Hawks run past Butte High girls

Bozeman played to its strength Tuesday night, and Butte High didn’t.

That was the assessment of Butte High girls’ basketball coach Liza Dennehy after the Bulldogs fell 66-45 to the Hawks in an Eastern AA game at the Ross J. Richardson Memorial Gymnasium.

Caitlin Lonergan, a 6-foot-1 sophomore, scored 23 points to lead the Hawks, who led nearly wire to wire in the first meeting of the rival teams this season.

“We’re fast and we’re athletic, and we need to play to our strength,” Butte High coach Liza Dennehy said. “Tonight I feel like we didn’t do that.

“I feel like we were a step, a step and a half slow getting everywhere tonight,” Dennehy said. “Defensively we weren’t doing anything we look to do in order to be successful.”

A 2-0 advantage off a Sammy McGree drive was the only advantage the Bulldogs held, as the Hawks sent Butte High to 5-8 overall and 2-5 in conference.

Melanie Johnson, a freshman guard who scored 15 points, tossed in a bucket to put the Hawks up  for good at 6-4. Then Bozeman took command with a 9-0 run late in the first quarter.

The Hawks also opened the second half with an 8-0 run, ending a 17-2 stretch with a 27-11 lead.

Much of that lead came on second-chance buckets as the Hawks, who held a size advantage with 6-foot Averie Collins and 6-1 Emmie Toth, dominated the boards.

“They got second chances the whole night, and we were getting one shot and done,” Dennehy said. “You just don’t win basketball games that way.”

Led by McGree, who scored 18 points, the Bulldogs chipped away and cut the lead to 36-24 at  halftime.

Bozeman led 51-33 after three quarters, and the Bulldogs pulled to within 57-44 with just under two minutes left in the game.

The Hawks, though, ended all Butte High hope by scoring the game’s next nine points to close out the win and improve to 6-6 and 2-5.

Lonergan scored 15 of her points in the second half. She hit 11 shots from 2-point range. Collins scored 13, while Ellie Hawthorne hit two key 3-pointers in the first half and scored six.

McKaul Ori added 10 points for the Bulldogs, who got seven from Kassidy Caprara, five from Maria Michelotti, three from Lexi Murphy and two from Ashten McCloskey.

Maria Richardson, Bethany McLean, Ellie Hoffenbacker and Andy Hogan also contributed for the Bulldogs, who are back in action Thursday when they host Billings West at 6 p.m. at the Richardson Gym.

Dennehy said her girls will be ready for the key Eastern AA game.

“We need to look at the film,” she said. “We’ll learn from it and come back ready to go on Thursday.”

BOZEMAN (6-6, 2-5)
Melanie Johnson 5 4-6 15, Jacey Delaney 2 0-0 4, Averie Collins 5 3-4 13, Caitlin Lonergan 11 1-4 23, Emmie Toth 12-3 4, Alyssa Nagel 0 0-0 0, Ellie Hawthorne 2 0-0 6, Darra Perdames 0 0-0 0, Riana Rogers 0 0-0 0. Totals 26 10-16 66.
BUTTE HIGH (5-8, 2-5)
Mariah Richardson 0 0-2 0, Sammy McGree 8 0-1 18, Lexi Murphy 0 3-6 3, Maria Michelotti 2 1-2 5, Andie Hogan 3 0-0 7, Ashten McCloskey 1 0-1 2, Bethany McLean 0 0-0 0, McKaul Ori 2 6-10 10, Ellie Hoffenbacker 0 0-0 0, Kassidy Caprara 3 0-0 7. Totals 16 10-22 45.
Bozeman        19   17   15   15 — 66
Butte               11   13     9   12 — 45

3-point goals — Bozeman 4 (Hawthorne 2, Johnson, Delaney), Butte 3 (McGree 2, Caprara). Fouls — Bozeman 19, Butte 17. Fouled out — none. Technicals — none.

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