Hawks pull away from Bulldogs on Senior Night

Hawks pull away from Bulldogs on Senior Night
Butte High senior Kale McCarthy looks to pass to Jake Olson as Bozeman's Kenneth Eiden (31) and Hudson Willett (11) defend Tuesday night at the Butte Civic Center. (Bill Foley photo)

By Bruce Sayler

Butte High seemed to be in pretty good shape for a possible boys’ basketball win Tuesday night — until Bozeman called in the reserves.

Jackson Coles came in off the bench to score 16 points and Hudson Willett tallied nine as Bozeman beat the Bulldogs 61-46 in an Eastern AA Conference game played in the Butte Civic Center.

The Hawks’ victory spoiled a Senior Parents Night celebration for Butte HIgh, which saw seniors Kash Kelly, Clay Ferguson, Jake Vetter, Dan McCloskey, Trevyn Roth and Kale McCarthy play for the Bulldogs in the Civic Center for the last time, in at least the regular season.

“We have six seniors and I don’t think they’re done playing on this court,” head coach Luke Powers said afterward.

The Civic Center will play host to the state Class AA tournament March 7-9 and the Bulldogs will need to qualify through next week’s Eastern AA Divisional to reach it as a top four team in the conference.

Rebounding and ball care were problem areas for Butte High versus Bozeman. The Hawks outrebounded the Bulldogs 29-16, and Butte High was victimized by 11 steals. The result was the ball going to Bozeman shooters’ hands too often.

“We gave up too many offensive rebounds,” Powers said. “And, we had too many turnovers in the paint. We can’t be throwing the ball to the team wearing black shorts when we’re the ones wearing white.”

Butte High broke out of the locker room in a 23-20 deficit and rushed ahead with a strong early third-quarter attack. Roth drilled a 3-pointer to tie the score. After Kenneth Eiden scored on a rebound basket for the Hawks, the Bulldogs rattled off six straight points — a 3-pointer by Kelly, which he encored with a steal for a layin, and a McCloskey free throw.

The flurry had Butte High ahead by 29-25.

Bozeman put on the brakes. Jashon Mendoza netted a short jumper fed him by Coles, and then Brett Clark tied the score with two free throws. The Hawks continued a 10-0 run as Clark netted three on a basket-and-one, and Coles knocked down another of his four 3-pointers in the game. Bozeman had shot to the front, 35-29, with 3 minutes, 31 seconds left in the third quarter.

After Ferguson maneuvered a three-point play for Butte High, the Hawks closed the period on another 10-0 spree and controlled a 45-32 bulge heading into the final frame.Treys by Coles and Willett capped the surge.

Butte High cut the margin to single digits just once, 50-41 after Kelly caged a 3-pointer and Roth made a foul shot with 4:24 on the clock. Bozeman stymied the comeback with Ryan Lonergan tallying five points on two free throws and then an and-one play. Carter Ash followed with two baskets and the Hawks opened a 59-41 command with only 2:28 left to play.

Bozeman capably protected its lead with a 14-for-14 performance at the charity stripe over the course of the game.

“That’s a good team, you have to give credit,” Powers said of the Hawks. “They made seven 3s, but they only took 13.”

The Bulldogs defense was primed to contain Hawk shooting star Ash and did hold him to four points. However, other members of the team proved they could fill the hoop, as well.

Lonergan, a University of Montana football signee, scored 15 points to back Coles’ scoring. Clark joined Willett with nine points. The Hawks improved to 13-4 for the season, 8-3 in conference play, with the win.

Kelly led Butte High with 13 points and McCloskey finished with 10. Ferguson had nine points, Roth seven, McCarthy three, and Vetter and Tommy Mellott each scored two. Jake Olson, Michael Phillips, Andrew Booth, Ryan Burt, Cael Stenson and Aidan Lee also played. The loss dropped the Bulldogs to 3-14 for the season and 0-11 in Eastern AA play. They will play at Billings Senior on Friday to wrap up the regular season.

“If we can win down there and get a sixth seed (for Eastern AA Divisional play), we’d like that,” Powers said. “We’d also like to have a win going into divisionals. In the Eastern AA, you’re always playing top-of-the-line opposition.

After Friday, though, every team will be 0-and-0. We’ve spent the last three months creating a bracket. We won the city championship this year and all our goals are still in front of us.”

BOZEMAN (13-4, 8-3) — Jashon Mendoza 1-2 0-0 2, Brett Clark 3-7 3-3 9, Ryan Lonergan 5-9 5-5 15, Carter Ash 2-7 0-0 4, Kenneth Eiden 2-5 2-2 6, Jackson Coles 4-5 4-4 16, Hudson Willett 3-5 0-0 9, Padraig Lang 0-0 0-0 0, Branden Tarabochia 0-0 0-0 0, Brady Lang 0-0 0-0 0, Ethan Cooper 0-1 0-0 0, Jace Fasting 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-42 14-14 61.
BUTTE HIGH (3-14, 0-11) — Kash Kelly 5-7 0-0 13, Clay Ferguson 3-6 2-3 9, Jake Vetter 1-2 0-0 2, Dan McCloskey 3-5 3-5 10, Trevyn Roth 2-6 1-2 7, Kale McCarthy 1-2 0-0 3, Jake Olson 0-4 0-0 0, Tommy Mellott 1-2 0-0 2, Michael Phillips 0-0 0-0 0, Andrew Booth 0-0 0-0 0, Ryan Burt 0-0 0-0 0, Cael Stenson 0-1 0-0 0, Aidan Lee 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-35 6-10 46.
Bozeman                    9          14        22        16 — 61
Butte High                 7          13        12        14 — 46

3-point goals — Bozeman 7-13 (Ash 0-4, Coles 4-4, Willett 3-5), Butte 8-18 (Kelly 3-5, Ferguson 1-2, Vetter 0-1, McCloskey 1-3, Roth 2-6, McCarthy 1-1). Fouled out — none. Total fouls — Bozeman 12, Butte 13. Technicals — none. Rebounds — Bozeman 29 (Clark 6), Butte 16 (McCarthy 4, Olson 4). Blocks — Bozeman 1 (Ash), Butte 1 (Olson). Assists — Bozeman 14 (Ash 4, Coles 4), Butte 12 (Kelly 4). Steals — Bozeman 11 (Mendoza 4, Ash 4), Butte 6 (McCloskey 2, Kelly 2). Turnovers — Bozeman 13, Butte 15.

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