By Bruce Sayler
Butte High proved to be a tough opponent for highly regarded Missoula Hellgate in their Western AA Conference high school girls’ basketball game on Saturday.
Hellgate prevailed, 59-47, but the Bulldogs had thoughts of upset until the latter stages of the fourth quarter. The game was played in the Ross J. Richardson Memorial Gym at Butte High School.
“For 26 minutes, I thought we played really well,” Maury Cook, head coach of the Bulldogs, said. “We got beat on their back door (plays). At the end, we needed to execute better.”
The Knights led by only a point, 36-35, going into the fourth quarter. It was then, though, that they unleashed an 8-0 run, started by a Keke Davis basket from a pass by Addy Heaphy. Davis checked into the game as a reserve and wound up leading the now 8-1 Knights with 15 points.
Davis then drove for a hoop and was fouled. She sank the free throw, then Heaphy netted two foul shots, and Kinsey Henthorn was one-for-two from the charity stripe, and Hellgate’s lead had grown to 44-35.
The Bulldogs never got any closer as the Knights continued to build on their advantage.
“We played a lot of man (defense) tonight, which we hadn’t done before,” Cook said. “We played hard against a very good team. Hat’s off to Hellgate. They’re so well-coached and disciplined.”
The first half saw the Knights try to break away, only to have Butte High scrap back to stay in the game, and, sometimes, lead.
The Bulldogs’ first lead was on Trisha Ericson’s game-opening 3-point shot. Hellgate recovered and romped out to an 11-5 lead as Lauren Dick scored five points in a 9-0 run. Alex Covill, a 6-foot-4 freshman tallied a free throw and a drop-in bucket in a short spree she capped with an assist on a Davis basket. The Knights led 17-11 after a quarter.
They expanded the difference to 22-11 in the first minute and a half of the second period, all on Davis points. However, Butte High regrouped and chipped away at the deficit. Two 3-pointers by MacKenzie Tutty and one by Ericson helped pull the Bulldogs to within 26-23. Dick sank two foul shots, then Ericson and Hailey Herron converted a pair of charity tosses apiece and the half closed with the Knights clinging to a 28-27 edge.
Hellgate’s Bailee Sayler outscored Butte High 4-2 in the first half of the third quarter, but the Knights still couldn’t pull away. Herron hit on a long jumper, then caged two freebies on her team’s next possession, and the Bulldogs were suddenly in front, 33-32, with 2 minutes, 42 seconds left in the frame.
Heaphy drove the lane for a basket to put Hellgate back in front and dished to Davis for another basket. Kodie Hoagland downed two free throws for Butte High with 10 seconds left In the quarter, which ended with Hellgate holding onto its 36-35 edge.
The Knights lost starter Perry Paffhausen, daughter of former Butte High standout Todd Paffhausen, to an ankle injury in the quarter and she did not return to the court. The severity was not immediately known.
“We have to rebound down the stretch and not people on the foul line,” Cook said. “We had a one-point lead and missed free throws.
“We were a little overly aggressive at the end. We overran some things trying to stay in it.”
Sayler, Hellgate’s leading scorer, sat much of the game in foul trouble. She finished with seven points, five re bounds and four assists. The Butte-rooted Dick and Covill scored 11 points each to back Davis in the Hellgate scoring totals. The Knights are 4-1 in conference play, having lost only to unbeaten Helena Capital.
Herron led Butte High with 15 points and Ericson finished with 11. Tutty had six points, Hoagland five, and Grace McGrath, MaKenna Carpenter, McCaul McCarthy, Madalynn Rhodes and Tylar Clary notched two points apiece. Brooke McGrath, Ashley Olson and Maddy Skeel also saw action.
Herron also pulled down nine rebounds. Covill colleted 12 rebounds for Hellgate to lead all in clearing the boards.
“They hit that dagger 3 late in the game,” Cook said. “She (Sayler) just stepped up there and showed that composure. They have great composure for a very young team. They executed so well down the stretch. We’re working on that.”
Henthorn is Hellgate’s only senior. The team starts four sophomores and has eight on the roster to go with the senior, a junior and the freshman, Covill.
The Bulldogs are even on the season at 5-5 overall and 3-3 in conference play. They will be at Missoula Big Sky Thursday in a Western AA counter for their next game.
MISSOULA HELLGATE (8-1, 4-1) — Addy Heaphy 2-3 5-6 9, Kinsey Henthorn 1-4 1-2 4, Perry Paffhausen 1-4 0-0 2, Bailee Sayler 3-5 0-3 7, Lauren Dick 4-9 3-3 11, Alex Covill 5-14 1-4 11, Kennedy McCorkle 0-1 0-0 0, Keke Davis 5-8 4-5 15. Totals 21-48 14-23 59.
BUTTE HIGH (5-5, 3-3) — MacKenzie Tutty 2-9 0-1 6, Grace McGrath 1-3 0-0 2, MaKenna Carpenter 0-7 2-4 2, Trisha Ericson 3-3 2-2 11, Hailey Herron 3-7 8-12 15, McCaul McCarthy 1-1 0-0 2, Madalynn Rhodes 1-2 0-1 2, Kodie Hoagland 2-4 0-0 5, Tylar Clary 0-1 2-6 2, Brooke McGrath 0-0 0-0 0, Ashley Olson 0-1 0-0 0, Maddy Skeel 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 13-38 14-26 47.
Hellgate 17 11 8 23 – 59
Butte High 11 16 8 12 – 47
3-point goals – Hellgate 3-11 (Heaphy 0-1, Henthorn 1-2, Sayler 1-1, Covill 0-2, McCorkle 0-1, Davis 1-4), Butte 7-23 (Tutty 2-6, G. McGrath 0-2, Carpenter 0-6, Ericson 3-3, Herron 1-4, Hoagland 1-2). Fouled out – Carpenter. Total fouls – Hellgate 19, Butte 19. Technicals – none. Rebounds – Hellgate 341 (Covil 12), Butte 32 (Herron 9). Blocks – Hellgate 2 (Sayler 1, Covill 1), Butte 2 (McCarthy 1, Hoagland 1). Assists – Hellgatge 17 (Dick 6), Butte 6 (G. McGrath 3). Steals – Hellgate 10 (Paffhausen 4), Butte 3 (Herron 1, McCarthy 1, Hoagland 1). Turnovers – Hellgate12, Butte 24.