By Bill Foley
Butte Central’s girls’ basketball team couldn’t, as they say, buy a shot wen they needed it most Saturday at the Maroon Activities Center.
Hamilton, on the other hand, had no such problem.
The Broncs hit on seven 3-pointers, and Hamilton knocked off BC 52-43 in a Southwestern A contest.
“We couldn’t throw it in the ocean if were standing next to it,” BC coach Meg Murphy said after the loss that put a bit of a damper on BC’s Senior Day celebration.
The Maroons honored seniors Tricia “Goose” Joyce, Bella Sorini and Shea Davis and their parents before the game. The unforgiving rims were apparently not in on the celebration plans.
Aside from junior Emma Keeley, who tossed in a career-high 24 points, the Maroons went cold as they dropped their first conference game since their Dec. 20 loss at Hamilton.
The Broncs got the big shots to fall when they needed them most.
Abby Johnson, Mariola Tesoro and Kaitlyn Dickemore buried 3-pointers in the third quarter as Hamilton turned a 22-21 halftime lead into a 37-28 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
Johnson and Dickemore sank threes in the final frame to kill BC’s comeback hopes.
“When they shoot the ball, they’re good,” Murphy said of Hamilton, which lifted its record to 7-7 overall and 3-4 in conference.
Johnson, Dickemore and Lauren Ryter each scored 13 points to lead the Broncs in the win. Ryter scored six points in the fourth quarter.
Things started off well for the Maroons when Keeley opened the game with back-to-back 3-pointers to take a quick 6-0 lead.
BC led 12-10 at halftime, and the Maroons led 19-15 when Keeley sank a 3-pointer with 2 minutes, 54 seconds left in the second quarter.
Ryter, though, scored on a putback 9 seconds before halftime to give the Broncs the lead.
After Sofee Thatcher hit one of two free throws, Jorden Taggart turned an old-fashioned three-point play to give Hamilton the lead for good at 25-22.
The next time down court, Johnson hit a three.
While Keeley had a huge game offensively, the Broncs were able to contain the scoring of Joyce and Thatcher to single digits.
“If we can’t Tricia Joyce and Sofee Thatcher points, we’re probably not going to win a lot of games,” Murphy said. “Emma did what they asked, and I think they focused on Sof and Goose. They did a good job knowing where they were at.”
Murphy chalked that up as a learning experience for her team and the coaching staff.
“As coaches, we’ve got to do a better job adjusting when teams try to shut those two down,” Murphy said. “That’s what we’ll focus on.”
Joyce scored six points for BC, while Sorini and Davis each scored four, and Thatcher joined Amira Bolton with two. Maddi Kump tossed in one point. Delaney Hasquet also contributed for the Maroons, who fell to 6-8 overall and 5-3 in conference.
Central is back in action Thursday when the Maroons head to Dillon for a Southwestern A game with the Beavers. Murphy said her team will be just fine.
“I can’t fault these guys. They play hard all the time,” the coach said. “I’m OK with where we’re at. We have battled. We’re in every game. That’s a plus. They’re going to get better in two weeks, I can guarantee that.”
HAMILTON (7-7, 3-4) — Abby Johnson 5 1-2 13, Ani Mason 2 0-0 5, Maggie Ringer 0 2-5 2, Jorden Taggart 1 1-1 3, Lauren Ryter 6 1-3 13, Kaitlyn Dickemore 4 2-5 13, Sophia Doyle 0 0-0 0, Olivia Walker 0 0-0 0, ,Mariola Tesoro 1 0-0 3, Madi Drake 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 7-16 52.
BUTTE CENTRAL (6-8, 5-3) — Bella Sorini 2 0-0 4, Shea Davis 2 0-0 4, Emma Keeley 8 5-7 24, Tricia Joyce 2 2-2 6, Maddie Kump 0 1-2 1, Sofee Thatcher 0 2-4 2, Amira Bolton 1 0-1 2, Delaney Hasquet 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 10-16 43.
Hamilton 10 12 15 15 — 52
Butte Central 12 9 7 15 — 43
3-point goals — Hamilton 7 (Dickemore 3, Johnson 2, Mason, Tesoro), BC 3 (Keeley 3). Fouls — Hamilton 15, BC 15. Fouled out — none. Technicals — none.