By Bruce Sayler
The Orediggers slapped a century on the Centurions.
It could’ve been worse. Reserves made up most of the forces for Montana Tech in its 114-66 thumping of Yellowstone Christian Tuesday night. (Stats)
Starting point guard Drew Huse didn’t play at all, resting a bruised hip in advance of the nearing Frontier Conference college men’s basketball season. Top backup post Cody Baumstarck sat on the bench in street clothes, giving healing time to a hurt ankle. Yellowstone Christian came to town with seven players total suited.
“We were hoping we would have a good showing for a number of our guys to get a clean look at the rim,” Adam Hiatt, head coach of the Orediggers, said in the Montana Tech HPER Complex locker room hallway after the game. “A lot of guys contributed to our offense, tonight. And, our regular rotation guys did a good job of holding (the Centurions) (down in points).
“It is our fourth win in a row and this team is capable of winning a lot of games.”
The 100th point was tallied with 6 minutes, 14 seconds left on a drive to the hoop by Camdyn LaRance, who scored nine points in a span between the 6:58 and 3:03 marks of the second half. He wound up with 17 points as one of five Orediggers to score in double figures.
Yellowstone Christian was never in it after the opening tip-off, though Hiatt said his team prepared for a dangerous opponent.
“They beat Colorado Christian, an NCAA Division-II team from Denver, by three points, Sunday,” the coach said. “So, they definitely had our attention. We wanted to start out fast and get a big lead early. We were up by 40 at halftime, so we were happy with our effort.”
The Orediggers were up by 6-0 two minutes into the game as Sindou Diallo notched the first two on an alley-oop pass from Keeley Bake. Taylor England followed with a hook on a drive across the key, and Caleb Bellach capped the first run by slamming through a dunk.
Bake started in place of Huse.
William Thigpen interrupted the run by scoring the Centurions’ first two points on a drive to the basket.
It was a quiet resistance. Montana Tech scored the next eight points on two 3-point baskets by Bake wrapped around a pullup jumper by Diallo. Derrius Collins and England assisted on Bake’s shots.
The Orediggers kept stocking the points as Hiatt funneled his bench players onto the court. The lead widened to 27-10 after Bridger Larson stuck home a rebound basket following a free throw and 3-pointer by Collins.
Anthony White tossed in a floater for Yellowstone Christian before another Collins 3-pointer ignited a 16-0 Montana Tech spree. It featured another trey by Collins, a dunk by Diallo, two freebies canned by Bellach, two inside buckets by England and a drive-for-layup by LaRance. The game was blown open. The Orediggers owned a 43-12 cushion with 7:50 still left in the first half.
At halftime, the gap was 64-25. The Orediggers outscored the Centurions 18-6 the last five minutes of the half.
They resumed the pounding with a 7-0 start to the second half, Diallo caging two charity tosses, Bake baking another shot from threesville, and England scoring in traffic.
The 50-point margin arrived on a layup by England off an inbound pass from Diallo, making the score 79-29 with 17:01 on the clock. It capped a 5-0 personal run by England. The largest Montana Tech lead was 56 points, 98-42, after LaRance meshed a 3-pointer at 6:58 following two layups by John Dhuol.
England led the Orediggers with 24 points and eight rebounds, Collins had 18 points, LaRance 17, Diallo 13 and Bake 12. Larson just missed a double as he scored nine points, Bellach tallied six, Robbie Simpson, Dhuol and Sam Gray four apiece, and Michael Ure three. Christian Jones, Bridger Deden and J.T. Bauer also played.
Montana Tech shooters made 14 of 30 attempts from 3-point range, led by Bake going 4-for-5 and Collins 5-for-7. The team shot 56 percent from the field for the game. It also outrebounded Yellowstone Christian 42-20 as Larson grabbed six caroms to back England.
Bake fed six assists, Larson blocked three shots and Bellach came up with four steals.
“It was nice to be able to play a lot of guys,” Hiatt said. “It was nice to put 15 players into the game and have them all play (significant) minutes.”
YCC’s William Thigpen took game-scoring honors with 25 points. Kyle Morris scored 18 points and Billy Boone 10. Morris grabbed nine rebounds.
Montana Tech, 6-2 for the season, will play at College of Idaho in Caldwell, Idaho, on Saturday before beginning Frontier Conference play December 2 at home against Montana Western.