Maroon girls rout Jackets, run record to 10-0

By Bruce Sayler

The Butte Central win probably wasn’t as easy as it looked. It was a Southwestern A Conference game, which translates to tough tussle.

Therefore, the Maroons had to work hard to look so dominant for their 60-29 girls’ basketball victory over Stevensville Thursday evening in the Maroon Activities Center. The triumph ran BC’s record to a perfect 10-0 this season.

Butte Central head coach Meg Murphy said that if the Yellowjackets had been able to coax a few more of their shots to fall, the contest could’ve tightened up mighty quickly. The Maroons’ defense, though, had much to do with the shots not falling through the hoop, or even leaving the shooters’ hands.

The BC girls held Stevensville to four attempts from the field in a 28-5 second quarter that opened a 41-14 halftime bulge.

“They had a big win in Polson and played much better than when we faced them in Stevensville,” Murphy said. “They got us into some foul trouble tonight and so that’s something we’ll have to work on.”

If the tenacious defense was reason No. 1 for how Butte Central prevailed, the inside play of the posts was No. 2. Sierra Pica, the 5-foot-10 senior, scored a team-high 12 points, pulled down four rebounds and came up with four steals. It is likely unknown how many Yellowjacket passes she batted away that ended up in the hands of Maroons.

“Pica and ‘Klo (Kloie Thatcher)’ got a lot of tips,” Murphy said, “and some steals. If we can get a couple of steals in there, it changes the complexion of the game in a hurry.”

Thatcher also had six steals to go with 10 points. Mollie Peoples finished with four steals and nine points. Kailee Murphy, a 6-0 sophomore, led in rebounds with five and tallied 10 points.

“I think our post players are starting to work well together,” coach Murphy said, alluding some to the strong inside passing game her team showed in the key and over the top of it. “They’re doing a better job of holding the over their heads to keep it away from some of the shorter defenders. We have to have good post play to work with our good guards.”

The combination provided some good inside-out results, too, creating the fast-break opportunities off the rebounds passed out ahead downcourt. Butte Central came up with 17 steals as Stevensville was tagged with 27 turnovers.

“We’ve worked a lot on transition,” coach Murphy said. “When our girls are out in the open court, they’re playing at their best, I think. And, our posts ran the court hard, tonight.”

Kailee Murphy took two consecutive feeds from point guard Emily St. John to the hoop for layups to give Butte Central a 4-0 lead in the first minute of the contest. The Yellowjackets battled back to forge a 7-all tie after Ashlynn Harrington drove for a layin with 2 minutes, 59 seconds left in the first quarter.

Pica then drove for a hoop and Peoples followed with a basket off an assist by Thatcher and Stevensville never got an even look at the Maroons again. The Yellowjackets scored on a basket by Payton Tillotson before the quarter closed right after Thatcher bounced an inbounds pass underneath to Pica for a bunny.

The BC girls led 13-9 as the second frame started. Three minutes in, it was a 25-9 game after a 12-0 Butte Central run with Pica scoring half the points on basket-and-one plays. The Maroons added 5-0 and 11-0 runs before the half ended.

They then tallied the first 11 points of the second half on scoring from Peoples, Pica, Thatcher, St. John and Kate Ossello. Their lead was 53-16 after three quarters.

Stevensville suited up only seven players for the game and BC substituted freely in the final frame. St. John finished with eight points, Megan Michelotti with six, Ossello with four and Caleigh Mullaney with one. Taylor Wahl, Tricia Joyce, Olivia Bolton and Bella Sorini also saw time on the court.

Makayla Davids scored 10 points to pace the Yellowjackets. Tillotson scored next-most for the team with seven.

The Maroons, now 5-0 in conference, will be home on Saturday for a 6 p.m. game against former league rival and traditional area rival Anaconda in non-conference play. The boys’ teams from the two schools will then follow at about 7:30.

“Now, we have to geared up for Anaconda,” coach Murphy said. “They’ll be a completely different team from what we saw in December. They always are and it should be a good game.”

STEVENSVILLE (1-9, 0-5) — Deanna Blair 0-4 2-2 2, Mariah Hinson 2-2 0-0 4, Megan Pendergast 2-10 0-0 4, Makayla Davids 4-6 1-2 10, Payton Tillotson 3-4 1-2 7, Ashlynn Harrington 1-2 0-0 2, Angel Richards 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 12-28 4-8 29.
BUTTE CENTRAL (10-0, 5-0) — Kloie Thatcher 3-6 2-2 10, Mollie Peoples 4-8 0-4 9, Kailee Murphy 5-9 0-0 10, Emily St. John 3-3 2-3 8, Sierra Pica 4-8 4-6 12, Kate Ossello 1-1 2-2 4, Taylor Wahl 0-0 0-0 0, Megan Michelotti 3-5 0-1 6, Caleigh Mullaney 0-1 1-2 1, Tricia Joyce 0-1 0-0 0, Olivia Bolton 0-0 0-0 0, Bella Sorini 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-43 11-20 60.
Stevensville                9          5          2          13  29
Butte Central            13        28        12        7
3-point goals — Stevi 1-5 (Pendergast 0-2, Davids 1-2, Harrington 0-1), BC 3-5 (Thatcher 2-3, Peoples 1-2). Fouled out — none. Total fouls — Stevi 13, BC 9. Technicals — none. Rebounds — Stevi 18 (Hinson 4, Tillotson 4), BC 22 (Murphy 5, Pica 4). Blocks — Stevi 3 (Hinson 3), BC 0. Assists — Stevi 3 (Hinson 2), BC 13 (St. John 4, Thatcher 3, Wahl 3). Steals — Stevi 3 (Hinson 2), BC 17 (Thatcher 6, Peoples 4, Pica 4). Turnovers — Stevi 27, BC 13.

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