Hamilton hands BC girls first conference loss

If the Hamilton girls continue to play basketball as well as they did on Saturday against Butte Central, label the Broncs scary young.

They dealt the Maroons a 67-56 defeat at the Maroon Activities Center in a showdown between Southwestern A Conference leaders.

No, 1-ranked Hamilton, without a senior on its roster, went to 5-1 in Southwestern A with the win and 10-2 overall. The loss was second-ranked BC’s first in league play, putting the team at 6-1 and 9-4. Nine of the varsity Broncs are sophomores.

The Broncs took a 13-10 edge on a Kali Hayes 3-point basket with 2 minutes, 3 seconds left in the first quarter and expanded on it as the game proceeded.

The shot was one of nine Hamilton made in 17 tries over the course of the game. Hayes netted three of them while scoring 13 points. Taylor Goligoski came off the bench to lead the production with 17 points and Jaylee Albert finished with 13 in the team’s uptempo attack.

“They’re a good team and they shot the ball really well,” Meg Murphy, head coach of the Maroons, said. “They shot 3s and we didn’t make any buckets. We missed a lot of shots from inside.”

The Maroons dominated on the boards by a 44-32 rebound count as Mariah Cooney yanked down 14 and Danee Leary gathered 12. However, BC shooters made only 21 of 52 field goals attempted, 1 of 9 from 3-point range, and went 13-for-23 from the free throw line.

Alysea Pica scored 11 points for Butte Central. Leary netted 10.

“We scouted them and scouted them and all they ran was man (defense),” Murphy said. “Tonight, we saw the 2-3 zone. That was good for us to see that, but give them credit (for the effective changeup).”

Murphy said Leary has been bothered by a sore hamstring and that it may have been aggravated further Saturday, possibly costing her some future playing time. Shin splints have freshman Teresa Piazzola sidelined.

“So, we are hurt a little bit,” Murphy said. “That just means some other kids are going to have to step up. Mariah Cooney had a great game tonight, which I think a lot of people have been waiting for her to do.”

The 6-foot Cooney was matched against 6-1 junior Sami Kratofil in a duel of talented posts.

Hamilton’s halftime lead was 34-26 after the Maroons closed the half on a 7-0 run spurred by Pica’s 3-pointer, BC’s only trey of the game.

Cooney’s basket at the start of the second half cut the difference to six points. The Broncs, however, responded with consecutive 3-point goals by Hayes and McKayl Rothie, launching a 15-4 spree. Hamilton was ahead by 56-38 through three periods.

Butte Central worked the margin down to nine points, 60-51, with 2:52 to go. Cooney had eight of her points in the fourth frame before fouling out at the 1:12 mark. Hamilton then cleaned up at the foul line with Goligoski and Kratofil caging key free throws to salt away the win.

Hannah Stajcar finished with seven points for the Maroons, and Annie Ossello had six points and seven rebounds. Danika Neumann notched five points, and Chandra McCurdy and Shelby Paffhausen both contributed worthy court time, too.

HAMILTON (10-2, 5-1) — McKayl Rothie 2-4 0-0 6, Kali Hayes 4-9 2-3 13, Jaylee Albert 4-7 2-4 12, Brianna Huggins 3-8 1-1 8, Sami Kratofil 3-5 2-6 8, Taylor Goligoski 5-13 7-12 17, Ellie Hurlbert 0-0 0-0 0, Shaylan Mohn 1-1 0-0 3, Kloie Nye 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-47 14-26 67.

BUTTE CENTRAL (9-4, 6-1) — Hannah Stajcar 3-10 1-1 7, Danee Leary 5-11 0-0 10, Alysea Pica 3-13 4-6 11, Annie Ossello 3-5 0-2 6, Mariah Cooney 6-7 5-10 17, Danika Neumann 1-6 3-4 5, Chandra McCurdy 0-0 0-0 0, Shelby Paffhausen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-52 13-23 56.

Hamilton                18          16          22          11  —  67

Butte Central          14          12         12           18  –56

3-point goals — Hamilton 9-17 (Rothie 2-4, Hayes 3-5, Albert 2-4, Huggins 1-2, Goligoski 0-1, Mohn 1-1), Butte Central 1-9 Stajcar 0-2, Leary 0-1, Pica 1-4, Neumann 0-2).  Fouled out — Albert, Cooney, Ossello. Total fouls — Hamilton 23, Butte Central 23. Technicals — none. Rebounds — Hamilton 32 (Goligoski 10), Butte Central 44 (Cooney 14, Leary 12). Blocks — Hamilton 1 (Kratofil), Butte Central 2 (Leary 1, Stajcar 1). Assists — Hamilton 10 (Albert 3), Butte Central 5 (Pica 2, Neumann 2). Turnovers — Hamilton 18, Butte Central 17.