Cold shooting, Broncs topple Central boys

Cold shooting, Broncs topple Central boys
Frenchtown's Tel Arthur fouls Butte Central's Braden Harrington during the semifinals of the Western A Divisional tournament Friday in Ronan. (Shelly Davis photo)

FRENCHTOWN — The Butte Central Maroons are still one win away from booking a trip to the Class A State boys’ basketball tournament.

The Maroons, however, are also one game away from elimination after falling 49-33 to Frenchtown Friday in the semifinals of the Western A Divisional tournament at Ronan High School.

Central will play a loser-out game at 9:30 a.m. against Hamilton. The winner advances to the 3:30 p.m. third-place game and secures state berth. The loser is done. (Bracket)

The game will be the eighth meeting between Hamilton and Butte Central, including last year’s third-place game at the state tournament in Great Falls.

BC and Hamilton split the regular-season series this year. The Maroons won 54-31 Jan. 4 in Hamilton, while the Broncs returned the favor with a 52-47 victory Feb. 1 in Butte.

Thanks to some cold shooting, the Maroons trailed throughout in the semifinal showdown as Frenchtown (18-3) advanced to Saturday’s 6:30 p.m. championship game against Browning.

The Indians crushed Whitefish 68-39 in the later semifinal game.

Central shot 3 for 13 from the free throw line and 2 for 15 from behind the 3-point arch.

The Maroons made just one of their first nine free throw attempts, and two of those were front ends of a one and one.

“Our defense was solid, but we could not overcome our offense,” BC coach Brodie Kelly said.

Frenchtown led 21-17 at halftime, and the Broncs put the win away outscoring BC 28-16 in the second half.

Senior Cade Baker scored 10 points to lead Frenchtown’s balanced attack. Ten different Frenchtown players scored in the win, with Hank Rugg scoring eight. Brandon Finley added seven points, while Mason Pyron, Zack Baker and Devin Shelton each scored five.

Senior Braden Harrington scored 13 points before fouling out to lead the Maroons (16-4). Classmate Jared Simkins scored nine points.

Luke Heaphy and Trevor Neumann each scored three points for BC, Gator Yelenich and Bryan Holland scored two, and Matt Simkins tossed in one.

FRENCHTOWN (18-3) — Cade Baker 3 3-4 10, Mason Pyron 1 2-2 5, Brandon Finley 1 5-6 7, Hank Rugg 3 2-2 8, Zack Baker 1 3-5 5, Ben Lason 1 0-0 2, Devin Shelton 2 1-4 5, Kaiden Romney 1 0-0 3, Carson Shepard 1 0-0 2, Tel Arthur 1 0-0 2. Totals 15 16-23 49.
BUTTE CENTRAL (16-4) — Jared Simkins 4 0-2 9, Luke Heaphy 1 0-0 3, Matt Simkins 0 1-3 1, Braden Harrington 6 1-7 13, Trevor Neumann 1 1-1 3, Gator Yelenich 1 0-0 2, Bryan Holland 1 0-0 2, Ryan Wahl 0 0-0 0, Aaron Richards 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 3-13 33.
Frenchtown               7          14        14        14 — 49
Butte Central            7          10         8          8 — 33

3-point goals — Frenchtown 3 (C. Baker, Pyron, Romney). BC 2 (J. Simkins, Heaphy). Fouls — Frenchtown 17, BC 16. Fouled out — Harrington. Technicals — none.

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