Maidens steal the ball and take win away from BC girls

By Bruce Sayler
The flashes of promise were quite consistent glows, yet, but the Butte Central high school girls’ basketball team has shown noticeable improvement.
“We lost both of our last two games by six points,” Quinn Carter, head coach of the Maroons, said with a slight and knowing smile about possibilities ahead.
The 45-39 Class A non-conference loss to Ronan Tuesday night in the Maroon Activities Center was fresh enough to linger the disappointment. However, hope had reason.
“There were times I had a senior, two sophomores and two eighth-graders out there,” Carter said. “It was a very winnable game. We had every offensive look we could have dreamed about couldn’t execute, or we didn’t take care of the ball.
“If we take care of the ball and get to the rim, we can finish some games.”
The inexperience of the BC girls showed, but was less obvious than it was last week.
Butte Central bounced back from a 9-4 hole at the end of the first quarter to grab a 10-9 edge two shots into the second frame. Both were 3-pointers, by eighth-graders. Kenzie McQueary hit the first one and Zayonna Otherbull drilled the other.
The teams traded buckets to the halftime buzzer – Buhr and McQueary exchanging shots before Ally Luedtke tallied for Ronan and Butte Central senior Mollie Drew retaliating just before intermission arrived.
“I thought Mollie Drew was great at being aggressive at the rim,” Carter said. “She created things for us. “We’re making gains that stats just don’t show.”
The second-year head coach agreed the young Maroons need to realize what they can’t do yet in addition to finding out what successes are within reach. Trying to do too much in the passing phases probably hurt BC the most. Ronan feasted on Butte Central’s 28 turnovers, 19 of them being steals.
The Maroons were in front for a while. They opened the second half with five points from Drew on a basket and then an and-one. They led 23-15 with 7 minutes to go in the third quarter.
The Maidens went on an 8-2 rude and played their way back in after seeming to fade. Zailee Hewankorn, a 5-foot-9 freshman, led the rally with four points in the surge and 10 for the quarter. A power move by Drew gave BC a 27-24 margin, but BC then lost the lead, and the game.
Zepeda made a free throw, Hewankorn downed two more and Kylee Kelch followed with one that tied the score at 27-all. Drew scored as Lalicker assisted and Butte Central had its last lead, 29-27 with 1:21 left in the third frame.
Kaydance Santos found Hewankorn for a layup and then Hewankorn came up with a steal she took to the hoop for another bunny. The Maidens were ahead 31-29 going into the fourth quarter.
Ronan scored the first six points of the fourth quarter on shots by Kelch, Hewankorn and Luedtke (niece of Butte High boys’ basketball coach Matt Luedtke). The Maroons shortened the catch-up distance to four points once, 39-35, on a steal-layup combo by Lalicker. However, Ronan shielded away the comeback attempt and used a 6-1 run to ice the win.
“We’d have a few possessions in a row that we wouldn’t score on,” Carter said, “And then we’d have some turnovers and they’d score. We couldn’t get any leads, didn’t execute.
“We’re doing a lot of really great things. In the area of experience is where we need to improve. Winning can be a habit just like losing can be and we need to shift gears and make winning our habit. It’s a process and we’re having some growing pains.”
A plus was in rebounding where Butte Central collected 38 boards and Ronan brought down 27.
The win gave Ronan a 2-3 record. Hewankorn finished with 15 points to lead the Maidens. Zepeda, a 5-3 junior, scored nine points and also came up with a whopping 13 steals and dished seven assists.
Drew and Lalicker, both seniors, had big numbers for Butte Central, now 0-6 this season. Drew scored a game-high 17 points while Lalicker netted eight points, 11 rebounds, a block, three assists and two steals. McQueary had nine points, Otherbull three and Marley Mansanti two. Ali Stajcar, Arika Stajcar and Caden Tippett also played.
McQueary, Arika Stajcar and Drew pulled down six rebounds apiece.
The Maroons have one game left before breaking for the rest of 2023. They will play Class AA crosstown rival Butte High at 6 p.m. on Friday in the Butte Civic Center.
RONAN (2-3) – Lauryn Buhr 3-6 2-6 8, Ally Luedtke 2-10 0-1 4, Ariana Zepeda 4-9 1-2 9, Kaydance Santos 0-4 0-0 0, Zailee Hewankorn 5-9 5-10 15, Kylee Kelch 1-2 1-2 3, Ernestine Tapia-Torosian 1-4 0-0 2, Kailyn Marengo 1-1 0-0 2, Maddy Illig 0-0 0-0 0, Dallas St. Goddard 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 18-46 9-21 45.
BUTTE CENTRAL (0-6) – Kathryn Lalicker 3-10 2-7 8, Ali Stajcar 0-0 0-0 0, Kenzie McQueary 3-6 2-2 9, Arika Stajcar 0-4 0-0 0, Mollie Drew 7-14 3-7 17, Marley Mansanti 1-3 0-0 2, Zayonna Otherbull 1-3 0-0 3, Caden Tippett 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-34 7-13 39.
Ronan 9 6 16 14 – 45
Butte Central 4 14 11 10 – 39
3-point goals – Ronan 0-6 (Zepeda 0-2, Santos 0-1, Hewankorn 0-2, Tapia-Torosian 0-1), BC 2-12 (Lalicker 0-2, McQueary 1-2, Arika Stajcar 0-3, Drew 0-1, Otherbull 1-2). Fouled out – Buhr, Drew. Total fouls – Ronan 14, BC 15. Technicals – none. Rebounds – Ronan 27 (Hewankorn 7), BC 38 (Lalicker 11). Blocks – Ronan 0, BC 1 (Lalicker). Assists – Ronan 12 (Zepeda 7), BC 5 (Lalicker 3). Steals – Ronan 19 (Zepeda 13), BC 6 (McQueary 2, Lalicker 2). Turnovers – Ronan 16, BC 28.

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