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Maroons edge Wildkats, advance to State semis

HAMILTON — Butte Central is two wins away from a state title.

Sierra Pica grabbed a rebound and laid in a bucket with 5 seconds remaining Thursday afternoon as the Maroons beat Columbia 49-47 in the first round of the Class A State girls’ basketball tournament on the Dale Berry Court.

The Maroons (17-5) will play Billings Central (11-11) in Friday’s 6:30 p.m. semifinal. The Rams beat Lewistown 42-41 in the other game on Saturday afternoon.

Pica’s bucket, gave the Maroons just their second lead of the second half. BC trailed by eight points, and Columbia Falls took a 22-18 lead into halftime. The WildKats led 36-30 after three quarters.

Emily St. John drove for a bucket to tie the game at 47 with 56 seconds left. BC then forced one of Columbia Falls’ 18 turnovers.

The Maroons called time out with 23 seconds left, and Ryan Trudnowski got off a shot. Pica got the rebound, sending the Maroons to the final four.

Mollie Peoples scored 13 points to lead the Maroons, while Trudnowski had one of her best games in a Butte Central uniform. Trudnowski scored 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the win.

St. John scored 10 points, while Kloie Thatcher scored eight, Pica Scored six and Kate Ossello tossed in one. Shawnee Hjelt, Taylor Wahl and Megan Michelotti also contributed in the victory.

Winter Kemppainen scored 15 points and grabbed six rebounds to lead the WildKats, who were ranked No. 1 throughout the season. Columbia Falls (19-2) will play Lewistown in Friday’s 12:30 p.m. loser-out game.

COLUMBIA FALLS (19-2)
Summer Burlage 0-2 0-0 0, Ciera Finberg 1-6 1-2 3, Cydney Finberg 1-2 0-0 3, Ellie Johnson 3-4 2-2 9, Winter Kemppainen 6-10 3-7 15, Sydney Grilley 0-0 0-0 0, Peyton Kher 1-3 0-0 3, Miranda Livingston 1-2 0-0 2, Kiara Burlage 3-6 3-5 9, Allyson Gimble 1-1 1-1 3. Totals 17-38 10-17 47.
BUTTE CENTRAL (17-5)
Mollie Peoples 6-19 0-0 13, Sierra Pica 3-5 0-5 6, Emily St. Joh 5-10 0-0 10, Kate Ossello 0-0 1-1 1, Ryan Trudnowski 4-15 3-7 11, Kloie Thatcher 2-6 2-2 8, Shawnee Hjelt 0-0 0-0 0, Taylor Wahl 0-1 0-0 0, Megan Michelotti 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 28-57 6-15 49.
Columbia Falls          11        11        14        11 — 47
Butte Central            11        7          12        19 — 49

3-point goals — CF 3-12 (Cydney Finberg 1-2, Johnson 1-2, Kehr 1-2, Ciera Finberg 0-4, S. Burlage 0-1, K. Burlage 0-1), BC 3-11 (Thatcher 2-5, Peoples 1-5, St. John 0-1). Rebounds —

CF 34 (Kemppainen 6, K. Burlage 6), BC 33 (Trudnowski 10). Assists — CF 10 (Grilley 4), BC 8 (St. John 3, Thatcher 2). Steals — CF 2 (Ciera Finberg, Grilley), BC 10 (Thatcher 4, Peoples 3, Pica, St. John, Trudnowski). Blocks — CF 2 (Ciera Finberg, Gimbel), BC 1 (Peoples). Turnovers — CF 18, BC 8. Fouls — CF 16, BC 16. Fouled out — Kemppainen. Technicals — none.

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  • Alan Dale
    March 5, 2015, 9:18 pm

    No shocker. I called a semifinal appearance last year and I was able to watch these girls play online. Meg is so outstanding at coaching the game, the kids are tough as heck, and they have a nice combo of speed and grit.
    I haven’t seen the Rams, but I would not doubt this team. They are still two years away from being the best team in the entire state top to bottom, but the ride now is pretty awesome!
    Nice job ladies!

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