The verdict was in Butte Central’s favor as its defense didn’t rest its case Thursday night.
The Maroons stymied Belgrade’s shooters in a 51-41 non-conference Class A high school boys’ basketball win at the Maroon Activities Center. BC held the Panthers to 16-for-41 shooting and guarded two of their main offensive threats clear out of the formula.
Standout point guard Jeremy Ragar went scoreless and was able to launch only five shots against the defense of Kale Guldseth. Butte Central’s Nate Bolstad limited dangerous scorer Trevor Mahn to nine points. Bolstad put in an all-around outstanding effort, scoring a game-high 20 points, grabbing seven rebounds and coming up with six steals. Four of his baskets were from 3-point range.
“Bolstad’s defense was awesome,” Maroon head coach Brodie Kelly said while mentioning that strong, consistent defense has been a recent focus for the BC players in practice. “Mahn has a lot of scoring potential ad Nate did a great job on him. Team-wise, we did a good job of taking away the penetration lanes.”
Kelly noted that Guldseth has played solid basketball the last three weeks and has made good use of his quickness on the defensive end.
“Marcus Ferriter did a great job in the first half,“ Kelly added. “He made some great hustle plays and scoring in the post.“
The BC effort was pretty dominant, a fitting and timely 38th birthday present for their coach. Butte Central tallied the first 10 points of the game, Bolstad caging eight of them. The lead was 12-3 through one quarter and it grew to 32-20 by halftime. Jeremy Bryant came off the bench for Belgrade and kept the Panthers somewhat close with 13 first-half points.
The Panthers then surged late and had their deficit down to just six points, 45-39, after a Bryant 3-pointer with 2 minutes, 28 seconds left in the game. The Maroons responded from the free throw line as Belgrade had to foul to slow the clock and gain scoring chances.
Brady Tippett sank four of five free throws in the last minute and Guldseth funneled through both of his foul-line attempts as the home team iced the victory.
BC, however, was held without a field goal in the final period and needed to be good from the charity stripe to secure the triumph.
“We were fatigued in the fourth quarter,” Kelly said. “A good thing was that it hurt our offense more than the defense. We were still digging in on defense.”
Ferriter finished with 14 points and seven rebounds. Guldseth had nine points, and Tippett and Danny Peoples ended up with four points each. Connor McGree, Emmett McCarthy and Dalton Sessions all also contributed quality minutes toward the win.
Bryant led Belgrade with 19 points.
The win was the third straight for the Maroons, who head into the Christmas break at 4-2 overall and 2-1 in Southwestern A play. BC is off until Jan. 3 when they play host to Dillon in a conference game. Belgrade saw its winning streak snapped at four games.
BELGRADE — Jeremy Ragar 0-5 0-0 0, Ryan Townsend 2-4 0-0 4, Brandon Karnath 2-11 2-2 7, Shiloh Christopher 0-1 0-1 0, Trevor Mahn 0-0 0-0 0, Jeremy Bryant 7-10 2-3 19, Brandon Stubbs 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 16-41 4-6 41.
BUTTE CENTRAL — Kale Guldseth 3-6 2-2 9, Connor McGree 0-2 0-0 0, Brady Tippett 0-8 4-5 4, Marcus Ferriter 5-9 3-4 14, Nate Bolstad 6-8 4-4 20, Emmett McCarthy 0-1 0-0 0, Danny Peoples 2-4 0-0 4, Dalton Sessions 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 16-39 13-15 51.
Belgrade 3 17 9 12 — 41
Butte Central 12 20 11 8 — 51
3-point goals — Belgrade 5-18 (Ragar 0-3, Townsend 0-1, Karnath 1-5, Mahn 1-4, Bryant 3-5), Butte Central 6-11 (Guldseth 1-3, Tippett 0-3, Ferriter 1-1, Bolstad 4-4). Fouled out — Ragar. Total fouls — Belgrade 14, Butte Central 12. Technicals — none. Rebounds — Belgrade 21 (Ragar 4), Butte Central 32 (Ferriter 7, Bolstad 7). Blocks — Belgrade 1 (Townsend), Butte Central 0. Assists — Belgrade 7 (Karnath 3), Butte Central 9 (Tippett 3). Steals — Belgrade 7 (Ragar 2, Christopher 2), Butte Central 9 (Bolstad 6). Turnovers — Belgrade 11, Butte Central 11.