Hamilton rebounds to tip BC boys

By Bruce Sayler

Butte Central head coach Brodie Kelly had been visualizing the end ever since his team and Hamilton tangled in Hamilton a week ago. It was the 55-53 ending in favor of the Broncs this time that blurred the vision.
Last week, the two Southwestern A Conference contenders met on the Dale Berry Court in the Bitterroot Valley and a Jack Keeley putback at the buzzer lifted the Maroons to a 64-63 win over the previously unbeaten Broncs.
The rematch was Saturday in the Maroon Activities Center. Hamilton won on free throws by Jackson Jessop and Canaan Magness. Jessop’s drive for a layup with 1 minute, 8 seconds to go broke a 50-all tie. His two foul shot makes with 27 seconds to go created a four-point spread. The Maroons’ Owen McPartland tightened it with a 3-pointer from the corner as the clock flickered to 10 seconds remaining.
Last week, in a similar situation, McPartland drove the key, drew defenders from everywhere and threw up a shot at the basket. It missed, but Keeley was able to snare it and push it back up and through the hoop as the buzzer sounded.
Magness, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, netted his charity toss with eight seconds on the clock. The BC boys pushed the ball downcourt and, again, McPartland took it toward the hoop. The Hamilton defense forced him wider, but his attempt headed for the backboard and hoop. The defensive pressure was again thick and the prayer shot was off mark. But, instead of a teammate being able to crash through and tip the miss back in, Magness quick-stepped to the ball and cradled it as time expired.
“It was exactly like last week,” Kelly said. “And, it would go on and on. These are two evenly matched teams and I would expect this scenario every time we play. That shot, with the game on the line, I would take it every time. Last week we converted and tonight we didn’t in the very same scenario. (The Broncs and Maroons) would do it on and on and just keep playing.”
So, happy Groundhog Day a day late.
Butte Central led most of the way, but Hamilton tied the score at 46-all with an 8-0 run to close the third quarter. They traded leads early in the fourth and the last time the Maroons were in front was at 50-49 after a McPartland three-point play with 2:13 left.
Hamilton’s Tristan Koerner sank a free throw with 1:44 to go, tying the score and setting up the furious last minute.
It turns out Kelly was psychic.
“We were so sure it would go like this, we’ve been practicing it for the last week,” he said, “our ball, tied or a basket behind, seven seconds left on the clock.”
“We had the situation we wanted,” he said, shrugging his shoulders. “It just didn’t go our way.”
Butte Central had a 20-9 lead after one quarter as sophomore Ryan Peoples nailed two 3-pointers after turning a steal into a layup for the Maroons’ first points. The Broncs were dedicating defense to stopping Keeley, who has been charring opponents as of late with his hot shooting hand. So, Joshua Sutton and Zane Moodry warmed up in the second period and the teams went to halftime with the Maroons owning a 30-26 margin. Hamilton had narrowed the difference by ending the half on a Magness pullup jumper and Landen Wetzel 3-point basket.
A layup by McPartland and 3-pointer by Peoples helped BC gain a 35-28 advantage two minutes into the second half. However, the Broncs fired up and blazed back with the 8-0 run ignited by a Jessop 3-pointer and ended the third quarter in a 42-all tie.
“We had some rare things happen to us,” Kelly said. “They kind of put us off a little bit. We bobble some passes, which we hardly ever do, and we left a few shots short. Margins in games like this are razor-thin so anything can matter.”
Kelly gave examples of good defensive plays, making deflections that inadvertently benefitted the Broncs and of the ball bouncing off to unexpected locations, also in Hamilton’s favor.
“The bounces didn’t go our way this time,” he said.
Hamilton lost 54-45 at Dillon Tuesday night after being knocked from the unbeaten ranks by the Maroons last weekend. So, the Broncs are 14-2 for the season, 6-2 in the Southwestern A. Bute Central is 13-3 and 6-2.
Magness had 19 points to lead all scorers while Jessop backed hi with 16 points for Hamilton. Magness also snared 10 rebounds and Tyler Jette pulled down nine. The Broncs will play at Stevensville on Tuesday.
McPartland led Butte Central with 15 points, Peoples finished with 14 and Keeley with 10. Sutton and Moodry had six points each and Parker Robertson netted two points. Keeley also had 10 rebounds and two blocks. Patrick Stimatz and GG Fantini saw time on the court, too. The Maroons will play Dillon on Thursday at 6 p.m. in the MAC.
HAMILTON (14-2, 6-2) – Cole Dickemore 2-7 0-0 5, Jackson Jessop 5-8 5-5 16, Canaan Magness 8-13 2-4 19, Tristan Koerner 2-6 4-6 8, Tyler Jette 2-7 0-0 4, Lucas Lant 0-2 0-0 0, Hunter Stewart 0-0 0-0 0, Landen Wetzel 1-3 0-0 3. Totals 20-46 11-15 55.
BUTTE CENTRAL (13-3, 6-2) – Joshua Sutton 2-9 1-2 6, Ryan Peoples 5-8 1-2 14, Owen McPartland 6-13 1-1 15, Jack Keeley 4-10 2-2 10, Zane Moodry 3-3 0-0 6, Parker Robertson 1-3 0-0 2, Patrick Stimatz 0-1 0-0 0, GG Fantini 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-47 5-7 53.
Hamilton 9 17 16 13 – 55
Butte Central 20 10 12 11 – 53
Three-point goals – Hamilton 4-13 (Dickemore 1-4, Jessop 1-1, Magness 1-4, Jette 0-1, Wetzel 1-3), BC 6-16 (Sutton 1-3, Peoples 3-4, McPartland 2-6, Keeley 0-2, Stimatz 0-1). Fouled out – none. Total fouls – Hamilton 33 (Magness 10), BC 21 (Keeley 10). Blocks – Hamilton 2 (Dickemore 1, Magness 1), BC 2 (Keeley 2). Assists – Hamilton 10 (Magness 3, Dickemore 3), BC 9 (McPartland 4). Steals – Hamilton 4 (Koerner 2), BC 3 (Peoples 2). Turnovers – Hamilton 5, BC 6.

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