Maroons edge Yellowjackets in OT

Court was in Sessions for Butte Central Saturday at the Maroon Activities Center.

Six-foot-one sophomore Dalton Sessions came off the bench to score the go-ahead three-point basket and the clinching free throw as the Maroons upended second-ranked Stevensville 51-47 in overtime in an important Southwestern A Conference boys’ basketball game.

Sessions finished with 10 points to bolster the starring role played by senior guard Brady Tippett, 23 points, and tremendous defense led by Nate Bolstad and Connor McGree. Bolstad also registered 12 points, eight rebounds and two blocks.

Sessions snapped a 45-all deadlock with his swisher from the deep corner off a pass from Tippett with 50 seconds left in the extra period. Jared Schultz converted two free throws on the other end with 36 seconds to play before Tippett drained a couple of foul shots, himself, at the 18-second mark.

Austin Lords then cast off a 3-point try for the Yellowjackets, and missed. Sessions rebounded, drawing a foul from Kadin Beller. Shooting in the double bonus from the charity stripe, Sessions missed on the first attempt.

However, the second sifted through the net for a four-point Butte Central lead with six seconds on the clock.

Stevensville was unable to score in response.

“It was a perfect pass from Brady and I was wide-open,” Sessions said about the set-up for his big basket, a shot, he said, he doesn’t usually make in practice. “The free throw was more pressure. When I missed the first one, I felt the pressure that I had to make the second one.”

The Yellowjackets were shackled much of the game. Zach Gavlak fouled in the third quarter, and another 6-4 star, Jesse Sims, was limited to eight points by McGree. The limits on Sims included allowing him just three shots from the field and McGree screening him away so effectively the Stevi standout was able to snare only three rebounds.

BC head coach Brodie Kelly said the defensive plan included keeping the ball out of Sims’ hands.

“It was an awesome game,” Kelly said. “I couldn’t be prouder of our guys. We’d been having trouble in the fourth quarter in recent games getting over the hump. We’ve played a lot games in the last couple of years that were really close and we hadn’t quite gotten there. Today, we got over that hump and I’m really glad to see it.

“In other games, we’d been getting stops in the fourth quarter. The difference today was we were getting to the free throw line. Brady deserves a lot of credit for that.”

Tippett attacked the key fiercely throughout the contest driving of dishing for Maroon scoring chances. He played aggressive offense with a lot of responsibility, while also sinking all seven of his attempts from the foul line.

“I thought he did a great job and was really a leader for us,” Kelly praised. “And, we asked him to do a lot for us today.”

Tippett scored BC’s first seven points on his way to his game-high 23.

Despite Tippett’s quick start, Stevensville raced to a 16-9 first-quarter lead by not missing any of its first five field goal tries. Jared Schultz, who wound up with a team-high 17 points, tallied six in the opening period.

Butte Central, though, recovered and outscored the Yellowjackets 16-2 in the second frame to hold a 25-18 halftime advantage. Sessions and Tippett combined for 11 of the points. The team closed the half on an 11-0 spree seemingly sparked by a technical foul assessed by foul-plagued Kale Guldseth for his reaction to a call.

Stevensville had defeated the Maroons 62-61 last month in Stevensville and recently prevailed against Class AA Missoula schools Big Sky and Sentinel. So, the Yellowjackets were expected to be quite a handful and lived up to the expectation, going ahead 36-30 by the end of the third quarter, using a 10-0 run to close the period.

Treys by Austin Lords and Schultz fueled the surge.

Bolstad and Tippett combined for the first five points of the fourth frame to draw BC to within 38-37 of the lead. Lords answered with a pair of freebies, but eventually the score was knotted at 40-all on a free throw by Butte Central’s Marcus Ferriter with 1:27 left in regulation time.

Schultz broke the tie with two free throws as 46 seconds showed. Ferriter re-knotted the count as he dumped a pretty feed from Tippett through the hoop. Twenty-eight seconds were still to tick off when the Yellowjackets took possession and ran time down toward expiration. A Schultz 3-point launch missed and players scrapped for the rebound as the lights blinked to zeroes and brought on overtime.

“Connor McGree’s defense on Sims was awesome,” Kelly said. “He works so hard. And then Nate Bolstad’s defense on Schultz late in the game was huge, too.”

The loss of Guldseth to foul-out forced the 6-4 Bolstad to share guard play with Tippett and Danny Peoples.

“He has the ability, and he’s long, too,” Kelly said of Bolstad’s defensive prowess.

The biggest smiles on the team, though, seemed saved for Sessions, who has been earning more and more playing time as the season proceeds.

“I’m just really proud of him,” Kelly said of Sessions and his heroics. “He just caught it and shot it.”

Ferriter and Peoples had three points each for Butte Central, and Emmett McCarthy also delivered key minutes as the Maroons raised their records to 4-2 in conference and 8-4 overall, heading into a league counter at Hamilton next Saturday.

The loss was Stevensville’s first in six Southwestern A games this season. The Yellowjackets are 10-2 overall.

STEVENSVILLE (10-2, 5-1) — Austin Lords 5-11 3-3 15, Kadin Beller 0-5 0-0 0, Zach Gavlak 1-1 3-4 5, Jesse Sims 1-3 6-6 8, Jared Schultz 4-16 6-0 17, Chris Lords 1-2 0-0 2, Canyon Miwa-Vogan 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 12-38 18-22 47.
BUTTE CENTRAL (8-4, 4-2) — Kale Guldseth 0-4 0-0 0, Connor McGree 0-0 0-0 0, Brady Tippett 7-12 7-7 23, Marcus Ferriter 1-6 1-4 3, Nate Bolstad 4-7 2-3 12, Danny Peoples 1-3 1-3 3, Emmett McCarthy 0-3 0-1 0, Dalton Sessions 2-3 5-6 10. Totals 15-38 16-24 51.
Stevensville              16           2          18           6          5  —  47
Butte Central              9          16           5          12         9  —  51
3-point goals  —  Stevi  5-19 (A. Lords 2-5, Beller 0-4, Schultz 3-9, C. Lords 0-1), BC 5-16 (Guldseth 0-3, Tippett 2-6, Bolstad 2-4, Peoples 0-2, Sessions 1-1). Fouled out — Gavlak,  C. Lords, Guldseth. Total fouls— Stevi 25, BC 19. Technical — Guldseth. Rebounds — Stevi 29 (Beller 7), BC 27 (Bolstad 8). Blocks — Stevi 1 (A. Lords), BC 2 (Bolstad 2). Assists — Stevi 10 (Gavlak 3), BC 7 (Guldseth 3). Steals — Stevi 8 (C. Lords 3), BC 7 (Bolstad 2). Turnovers — Stevi 17, BC 13.