CMR boys pull away from Bulldogs

Three weeks made a big difference for the Butte High boys’ basketball team.

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, it wasn’t quite a big enough difference to knock off No. 2 Great Falls Russell.

The Rustlers held off the hard-charging Bulldogs before blowing up for 12 straight points late in the game for a 66-47 Eastern AA victory Thursday night at the Butte Civic Center.

“They’re a good team. I think they’re the best team in the state. They’re the best team we’ve played,” Butte High coach Terry Hauser said. “My guys battled. They played hard and that’s all I ask. I know they’re just a damn good team.”

CMR beat Butte High 60-28 Jan. 5 in Great Falls.

Butte High was in striking distance late in the game when Bulldog junior Dallas Cook scored to pull the Bulldogs to within 54-47 with 3 minutes, 10 seconds left in the game.

Then the Rustlers put the game away in show-time fashion.

Josh Horner scored on a put back to start the game-ending 12-point run. The next time down court, the 6-foot-5 senior faked out a defender, drove baseline and threw down a 2-handed dunk.

CMR, which improved to 11-1 overall and 5-0 in conference play, scored on four straight possessions with Joey Marzion putting the game away with 3-pointers from each side of the baseline on consecutive trips down the court.

“He stroked it,” Hauser said of Marzion, who sank four 3-poiners and scored 29 points in the win.

Jayse McLean scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Horner scored nine points and grabbed eight boards and Andre Langhorne netted eight.

Cook scored 17 points and grabbed seven boards to lead the Bulldogs, who fell to 2-9 and 1-4 with their fifth straight loss.

Brian Smith rejoined the varsity squad after two games on the junior varsity. He came off the bench to pour in 11 points. Fellow sophomore Killian O’Leary scored seven points. Cory Farstveen tossed in six, while Peter Granger, who grabbed nine rebounds, tossed in four.

Dalton Daum, Colten Billtean, Conner Lee, Gabe McClafferty and Zach Johnson also played for the Bulldogs.

Butte High led 2-0 when Farstveet turned a fast-break opportunity into a pair of free throws 30 seconds into the game.

McLean tied the game with a jumper 12 seconds later. Then Marzion hit a contested jumper to put the Rustlers on top for good with 6 minutes, 49 seconds left in the first quarter.

CMR led 20-12 after the first quarter and 33-27 at halftime.

The Butte High nemesis, the third quarter, saw the Rustlers take command with a 6-0 run that was highlighted by two Marzion buckets.

A rebound and a three-point play by Mason Strom closed out the third quarter with the Rustlers up 50-38.

Butte High then hung tough in the fourth quarter. They hung tough, that is, until the Rustlers blew the roof of the old gym.

“If they don’t win state, they’ll definitely be playing Saturday night,” House said of the Rustlers.

The Butte High coach was reluctant to take any moral victories after the loss. Still, he couldn’t help but acknowledge the difference between Thursday and the Jan. 5 loss.

“They were up 20-10 and I thought this could get ugly just like in Great Falls,” Hauser said. “I was really proud for just battling and weathering the storm. I don’t want to be just satisfied. I want to win one of these games that are so close.”

Butte High plays at Great Falls High on Saturday. The Bulldogs beat the Bison 46-41 Jan. 3 in Butte.

GREAT FALLS RUSSELL (11-1, 5-0) — Jayse McLean 5-12 2-2 12, Josh Horner 4-8 1-3 9, Tanner Olsen 1-2 0-0 2, Joey Marzion 12-23 1-2 29, Andre Langhorne 3-5 0-1 8,Mason Storm 1-3 0-0 3, Erik Dawson 0-3 0-2 0, Kyle Evans 0-0 2-2 2, Gabe Kunta 0-0 0-0 0, Daryl Williams 0-0 0-0 0, Dackwon Carter 0-1 0-0 0, Dylan Halverson 0-0 0-0 0, Erik Willis 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-57 10-14 66.
BUTTE HIGH (2-9, 1-5) — Peter Granger 2-7 0-0 4, Zach Bunney 0-4 0-1 0, Cory Farstveen 1-4 0-1 6, Dallas Cook 6-17 5-10 17, Kyle Peterson 1-2 0-0 2, Killian O’Leary 1-5 5-5 7, Brian Smith 4-6 2-2 11, Colten Billteen 0-0 0-0 0, Conner Lee 0-0 0-0 0, Gabe McClafferty 0-0 0-0 0, Zach Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Dalton Daum 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 15-47 16-22 47.
Russell             20   13   17   16 — 66
Butte               12   15   11     9 — 47

3-point goals — Russell 4-14 (Marzion 4-8, McLean 0-2, Dawson 0-1, Carter 0-1, Langhorne 0-1), Butte 1-3 (Smith 1-1, Cook 0-1, Daum 0-1). Rebounds — Russell 35 (Horner 8, Olsen 8, McLean 7), Butte 29 (Granger 9, Cook 7). Assists — Russell 21 (McLean 5, Horner 4, Olsen 4, Marzion 4), Butte 10 (Granger 4, O’Leary 3). Steals — Russell 10 (Horner 5), Butte 7 (Cook 4). Blocks — Russell 6 (Horner 5, Langhorne), Butte 2 (Cook, Peterson). Turnovers — Russell 15, Butte 19. Fouls — Russell 17, Butte 11. Fouled out — none. Technicals — none.