Glacier girls chill Butte High, end Bulldogs’ season

By Bruce Sayler

Butte High ended its girls’ basketball season Friday. The Bulldogs fell to Glacier High of Kalispell in a hard-competed, toughly played 48-44 result in the loser-out round of the Western AA Divisional high school girls’ tournament at the Butte Civic Center.
With the end comes some sparkling promise for next year while head coach Bryan Arntson says goodbye to senior 100-percenters Taylor Drakos and Selene Morrell.
“I am super proud of the effort,” Arntson said. “Taylor and Selene provided really good leadership for us this season. Taylor’s leadership came out a lot in the locker room and Selene came to us late but gave us really good leadership.”
They were the only seniors on this edition of the Bulldogs. Drakos is a four-year part of the program and the 5-foot-10 Morrell moved back to Butte only recently and gave the team strong inside play. Her dad, Chuck Morrell, a former Montana Tech athletic director and head football coach, had been a defensive coordinator for the national contender University of Washington program until head coach Kalen DeBoer and some staff left for Alabama after the Huskies’ appearance in the national BCS championship game. It was a loss to Michigan. The Morrells did not follow.
Selene Morrell caged two free throws with one minute, one second left in Saturday’s game to cut a six-point deficit to 44-40. The last minute of the loser-out tangle was all fouls ad free throws. Glacier responded to the challenge.
Freshman Cadence Graham followed Morrell’s foul shots with two made charity tosses of her own to slice the Wolfpack’s lead in half, 44-42, with 27 seconds to go. Noah Fincher, however, netted one freebie for Glacier after a foul that sent Addie Hiatt to the Butte High bench with her fifth. Drakos then answered for the Bulldogs with two more free throws and it was a one-point game, 45-55, with 13 seconds on the clock.
Reese Ramey hit one free throw for the Wolfpack, missed the second but grabbed her own rebound. She forced a foul from Brityn Stewart and funneled both foul shots through the hoop for the final 48-44 difference.
“You never want it to end like that,” Arntson said of the loss. “We got a little careless and it (various instances of the game) came back to haunt us.”
Butte High had seemed perched to pull away when it owned a 31-21 spread early in the second quarter. The Bulldogs had taken the lead, 21-19, on a long jumper by Stewart from just inside the arc and a fast-breaky layup Franki Salusso scored on a feed from Graham prior to the end of the first frame.
The surge continued into the second quarter as Graham tallied on a pullup jumper and Morrell stuck a rebound back through the hoop. Fincher interrupted with a drive to the hoop for a layup. Butte High came back with two straight Graham 3-point baskets and had the 10-point advantage.
It awakened the Wolfpack. Glacier ran off the last seven points of the half as Cazzlandy Rankosk scored inside off a pass from Ramey, Karley Allen drilled a 3-pointer and Fincher connected on a pullup after a steal.
Butte High’s lead had shrunk to 31-28 at halftime.
“We got a little careless with the ball,” Arntson said. “We have to do a better job getting prepared for situations like that.”
The coach said there were missed opportunities to take back control of the game. Glacier did not gain the lead for good until Ramey downed a pair of free throws for a 40-38 edge with 1:54 remaining in the game.
“We had some good efforts,” Arntson said. “It’s about development and improvement now for us. It’s about getting better, getting in the gym and doing the work. Our inexperience showed again. It’s about training and that falls on me.
“We’re young and it depends on how much we want to work in the offseason and how much we want to be a better team when we come back for next season. It’ll be about finding the right chemistry and playing together.”
He acknowledged some second-guessing is likely to surface right away.
“We have to look at a couple of point-blank situations (not converted) and opportunities to extend it out,” he said.
Graham finished with 16 points and Stewart with 11 to lead the Bulldogs. Morrell tallied nine points and grabbed 13 rebounds to almost notch a double-double. Drakos had five points, Salusso two and Catherine Sholey netted a free throw. Hiatt, Dylann Bartoletti and Emma Johnson also saw important court time.
Ramey led Glacier with 16 points and Fincher finished with 13 and also pulled down nine rebounds. The Wolfpack will move on to Saturday’s 12:30 loser-out game against the loser of Friday night’s Missoula Big Sky-Helena Capital semifinal-round clash. The 12:30, Saturday winner will earn a beth in next week’s state Class AA tournament in Missoula.
KALISPELL GLACIER (6-14) – Kiera Sullivan 2-9 0-0 4, Kenedee Moore 1-4 0-0 3, Charlotte Osler 1-2 0-0 2, Noah Fincher 4-10 5-7 13, Reese Ramey 4-10 5-7 16, Jaidyn Pevey 1-4 1-1 3, Julia Hagemeiser 0-0 0-0 0, Karley Allen 1-3 0-0 3, Allie Krueger 0-0 0-0 0, Cazzland Rankosky 1-5 0-0 2, Madison Terry 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 16-48 11-17 48.
BUTTE HIGH (8-12) – Dylann Bartoletti 0-2 0-0 0, Cadence Graham 4-16 6-8 16, Brityn Stewart 4-11 0-0 11, Taylor Drakos 1-3 1-3 5, Selene Morrell 1-6 7-8 9, Addie Hiatt 0-0 0-0 0, Franki Salusso 1-2 0-0 2, Catherine Sholey 0-0 1-2 1, Emma Johnson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 11-40 16-21 44.
Glacier 8 11 9 20 – 48
Butte High 11 10 10 13 – 44
3-point goals – Glacier 5-20 (Sullivan 0-7, Moore 1-2, Ramey 3-6, Allen 1-3, Rankosky 0-2), Butte 6-23 (Bartoletti 0-2, Graham 2-10, Stewart 3-8, Drakos 1-2, Morrell 0-1). Fouled out – Osler, Hiatt. Total fouls – Glacier 19, Butte 15. Technicals – none. Rebounds – Glacier 30 (Fincher 9), Butte 35 (Morrell 13). Blocks – Glacier 0, Butte 1 (Stewart). Assists – Glacier 4 (Fincher 2), Butte 7 (Graham 3, Morrell 2). Steals—Glacier 10 (Fincher 5), Butte 4 (Morrell 2). Turnovers – Glacier 8, Butte 16,