Locomotives hold off Maroons

Both Butte Central and Laurel looked like they’d been playing high school basketball a little longer than a weekend on Saturday. Laurel, especially, looked in midseason form as the Locomotives rolled to a 62-55 boys’ hoops win at the Maroon Activities Center in last-day play of the Butte Central Tip-Off Tournament.

Laurel committed but one turnover in the first half while opening up early leads of 16-11 through one quarter and 29-24 at halftime.

“They really executed well for this time of the year,” Maroon head coach Brodie Kelly said of the Locomotives. “They did a good job.

“A positive for us was our guys played well when we were down in the game. Unfortunately, we put ourselves in that position.”

The BC gathered a fierce rally late and almost came from behind on Laurel. The Locomotives led 54-44 with 5 minutes left on the clock before Brady Tippett drilled back-to-back 3-pointers for Butte Central to slice the spread to four points less than a minute later.

Tippett wound up with 26 points, including six baskets from 3-point land.

Laurel put its lead back to 58-52, using two Brett Thompson free throws and a basket by Bryce Herman to counter a pair of made Tippett foul shots.

Tippett then netted two freebies and Connor McGree caged one to draw the Maroons to within 58-55 of Laurel with just more than a minute left to play.

However, BC then needed to foul to stop time and gain ball possession. The Locomotives responded with four straight free throws converted by Jake Anderson and Thompson.

“We didn’t defend well enough to win the game,” Kelly said. “Our half court defense just wasn’t there.”

The coach said Butte Central showed more defensive strength playing man-to-man.

Both teams took care of the ball well, committing only six turnovers apiece. Laurel shot 23-for-40 from the field, though, and the Maroons cooled to a 16-for-37 rate.

The Locomotives were balanced and unselfish on offense with four scorers notching double figures and almost every shot set up by a good pass. Anderson came off the bench to lead Laurel with 13 points and five rebounds. Evan Jones finished with 12 points, and Taylor Maida and Herman scored 11 each.

“We were soft on defense,” Kelly said. “We weren’t very tough running through screens.”

Nate Bolstad put in 10 points to back Tippett in the scoring figures for BC. The team shot 10-for-19 from 3-point range. Marcus Ferriter grabbed 10 rebounds to lead everyone on the boards.

Other scorers for Butte Central were Ferriter with six points, Emmett McCarthy with five, Kale Guldseth with four, Dalton Sessions with three, and McGree with one. Danny Peoples also contributed effort on the court.

“The most disappointing thing is we lost on our home court,” Kelly said. “But it’s only the second game of the year and it’s good to play good teams early.”

The Maroons, now 1-1 this season, never led. A 3-pointer by Jones and a 15-footer by Thompson sent Laurel ahead 5-0 and launched a 10-1 run. Butte Central’s first point was a Guldseth foul shot halfway through the Locomotives’ opening spree.

Laurel improved its mark to 2-0. The BC team will play at Stevensville on Thursday to begin Southwestern A Conference play.

LAUREL (2-0) — Taylor Maida 4-8 0-0 11, Shawn Nardella 2-4 0-0 4, Bryce Herman 5-7 0-2 11, Brett Thompson 2-7 6-8 10, Evan Jones 5-6 0-0 12, Tyler Ward 0-0 1-2 1, Jake Anderson 5-6 3-4 13, Zac Allen 0-1 0-0 0, Dylan Meccage 0-1 0-0 0, Jarred Simons 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-40 10-16 62.

BUTTE CENTRAL (1-1) — Kale Guldseth 1-6 1-4 4, Connor McGree 0-0 1-2 1, Brady Tippett 8-16 4-4 26, Marcus Ferriter 2-3 2-2 6, Nste Bolstad 3-8 2-3 10, Danny Peoples 0-0 0-0 0, Dalton Sessions 1-2 1-2 3, Emmett McCarthy 1-2 2-4 5. Totals 16-37 13-21 55.

Laurel          16          13          17          16  —  62

Butte Central          11          13          14          17  —  55

3-point goals — Laurel 6-13 (Maida 3-4, Thompson 2-5, Jones 2-3, Anderson 0-1),  Butte Central 10-19 (Guldseth 1-4, Tippett 6-10, Bolstad 2-4, McCarthy 1-1).  Fouled out — none. Total fouls — Laurel 15, Butte Central 14. Technicals — none. Rebounds — Laurel 24 (Anderson 5), Butte Central 18 (Ferriter 10). Blocks — Laurel 0, Butte Central 2 (Bolstad 1, McCarthy 1).  Assists — Laurel 14 (Herman 8), Butte Central 13 (Guldseth 3, Bolstad 3). Steals — Laurel 2 (Maida 1, Nardella 1), Butte Central 2 (Guldseth 1, Bolstad 1). Turnovers — Laurel 6, Butte Central 6.