Indians run past Maroons

That was not the same Browning team that played in Butte on Dec. 7.

Sure, the names are the same, but the Indians were a much different, much better team than Butte Central rolled 72-52 at the tipoff tournament.

The Indians used a 19-4 second-quarter run to take control, and the Indians ended Butte Central’s State title hopes with a 57-41 win this afternoon in the first round of the Class A State tournament at the Butte Civic Center.

Marti EagleFeathers scored four points against the Maroon in the season opener. Today she scored 22 points to help send the Indians to Friday’s 6:30 p.m. semifinal game against Billings Central.

EagleFeathers hit back-to-back buckets early in the second quarter to start the Indian run. Her second one tied the game at 15 with 6 minutes left on the clock.

Browning took the lead for good with 5 minutes 2 seconds left in the frame when Courtney Little Dog scored on a picture-perfect tip pass from freshman Tiara Gilham on a fast break.

It became clear that the day belonged to the Indians when EagleFeathers banked in a 3-pointer from the top of the key to put Browning up 22-16.

The Indians led 28-17 at halftime, and continued to attack the Maroons by opening the third quarter with a 6-1 run, highlighted by a three-point play by — you guessed it — EagleFeathers.

The outcome wasn’t in doubt after that.

At the break, the Maroons stat sheet showed 17 turnovers compared to just 13 attempts from the field. In all, Browning forced 25 BC turnovers in the win.

Rachel Heptner and Courtney Little Dog each scored eight points for Browning, while Gilham scored seven and Brooke Carlson scored six. Jessica Magee came off the bench to grab 12 rebounds.

Senior Mariah Cooney scored 14 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lead the Maroons, who were playing without leading scorer Danee Leary. The senior suffered a head injury in Saturday’s Southwestern A Divisional title game and likely won’t play all weekend.

Browning outrebounded BC 43-35. The Indians grabbed 19 offensive rebounds, an area where the Maroons clearly missed Leary and her 8.9 rebounds per game.

“If I look back on the stats, we haven’t given up 19 offensive boards all year,” BC coach Meg Murphy said.

Alysea Pica scored 13 points for the Maroons. She scored nine of those points in the first quarter to help the Maroons build a 13-9 lead.

BC led 15-11 when Hannah Stajcar drove for a hoop 57 seconds into the second quarter. That was the last good news for the Maroons.

Stajcar scored six points, while Annie Ossello scored four, Chandra McCurdy tossed in two and Danika Neumann and Shawnee Hjelt each scored one.

Theresa Piazzola, Shelby Paffhausen, Sierra Pica and Aleesha LaBreche also contributed for the Maroons.

Butte Central (16-5) will now have to regroup and battle for the third-place trophy. That quest begins at 12:30 p.m. Friday in a loser-out game against Columbia Falls, which was ranked No. 1 in the last Associated Press Power Poll.

Cooney said that third-place trophy is a priority.

“I’m not — not — ending my career on a win,” she said.

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