Maroon girls hold off Devils

Prepare for anything could be the mantra basketball players and coaches chant this time of the year when tournaments are being held to determine championships and other successes.
Two Butte Central starting guards were bitten by th flu bug on Saturday and so Meg Murphy and the Maroon girls improvised their way for a 45-41 loser-out round wi over Corvallis in the Southwestern A Divisional tournament.
The win was accomplished in the Montana Tech HPER Complex and sent BC on to the consolation final versus Dillon Saturday afternoon at the Maroon Activities Center.
Freshman point guard Emily St. John and senior Chandra McCurdy both fell ill Saturday morning, Murphy said. St. John did not play. McCurdy, the better rested of the two, Murphy said, played a whale of a game.
“She hit some key throwsat the end,” Murphy said. “She’s an inspiration kid. She plays hard all the time and picks things up for us.”
The foul-shooting touch kind of abandoned Butte Central in the waning seconds when the Maroons were trying to ice the victory while the Blue evils fouiled to stop time aned try for gain of possession.
McCurdy, however, was the exception. She canned three of four foul shots in the last 50 seconds, enough to secure the victory and keep alive the Maroons’ state tournament hopes. The top two teams from the divisional will advance to the state tourney and BC was holding onto hope that it could advance though a challenge game if developments were to go their way.
McCurdy’s last two free throws funneled through the hoop with seven seconds left and gave her team the final 45-41 spread. Corvallis had closed to within 43-41 with eight seconds showing after four straight free throws by Jane Booth and Chelsi Clarke.
Butte Central had chances to clinch earlier, but missed eight off 11 tries from the charity stripe until McCurdy’s final attempts.
“The kids are playing hard and that’s all you can ask for,” Murphy said. “They all played hard today.”
So much effort might have tired the Maroons, too, by the end and caused them to leave their free throw attempts a bit short.
Senior Shelby Pafhausen took over the point guard role in the absence of St. John and responded with a fine all-around game of 13 points, an assist, two steals and three rebounds.
“She’s a senior kid and picked right up at point guard for us,” Murphy said. “TeresaPiazzola played great today, too.”
Piazzola came off the bench to help try to hold down Corvallis’ inside game. Booth, the Blue Devils’ 6-foot center, was held to three points, all on free throws, and seven for the game.
Butte Central led from the 4-minute, 18-second mark of the first quarter on, goig ahead on a basket-and-one play by Sierra Pica that snapped a 4-all tie. The Maroons had leads of 14-9 after one quarter, 24-20 at halftime and 33-28 through three periods of play. The Blue Devils stayed close, however, and never trailed by more than nine points.
Paffhausen was BC’s leading scorer with her 13 points. Mollie Peoples finished with 12, Pica with six, McCurdy five, Ryan Trudnowski 4, Piazzola three and Kate Ossello two. Lacey McGree and Taylor Wahl also contributed to the win.
Corvallis was led by freshman Corrine Sanderson and Clarke with 10 points each. Kira Doyle tallied eight. Courtney Albright led on the boards with eight rebounds.
Corvallis had defeated Butte Central 39-31 on Feb. 15 in Corvallis to split the regular-season series and also to end a 37-game losing streak in Southwestern A Conference games. The Maroons’ win Saturday avenged the loss. It also gave BC a 7-14 recording into its consolation final and ended the Blue Devils’ season at 5-14.

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