Gym masters step up for tourneys in Advantage Butte action

Gym masters step up for tourneys in Advantage Butte action

By Bruce Sayler

Alternative tournament venues seem to have been lined up in case of conflict concerning dates for basketball events planned for Butte in February. Whether the needed 30-second clocks can be installed in time to make it all work remains to be seen.

The problems and solutions for the District 12-C, Western C and Southwestern A post-seasons and their Butte commitments were among the topics discussed Tuesday at the October meeting of Advantage Butte in the Butte Plaza Inn.

Ron Davis, past president of Advantage Butte and proprietor of Butte Broadcasting Corp., said East Middle School can be available for the games, all presently scheduled for the Maroon Activities Center, with backup offered from Butte High School and, thirdly, Montana Tech.

Off-site courts were needed anyway for the Class C tourneys for some of the Saturday morning loser-out games. The time span of concern is February 16-19. The Western A Conference has done away with its Northwestern and Southwestern Divisional tournaments, opting instead for play-in games scheduled that same week. Higher-seeded teams will play host to their opponents in the play-ins. So, should Butte Central finish fourth or fifth in its regular season in either boys’ basketball or girls’ basketball, or both, it would be the host of one, potentially, two playoff games in both. The C tourney would then have to be moved to a different site during the times of the Class A games.

Davis said East Middle School Principal Keith Miller said the games would be welcomed there, and that Butte High Activities Director Chuck Merrifield said if for some reason East would not be able to host, Butte High would accommodate. Davis added that Montana Tech does not have a high school 3-point line on its court, but that Athletic Director Matt Stepan told him the college would apply a temporary one, if needed, should the games have to be moved to the HPER Complex.

However, the Montana High School Association has ruled that 30-second clocks be used in all basketball games beginning this season. It has since relaxed the mandate to it being a requirement only for postseason games, now, that not enough 30-second clocks are yet available to the schools to fulfill the order due to suppliers being unable to meet the demand. The reprieve is for a year.

Davis said Butte High may be acquiring portable clocks that can be shared. Some other innovative ideas involving appropriating scoreboard equipment from other local facilities not being in use at that time were also talked.

“Everybody in Montana needs them,” Davis said of the 30-second clocks.

Under the Western A’s new advancement plan replacing the district tournaments the top three teams in each the Northwestern A and Southwestern A will advance directly to the divisional tournament. The remaining three teams in Northwestern A will play for one of the last two spots left in divisional while the other four teams in Southwestern A will compete for the other.

Brad Spear, Advantage Butte treasurer, reported $28,072.60 sits in the organization checking account with $25,600 committed to coming events. He said invoices are being sent out this month for membership renewals for the next year. Spear represents the Anderson ZurMuehlen firm.

Rody Holman, executive chairman of Advantage Butte, presided over the meeting and commented the news of the 2023 state Class AA-B track meet being awarded to Butte was “very good news.” The MHSA recently decided to move the meet to Butte over concerns the Bozeman facility, which was initially chosen to hold the competition, might not be sufficient.

The Butte Civic Center remains unavailable for sports use because of it being used for the production of the “1923” television mini-series to be aired possibly next year.

Bill Melvin, Civic Center manager, said the help and understanding from the community has been much appreciated. He reminded that some of the coming Civic Center staples rescheduled for other sites include the Hillcrest Bazaar this weekend at the Mall Activities Center, and the November 8 election to be held also at the Butte Plaza Mall, but in the old Herberger’s space.

Melvin said renovation on the parking lots will result in 170,000 square feet of more parking to be available in the north lot, once the arena is re-opened to the public. He said the Western A Divisional wrestling tournament, slated for February 3-4, will likely be the first sporting event to be held in the Civic Center after it is re-opened. He noted the Butte High-Butte Central boys’ and girls’ basketball doubleheader is scheduled for February 14 in the arena.

Chad Petersen, Butte Central activities director, said the Maroons’ Blocktober Classic volleyball tournament held last weekend was a success with matches played in the Maroon Activities Center, East Middle School gym and the Montana Tech HPER Complex. He gave special thanks to Stepan, Miller, Jeremy Whitlock and the Civic Center staff for helping it all run smoothly. Civic Center installed sports courts for use. Petersen said he will be submitting a request to Advantage Butte for $7,347.50 for help with tournament expenses. He said the amount is about $100 less than what Advantage Butte gave last year.

Petersen said Butte Central was to play host to the Class A Duals wrestling tournament January 20-21 in the Civic Center. It would’ve been the first time for the tourney to be in Butte since 1997, he said. However, after talking it over with Melvin, they decided it best to decline the tourney this year because of the “1923” work not scheduled to be out of the Civic Center until January 15. Melvin said the contract runs through January 15. He and Petersen agreed it would be wise to move the tourney rather than risk the arena not being ready for set-up and/or use in time for meet, and to give the production crew a more workable period in which to complete their vacate.

Petersen said Lewistown accepted the host role and duties for the tourney after he sent out news that another site would be needed this year. He told Advantage Butte, however, that it is probable the tourney will be held in Butte in the not too distant near future.

The Montana Special Olympics basketball tournament returns to Butte next month despite the Civic Center being occupied with the television work.  Brenda Hergott of Montana Special Olympics said the tournament will be held in several Butte gyms November 10-12. Competition will be in five-person and three-person basketball and in skills events. She said opening ceremonies are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on November 10 in the MAC. She said 664 participants will be involved in the games.

Ed Heard Jr. of Butte-Silver Bow Parks and Recreation said The Crossroads basketball tournament put on annually by Mike Bauer, and the Mariah’s Challenge organization have bought 20 basketballs for the Special Olympics tournament.

Heard said the rec department is seeking a site to continue the city adult pickleball league once it moves indoors from the Stodden Park courts. The Elks ballroom is one site under consideration. He said courts measure 20×40 feet and two courts at a site would be preferable.

Melvin said help from the Butte-Silver Bow Chamber of Commerce for Blocktober Classic hospitality rooms was much appreciated.

The next Advantage Butte meeting is scheduled for November 17 at the Butte Plaza Inn.




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