Lady Bulldogs lose heartbreaker at the buzzer

The Lady Bulldogs of Butte High hosted a make-up game against the Wolfpack of Glacier High School on February 13th, and the game was a nail-biter until the very end. In a low-scoring effort, the Glacier Wolfpack squeezed past the Lady Bulldogs thanks to a two-point field goal from junior guard Kenedee Moore.

The first period of action was primarily defensive-focused, with both teams disrupting passing lanes and forcing each team to take contested shots. Turnovers were also a contributing factor for both teams. The lone first-quarter field goal came from Brityn Stewart on a three-pointer. Newcomer Selene Morrell showcased her skills for the Lady Bulldogs, adding a free-throw and some boards to her stat line. With Glacier down 4-2 with just 30 ticks left on the clock, a three-pointer from sophomore guard Karley Allen brought the Wolfpack back to a 5-4 lead as the quarter ended.

The second period saw more offensive efficiency from both teams. Glacier notched four quick points from Karley Allen when she scored a two-point field goal, picked up a steal, and laid it up for two more in the span of ten seconds. With the Wolfpack up 11-6 midway through the second period, Selene Morrell and the Bulldogs were able to claw back and take a 13-11 lead. Morrell led the way with five second-period points, followed by Brityn Stewart and Taylor Drakos, who each sank two-point jump shots. Ashlinn Mullaney sank a free throw to bring the first-half total to 14 points. The Wolfpack were able to walk into the tunnel with a 15-14 lead.

Morrell has been a popular name around the Butte community. Selene’s father, Chuck Morrell, is the former Montana Tech football head coach and the co-defensive coordinator for the national runner-up University of Washington Huskies football team. With Chuck’s job in limbo after head coach DeBoers accepted the Alabama job, they’ve decided to settle down in Butte until further notice.

The third period saw the return of stout defense and a pattern of turnovers. The Bulldogs could not find a rhythm beyond the arc but saw inside help from Brityn Stewart. After sinking a two-point layup, Freshman Cadence Graham found her first contest points in the third quarter. Both teams ended the third period with seven points, bringing the score to 22-21 in favor of the Wolfpack.

The fourth and final period saw an offensive shift for the Wolfpack that involved and-one opportunities and passing efficiency. The Lady Bulldogs found a late groove from beyond the arc, particularly late in the quarter. With a 34-28 score in favor of the Wolfpack, the Lady Dogs got the ball back with under a minute left. 

Moments like this are where Graham shines the brightest. With 24 seconds left in the contest, Graham launched a high-arcing three-pointer to bring the deficit down to three. A foul brought the Wolfpack to the free-throw line. After missing both free throws, the girls could tie it up with a three-pointer. With nine seconds left, Graham pulled up for another clutch three-pointer to tie the contest. 

With Ross J. Richardson gymnasium in a frenzy, there was still a tiny amount of time for the Wolfpack to end the game. After the Dogs deflected the inbound pass, the ball fumbled in the hands of Wolfpack guard Kenedee Moore. Using some clutch magic of her own, she bounced the shot in while the buzzer sounded. With Ross J. Richardson gymnasium now stunned, the final score saw Glacier take the 36-34 victory.

The Lady Bulldogs suffered their eighth-season loss in heartbreaking fashion. With three games remaining on the schedule, it’s best to follow Ted Lasso’s advice: Be a goldfish. It’s the happiest animal on the planet and has a ten-second memory. It’s best to forget this stinger and move on to the next one.

The Lady Bulldogs’ scoring efforts were led by junior guard Brityn Stewart, who scored 12 points. Cadence Graham scored 10 points, eight of which were in the last quarter. Selene Morrell was a menace in the paint, both offensively and defensively, and scored 9 points in her effort. Taylor Drakos added 2 points, and Ashlinn Mullaney scored a lone free throw.

The Glacier Wolfpack had eight players score baskets. Karley Allen led the way with 9 points, followed by Charlotte Osler with 8 points and “Killshot” Kenedee Moore with 7 points. Reese Ramey scored all 5 of her points in the second period. Jaidyn Pevey, Kiera Sullivan, and Cazzland Rankosky added two points to the scoring table. Madison Terry sank a free throw to round out the Glacier scoring table.

The Lady Bulldogs will try to overcome the loss as they host the 14-1 Missoula Big Sky Lady Eagles on Friday, February 16th, at 5:30 p.m. The game will be played at Butte High’s Ross J. Richardson Gymnasium.