broncs find themselves in the same position as a semifinal team.

BUTTE CENTRAL (12-8) — Brenna Foley 0 2-2 2, Payton Hartwick 0 0-0 0, Sofee Thatcher 6 4-9 17, Brooke Badovinac 6 2-2 16, Ella Moodry 2 1-6 5, Mollie Drew 0 0-0 0, Maycee Anderson 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 9-19 40.
HAMILTON (17-3) — Taryn Searle 2 2-2 7, Lexie Brenneman 1 1-4 3, Layne Kearns 3 3-4 10, Taylor McCarthy 2 1-1 7, Mya Winkler 2 0-0 4, Lavana Wetzel 3 3-4 9, Ayda Griffin 2 1-2 5. Totals 15 11-17 44.
Butte Central            10          8          8        14 — 40
Hamilton                   13        16          3        12 — 44

3-point goals — BC 3 (Badovinac 2, Thatcher), Hamilton 3 (Searle, Kearns, McCarthy). Fouls — BC 17, Hamilton 17. Fouled out — Moodry, Brenneman, Winkler.



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