BILLINGS — The shots just wouldn’t fall.
Cold shooting stymied the Butte Central boys’ basketball team at the Rimrock Arena, and the Maroons bowed out of the Class A State tournament Saturday morning.
BC’s season ended with a 64-47 loser-out loss to Columbia Falls. The Wildcats will play Laurel for third place at 6:30 p.m.
“It was similar to last night,” BC coach Brodie Kelly said, referring to the semifinal loss to Billings Central. “We had a lot of the looks that we normally want, but we just couldn’t convert.”
The loss closes the prep career for BC seniors Brady Tippett and Emmett McCarthy.
Tippett, who left the game briefly after hitting the floor late in the third quarter, scored six points in his final game. McCarthy, a bench player, scored four.
“I think we’ve got that perspective with this group. We’ve got a lot of youth on this team, and Brady did an awesome job leading us this year. That kid has just made himself a player.”
Junior Nate Bolstad scored a game-high 17 points for the Maroons. Sophomore scored 11.
“Dalton played really well,” Kelly said. “In the last two weeks he really emerged as a good offensive threat. He was aggressive when making plays. Nate had a great day.”
Bolstad opened the game with an inside hoop to get the Maroons started. Sophomore Marcus Ferriter followed with a jumper to make it 4-0 BC.
Then Austin Martin sank a 3-pointer to start a 7-0 Columbia Falls run.
The Wildcats led 18-14 after the first quarter, and the Maroons battled to tie the game at 18 on buckets by Sessions and McCarthy.
That was the end of the good news for the Maroons, though. Ty Morgan scored before Luke Kazlauskas hit back-to-back buckets to spark a 14-5 Columbia Falls run to give the Wildcats the lead for good.
Butte Central battled, cutting a 45-27 lead to 47-36 by the end of the third quarter. The Wildcats, though, took control in the fourth quarter.
“I felt good about a lot of the (shots) we had, especially in the second half,” Kelly said. “We were missing open threes by good shooters. That’s part of the game.”
Morgan scored 11 points to lead C-Falls’ balanced attack. Kazlauskas and Alex Presnell scored 10, while Martin tossed in eight.
Ferriter joined McCarthy with four points, while Danny Peoples tossed in three and Kale Guldseth scored two. Connor McGree, Sean Burt and Chad Peterson also played for the Maroons, who close the season at 15-9.
“The last couple of weeks the underclassmen stepped up,” Kelly said.
The coach added that his team was happy to see his team make the trip. The Maroons qualified for State for the eighth time in nine years.
“This is all a good experience,” Kelly said. “It’s going to help these guys in the future, but it’s not easy to get here. It’s not something you can ever take for granted. It’s a dog fight every single year.
“I’m proud of these guy,” Kelly added. “It’s certainly disappointing way to end the season, but overall I’m really proud of how this group came together in the last couple of weeks.”