Livingston girls go long-range to beat BC in MAC

By Bruce Sayler

A dry second quarter for Butte Central meant sink instead or swim. Of course, Livingston’s defense and deeper experience had much to do with the result, too, which was a 54-34 victory for the Rangers over BC.
The game was the high school girls’ basketball home opener for the Maroons, playing before a good-sized crowd in the Maroon Activities Center Thursday night.
“We’re young and we’re going to go through some growing pains,” BC head coach Quinn Carter said. “In the second quarter, we saw our youth.”
Livingston clung to only a 10-9 lead after one quarter as the Maroons put together a 6-2 mini-burst on the efforts of senior Kathryn Lalicker and eighth-grader Kenzie McQueary. It was like mud. They were stuck there. Lalicker was the game high-scorer with 22 points.
The Rangers shut out BC in the second quarter and led 22-9 at halftime as Veronica Turck buried two of her 3-pointers to trigger the surge. Livingston’s defense held Butte Central to just 13 shots from the floor in the first half.
“We didn’t get anything going,” Carter said. “And, we fouled only two times in the first half. That shows we have to be more aggressive.”
The Maroons sport three seniors on their roster and no juniors. The rest of the team comes from grades 8-10.
“We had a senior, a sophomore, two eighth-graders and a freshman out there for a while,” Carter said, looking positively more to the future instead of lamenting the present.
Eight of Livingston’s players were from the junior and senior classes, and the Rangers looked like contenders. They played well and with a decent amount of good height. They outrebounded BC 36-26 and forced Butte Central into 23 turnovers. Livingston was also able to launch 55 shots from the field, netting 22 of them. Eight of the baskets were from 3-point range. The Rangers limited the Maroons to 36 attempts with 12 makes.
The BC girls recovered and stayed in pace for much of the second half. Lalicker’s steal and layup at the 6-minute, 25-second mark of the third quarter ended Butte Central’s scoring drought, the first Maroon points since McQueary’s bucket 6 seconds before the of the first quarter.
The third quarter ended with Livingston ahead 39-19 and an 18-point difference was the closest the BC girls could get to the Rangers the rest of the way.
“The positives are that we saw some kids come in and get us some steals and play hard,” Carter said. “Marley Mansanti came in and led us in rebounds. But, there are a lot of things we need to get better at doing.”
Butte Central was playing noticeably better by the end of the game, but Livingston was draining from deep. Six different Rangers connected from the hotdog stand.
“We’d start to get things going and they’d knock down two or three 3s,” Carter said. “They shot the ball.”
The 5-foot-7 Lalicker had eight rebounds, three assists and two steals to go with her 22 points. She returned to action late last season after losing much of her career to ACL surgery and recovery. She attacked the hoop in earnest Thursday night.
“I thought this was one of her best games,” Carter said. “It takes a lot of practice, a lot of gym time to get comfortable out there again after an injury. She’s a tough kid.”
Maria Turck led Livingston with 13 points as eight Rangers scored points. Veronica Turck’s 11 points counted for second-most while the 5-foot-11 Strupp and Emily Jesson notched eight apiece. The win squared Livingston’s record at 2-2.
Maria Turck and Strupp led them on the boards with seven rebounds each. Jesson dished six assists and collected six steals.
McQueary and Mollie Drew had five points each to back Lalicker’s BC production. Zayonna Otherbull, a 5-10 eighth-grader, tallied two. Mansanti, a 5-7 sophomore, and the 5-9 Stajcar combined for 11 rebounds. Ali Stajcar and Caden Tippett also played.
The loss put the Maroons at 0-4 for the season. They’ll be home again on Saturday, playing Polson in a 4 p.m. Class A non-conference game in the MAC.
LIVINGSTON (2-2) – Maria Turck 5-13 2-3 13, Maya Stenseth 1-6 0-2 2, Veronica Turck 4-10 0-0 11, Ashley Strupp 4-7 0-0 8, Emily Jesson 3-8 0-0 8, Chase Vermillion 3-5 0-2 6, Veronica Glenn 0-1 0-0 0, Gray Hoglund-Mossman 0-3 0-2 0, Megan Ruebusch 1-2 0-0 3, Annie Keyes 1-1 0-0 3, Alissa Ruebusch 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-55 2-9 54.
BUTTE CENTRAL (0-4) – Kathryn Lalicker 9-18 4-7 22, Ali Stajcar 0-1 0-0 0, Kenzie McQueary 1-5 3-3 5, Arika Stajcar 0-1 0-0 0, Mollie Drew 2-6 1-2 5, Marley Mansanti 0-0 0-0 0, Zayonna Otherbull 0-5 2-4 2, Caden Tippett 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 12-36 10-17 34.
Livingston 10 12 17 15 – 54
Butte Central 9 0 10 15 – 34
3-point goals – Livingston 8-23 (M. Turck 1-4, Stenseth 1-3, V. Turck 3-8. Jesson 1-5, Keyes 1-1, M. Ruebush 1-2), Butte Central 0-8 (Lalicker 0-1, Ali Stajcar 0-1, McQueary 0-3, Otherbull 0-3). Fouled out – none. Total fouls – Livingston 16, Butte Central 8. Technicals – none. Rebounds – Livingston 36 (M. Turck 7, Strupp 7), Butte Central 26 (Lalicker 8). Blocks – Livingston 2 (V. Turck 1, Strupp 1). Assists – Livingston 15 (Stenseth 6), Butte Central 6 (Lalicker 3). Steals – Livingston 11 (Stenseth 6), Butte Central 5 (Lalicker 2, Otherbull 2). Turnovers – Livingston 15, Butte Central 23.