By Bruce Sayler
Butte Central was for the defense Saturday afternoon, as is often the winning case for Brodie Kelly-coached teams.
The Maroons handcuffed Hamilton to one point in the first quarter and two in the fourth while beating the Broncs 46-28 in a Southwestern A Conference high school boys’ basketball game at the Maroon Activities Center.
Hamilton threatened to climb back into it the middle quarters but couldn’t make good in either square. The team’s 25 percent shooting success rate from the field was too cold to fire up a rally.
Kelly said the victory was an example of self-redemption. The BC boys were coming off their only loss this season, a 74-57 defeat at Dillon on Thursday night.
“I liked our response,” Kelly said. “The way we played Thursday night, practice (Friday) was unpleasant, to say the least. The way they came out of the gates tonight was a good response.”
The response was a 7-0 run to start the first quarter and a 9-0 run to finish it with only a free throw made by Tyson Rostad interrupting the spree. Eric Loos launched the scoring with a rebound basket before Dougie Peoples scored the first two of his game-high 21 points and Kyle Holter canned a 3-point shot. Rostad gave a noticeable contingent of Hamilton fans something to applaud, then Loos tallied again off a rebound to ignite the latter part of the surge. Butte Central led 16-1 after a period.
Kelly said the Broncs are way too good of a team for any assumptions they were done.
“Hamilton is a really good defensive team,” he said. “(Head coach) Travis (Blome) does a good job of scouting and preparing. And, they are a really athletic team, making it tough getting looks or touches.”
So, the second quarter was even. The Maroons enjoyed an 18-point spread after Peoples scored two buckets in a row for a 22=4 command 6 minutes, 16 seconds before halftime. Hamilton negated with an 7-2 run. The period balanced out and so BC held a 26-13 advantage at intermission.
The Broncs sent some willies through the Butte Central fans, though, when they began the second half with a 9-2 run that pulled them to within 28-22 of the Maroons. Asher Magness keyed the surge with two free throws and a basket around a 3-pointer by Max Cianflone. Eli Taylor capped the spree with a basket.
Bryson Sestrich sank a 3-pointer for BC after Holter netted a foul shot. Peoples drove for a basket, but Hamilton narrowed the gap to 36-26 after three quarters with a Magness charity toss and a Taylor 3-pointer.
That was it for the Broncs.
“Defensively, we were locked in,” Kelly said. “We made a couple of mistakes on an out-of-bounds play and in transition, but that was it. Coming out of the locker room, we knew that this team was tough and we’d have to be better. There was an uneasy feeling.”
Butte Central was better in the fourth. Peoples opened the frame with a 3-pointer and Holter dropped a rebound in for a basket before Sestrich caged a 3-pointer as a 12-0 win-clinching win had been ignited. Peoples and Sestrich finished it with a drive and a pullup jumper.
Finally, with only 2:38 to go end of game, Hamilton got on the fourth-quarter scoreboard with a pullup by Cianflone. The two points were their only ones of quarter.
Peoples was challenged for every one of his 21 points, but his teammates got the ball to him with a scoring chance and he also came up with some looks himself. All the Broncs seemed to know where he was.
“Dougie gets that attention,” Kelly said. “But, that gets other guys open, too. And, Dougie is so slippery when he gets into the lane – he’s a unique guy to guard. Loos was tough inside. Inside toughness was an emphasis.”
The coach liked the contributions to the win from his bench, too.
“Joseph Sehulster’s minutes were huge for us,” Kelly said. “He boxed out, played great defense and hit the boards. His minutes were important.”
The win put Butte Central’s records at 6-1 in conference and 9-1 for the season. Sestrich finished with 10 points and Holter had nine while Loos scored four and Jack Keeley two. Drew Badovinac put forth a strong floor game, and George Riojas, Riley Gelling and Zane Moodry also saw some time. Loos led on the boards with 10 rebounds. The Maroons will be home against Livingston Tuesday night in a non-conference makeup game at the MAC.
Hamilton dropped to 4-3 in Southwestern A with two of the losses to BC, and 7-3 overall. Taylor was the Broncs’ leading scorer with nine points. Cianflone and Magness each scored five.
HAMILTON (7-3, 4-3) — Tyson Rostad 1-7 1-2 3, Max Cianflone 2-9 0-0 5, Eli Taylor 3-7 2-2 9, Liam O’Connell 1-2 1-1 3, Asher Magness 1-4 3-4 5, Cole Dickemore 1-5 0-0 3, Hudson Bain 0-0 0-0 0, Lucas Lant 0-1 0-0 0, Jack Heath 0-0 0-0 0, Jackson Jessop 0-0 0-0 0, Tyson Bauder 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 9-36 7-9 28.
BUTTE CENTRAL (9-1, 6-1) — Bryson Sestrich 4-8 0-0 10, Drew Badovinac 0-1 0-0 0, Dougie Peoples 10-15 0-3 21, Kyle Holter 3-9 2-4 9, Eric Loos 2-7 0-2 4, Joseph Sehulster 0-0 0-0 0, Jack Keeley 1-4 0-1 2, George Riojas 0-0 0-0 0, Riley Gelling 0-0 0-0 0, Zane Moodry 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-44 2-10 46.
Hamilton 1 12 13 2 — 28
Butte Central 16 12 6 12 — 46
3-point goals – Hamilton 3-17 (Rostad 0-3, Cianflone 1-4, Taylor 1-3, Magness 0-2, Dickemore 1-5), Butte Central 4-13 (Sestich 2-4, Badovinac 0-1, Peoples 1-2, Holter 1-3, Keeley 0-3). Fouled out – none. Total fouls – Hamilton 16, Butte Central 12. Technicals – none. Rebounds – Hamilton 30 (Rostad 5, Cianflone 5, O’Connell 5), Butte Central 31 (Loos 10, Peoples 6, Holter 5). Blocks – Hamilton 0, Butte Central 2 (Peoples 1, Keeley 1). Assists – Hamilton 5 (Cianflone 2), Butte Central 6 (Peoples 2). Steals – Hamilton 3 (Rostad 1, O’Connell 1, Taylor 1), Butte Central 8 (Holter 3, Peoples 2). Turnovers – Hamilton 15, Butte Central 10.