For Ryan Trudnowski it was all about the dribble.
Well, actually, it was all about not dribbling Friday night at the Maroon Activities Center. The Butte Central freshman stopped putting the ball on the floor, opting instead to take it strong to the hoop.
The result was a career-high 13 points from the 5-foot-9 sophomore post as Butte Central bounced back from a frustrating loss at Dillon with a 53-34 win over Livingston in a non-conference girls’ basketball game.
“It was a habit for me to dribble and go back up,” said Trudnowski, who has been working with BC head coach Meg Murphy and retired coach John Thatcher at refining her play in the post. “Every time I’d dribble and go back up it would get taken from me. That would we be frustrating. Now that I’ve practiced a lot, I have it down.”
Trudnowski scored 10 points in the first half, and her first three buckets came off of putbacks.
“She did a great job,” Murphy said. “Our kids are starting to look for her. Last night she was dead wide open and the kids didn’t give her the ball, and I think she got frustrated.”
Trudnowski and senior guard Shelby Paffhausen combined to score BC’s first 19 points of the game.
Paffhausen also scored 13 points in the victory that saw the Maroons bust out offensively after the first quarter.
BC led 10-7 after the first quarter. A baseline 3-pointer and a jumper from just inside the 3-point arc by Paffhausen highlighted the Maroons push in the second quarter, and BC took a 24-15 lead into halftime.
A steal and a hoop by Paffhausen and a hustle play resulting in a gimme bucket by freshman Emily St. John highlighted an 8-0 BC run that gave the Maroons the command in the third quarter.
“She just played within herself and took good shots,” Murphy said of Paffhausen. “She had her feet set and she shot some good shots. She was pretty unselfish and didn’t try to force shots. That’s big for us. If she can hit some shots and get some confidence we’re a better team.”
St. John hit the floor to force a jump ball in favor of BC. Frustrated players from Livingston headed the wrong direction, apparently thinking it was there ball.
BC inbounded the ball, and St. John scored on an uncontested layup.
Her next points were highly contested as St. John scored on a slick move off a Shawnee Hjelt pass as time expired in the third quarter. That hoop gave the Maroons a 39-23 lead heading into the final frame.
“She’s a smart kid, and she understands the game,” Murphy said of St. John. “She plays beyond a freshman.”
Freshman Mollie Peoples opened the fourth quarter with a pull up jumper, a three pointer and two nice assists, and the Maroons rolled to the victory.
In all, 15 Maroons hit the floor in the varsity game, and 10 of them scored.
“Our offense is starting to come together now,” Trudnowski said.
St. John scored eight points, while Teresa Piazzola tossed in six, Peoples finished with five, Rylee Green, Lacey McGree and Kate Ossello scored two apiece, and Sierra Pica and Hjelt scored one.
Chandra McCurdy, who does all the little things that don’t show up on a stat sheet, started and was a key to BC’s defensive effort. Aidan Dennehy, McKenzie Gallagher, Taylor Wahl and Courtney Thomas also saw time for the Maroons, who improved to 305 on the season.
Meadow Ingram scored 13 points before fouling out to lead the Rangers (1-6). Meghan Gibson, Megan Schoenen, Mariel Kelley and Alyssa Bergsing were next at four points.
Next up for the Maroons is Thursday night’s clash with Butte High at the Civic Center. Murphy said Friday’s win was a good game to ride into the battle with their cross-town rival.
“I told them, ‘Today is a new day and you’ve got to go out and lay it on the line,'” Murphy said. “They did, and I’m really proud of them because they could have laid down today. Last night was tough.”
Meghan Gibson 1 2-2 4, Sierra Higgs 0 0-0 0, Megan Schoenen 1 1-2 4, Meadow Ingram 4 5-8 13, Mariel Kelley 1 2-4 4, Brittini Phipps 0 0-1 0, Olga Mogen 0 0-2 0, Hailey Peterson 0 2-4 2, Emily Cornell 1 1-4 4, Sabrina Durnez 0 0-0 0, Alyssa Bergsing 1 2-2 4. Totals 9 15-29 34.
BUTTE CENTRAL (3-5)
Chandra McCurdy 0 0-0 0, Teresa Piazzola 1 4-4 6, Shelby Paffhausen 6 0-0 13, Sierra Pica 0 1-3 1, Ryan Trudnowski 6 1-2 13, Emily St. John 3 2-2 8, Kate Ossello 0 2-2 2, Mollie Peoples 2 0-0 5, Shawnee Hjelt 0 1-3 1, Taylor Wahl 0 0-0 0, Rylee Green 1 0-1 2, Lacey McGree 1 0-0 2, Aidan Dennehy 0 0-0 0, McKenzie Gallagher 0 0-0 0, Courtney Thomas 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 11-17 53.
Livingston 7 8 8 11 — 34
Central 10 14 15 14 — 53
3-point goals — Livingston 1 (Schoenen), BC 2 (Paffhausen, Peoples). Fouls — Livingston 19, BC 23. Fouled out — Ingram. Technicals — none.