By Bruce Sayler
The regular bugaboos tripped the Butte Central girls’ basketball team again Tuesday night as the Maroons closed their regular season with a 51-45 loss to Livingston.
It was a Class A non-conference game played in the Maroon Activities Center, the last home appearance for the BC girls this season. They completed a 1-17 regular season. The win was the season-opener over Whitefish at the Western A Tip-Off tournament in Frenchtown.
“You can’t turn the ball over 20 times, give up 15 offensive boards and go 11-for-20 at the free throw line and win games,” Butte Central head coach Meg Murphy said after the Tuesday loss. “That’s been the story of us.”
Late comebacks have, too, and the Maroons forged another one versus Livingston. They cut a 12-point deficit after three quarters in half as Sofee Thatcher sank two free throws to slice the margin to 44-38 with 1 minute, 13 seconds left on the clock.
They then sent kept putting Livingston on the foul line in hopes of slowing time and gaining possessions. The Rangers, though, went 7-for-10 from the stripe in the last minute to maintain their distance. An Avery Kelly 3-point shot from the corner with 7 seconds remaining brought the BC girls to within 49-45. However, Kodie Vondra canned two freebies two seconds later and the Rangers had clinched the win. Vondra finished with a game-high 20 points.
“They caused us quite a bit of trouble with their ball pressure,” Murphy said, referring to the 21 turnovers, 15 of them steals, Livingston caused. “But, it was a good game for us to get ready for a play-in game. It was better than practice.”
The thefts contributed to Livingston being able to launch 18 more shots than the Maroons.
Butte Central will play at Corvallis on February 24 with the winner advancing later that week to the Western A Divisional tournament in Ronan. The loser will be done for the season.
Murphy said without the Tuesday game, which was actually a makeup from one postponed from February 8 because of icy roads, the Maroons faced 10 days of only practice.
The BC girls held two leads and both were in the first quarter. They bolted to a 4-0 start on a driving layup by Thatcher and a fast-break basket by Delaney Hasquet. Thatcher fed her the pass.
Livingston responded with six straight points as Vondra connected twice around a Sylvie Schoenen runner.
Has1uet, who led her team with 18 points, buried a 3-pointer and the 7-6 edge gained on it was the Maroons’ last lead. The Park Rangers closed the quarter with 10 unanswered points. Vondra scored half of them.
It was 25-18 at halftime.
Livingston raised its record 9-8 with the win. Abby Kokot scored eight points and grabbed 10 rebounds to back Vondra’s effort. Vondra is a 5-foot-6 junior and Kokot, a 5-11 senior. Skylar Higgs spearheaded the press with six steals.
Thatcher and Kelly finished with nine points apiece for Butte Central in support of Hasquet’s offense. Senior Emma Keeley, playing her last game in the MAC, tallied six points and freshman Brooke Badovinac scored three. Maddie Kump, Taylor Harrington, Amira Bolton, and senior Breann Williamson also played.
The smaller roster the BC girls sport caused delays in giving some backups game time during the season due to them expending their eligible quarters in subvarsity contest. Murphy said she is looking forward to having use of a full bench for the play-in contest.
“It’ll be nice to have those kids, that we had to use to play JV, for four quarters,” she said. “We have to get ready and we will be ready. Come next Monday, everybody will be 0-and-0. We have to string one game (to get to divisionals). Crazy things happen this time of the year.”
LIVINGSTON (9-8) – Bobbi Lima 2-7 3-4 7, Kodie Vondra 8-16 4-5 20, Sylvie Schoenen 2-3 0-0 5, Skylar Higgs 2-8 1-2 5, Abby Kokot 3-10 2-4 8, Ryleah Floyd 0-1 0-0 0, Baylee Bergsing 0-1 0-0 0, Taylor Young 3-8 0-1 6, Rainna Floyd 0-1 0-0 0, Shannon Nelson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-55 10-16 51.
BUTTE CENTRAL (1-17) – Delaney Hasquet 5-10 7-11 18, Emma Keeley 3-11 0-0 6, Sofee Thatcher 3-8 3-6 9, Maddie Kump 0-1 0-2 0, Taylor Harrington 0-1 0-0 0, Amira Bolton 0-0 0-0 0, Brooke Badovinac 1-2 1-2 3, Avery Kelly 4-4 0-0 9, Breann Williamson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-37, 11-21 45.
Livingston 16 9 13 13 – 51
Butte Central 7 11 8 19 – 45
3-point goals – Livingston 1-7 (Vondra 0-2, Schoenen 1-1, Higgs 0-2, Young 0-2), Butte Central 2-12 (Hasquet 1-2, Keeley 0-4, Thatcher 0-3, Kump 0-1, Badovinac 0-1, Kelly 1-1). Fouled out – Thatcher. Total fouls – Livingston 17, Butte Central 17. Technicals – none. Rebounds – Livingston 35 (Kokot 10), Butte Central 27 (Thatcher 6). Blocks – Livingston 0, Butte Central 1 (Keeley). Assists – Livingston 9 (Higgs 2, Vondra 2, Lima 2), Butte Central 11 (Thatcher 4, Hasquet 4). Steals – Livingston 15 (Higgs 6, Lima 4), Butte Central 10 (Thatcher 4). Turnovers – Livingston 14, Butte Central 21.