When Butte Central’s shots weren’t falling Saturday night at the Maroon Activities Center, the Maroons knew just what to do.
They stepped up their defense.
The Maroons used that defense to jumpstart their offense, and Butte Central rolled to a 42-23 Southwestern A victory over the arch rival Anaconda Copperheads.
“Meg just told us we had to work on defense because we were kind of lazy,” said BC senior Danee Leary, who paced BC’s balanced attack with 12 points. “The second half was a lot better on defense, and when we step our defense our offensive game gets better as well.”
After not scoring for the first 4 minutes, 21 seconds of the first quarter, Mariah Cooney grabbed a rebound and laid in a bunny to start an 8-0 BC run to put the Maroons up for good. The lead, though wasn’t comfortable.
The Maroons led 8-3 after the first quarter and 18-10 at halftime.
BC led 11-6 before Leary connected on a put-back and a 3-pointer to take some momentum into the locker room, where BC head coach Meg Murphy lectured her squad about its defense.
“We want to get touches on the ball and create some easy scoring opportunities instead of sitting there and bombing threes” Murphy said. “When we start getting some layups we shoot better.”
After the break, it was all BC. Central outscored the Copperheads 17-3 in the third quarter to turn a game that was in doubt into a rout.
Hannah Stajcar scored nine points, while Cooney scored eight and Danika Neumann scored eight.
“We have a lot of really good scorers,” Leary said. “It’s nice to have it spread out so there’s not a lot of pressure on one person.”
Also, Annie Ossello scored four points, Alysea Pica netted two and Sierra Pica tossed in one. Aleesha LaBreche, Chandra McCrudy, Shelby Paffhausen and Shawnee Hjelt also contributed for the Maroons, who improved to 4-0.
Murphy also credited Stajcar’s defense with holding explosive Courtney Moodry to nine points.
“Moodry is a good player, and that’s the best defense I’ve seen her play,” Murphy said of Stajcar, whom the coach added is getting more comfortable after having ACL surgery two years ago. “That’s great to see because I think she’s getting more confidence.
“Mariah had a ton of boards,” Murphy said. ” She went to the boards hard, so I was happy with that. And our young kids came in and did a nice job to give us a break.”
Natahsa Stommen was Anaconda’s second-leading scorer with four points. Anaconda fell to 2-2 on the season.
The victory was the sixth straight for the Maroons over the Copperheads.
The Maroons play another conference game Tuesday when they head to Hamilton.
ANACONDA (2-2) — Taylor Flynn 1 0-0 2, Kiernan Gallagher 0 0-0 0 Courtney Moodry 2 4-6 9, Natasha Stommen 1 2-2 4, Julia Peterson 1 0-0 3, McKenna Blume 1 0-0 2, Lacee Moodry 0 0-0 0, Molly Huber 0 0-0 0, Khali Knadler 1 1-2 3. Totals 7 7-10 23.
BUTTE CENTRAL (4-0) — Hannah Stajcar 4 1-1 9, Danee Leary 5 0-0 12, Alysea Pica 0 2-2 2, Annie Ossello 1 1-4 4, Danika Neumann 3 0-0 7, Mariah Cooney 3 2-8 8, Aleesha LaBreche 0 0-0 0, Chandra McCurdy 0 0-0 0, Shelby Paffhausen 0 0-0 0, Sierra Pica 0 1-2 1, Shawnee Hjelt 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 7-18 42.
Anaconda 3 7 3 10 — 23
Central 8 10 17 7 — 42
3-point goals — Anaconda 1 (C. Moodry), BC 3 (Leary 2, Neumann). Fouls — Anaconda 15, Butte Central 14. Fouled out — none. Technicals — none.
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