Maroons top Havre, will face Browning

In the moments following Butte Central’s upset loss to Browning in Thursday Class A State tournament opener, Mariah Cooney defiantly declared that her high school basketball career would not end with a loss.

Cooney apparently meant what she said.

The 6-foot Butte Central senior scored 15 points and pulled down a career-high 19 rebounds today to lead the Maroons (18-5) to a 51-37 win over Havre in a loser-out game at the Butte Civic Center.

That set up a rematch with the Indians in tonight’s 6:30 consolation game where possession of the third-place trophy is on the line.

“I don’t want to end our season,” said Cooney, who also blocked three shots in the win. “I want to set an example for our younger girls. Things didn’t go our way on Thursday, but we are not a team that is just going to lay down and die. We want to show what we’re made of.”

Fellow senior Alysea Pica also set an example Saturday. The guard scored 15 of her game-high 18 points in the second half to help make sure that her birthday is a busy one.

The 18 points was a career high for Pica.

“It’s her birthday,” Cooney said. “She’s 18 and she had 18 points? Right on.”

Seniors Danika Neumann and Hannah Stajcar chipped in with eight and seven points, respectively. Senior Aleesha LaBreche scored two, while junior Chandra McCurdy tossed in one.

Senior Annie Ossello, junior Shelby Paffhausen and freshman Shawnee Hjelt also contributed to the BC victory, which was secured by a 10-2 run in the final 3 minutes, 7 seconds of the fourth quarter.

Peyton Filius scored 12 points to lead the Central A champion Blue Ponies, who close the season at 14-9. Morgan Mazurkiewicz scored 10 points, while Brandy Lambourne tossed in 10 points.

Havre, which fell to Laurel in the late semifinal game Friday, found itself in a 7-0 hole. The Ponies, though, kept battling.

A put back by Tori Mazurkiewicz and a drive by Lambourne as time expired pulled Havre to within 19-18 at halftime.

Havre took a 21-18 lead when Filius sank a baseline 3-pointer 23 seconds into the second half.

That was the last Havre lead of the day, though. That was also when Pica took off, hitting back-to-back buckets for a 23-21 lead.

Morgan Mazurkiewicz tied at 23 before Cooney took a Pica pass to start a 6-0 run that put the Maroons up for good.

BC led 31-27 after three quarters, and BC put the game away with 20 points in the fourth quarter. Stajcar got it all started by banking in a 3-pointer.

Thursday it was the Indians who got those kind of shots to fall, avenging a 72-52 loss to BC in the season opener.

Tonight, Cooney said the Maroons are ready to win the rubber match.

“Everybody’s tough at State. You have to show up to play, and we didn’t show up on Thursday,” Cooney said. “I think Browning is a good team. But we didn’t play as well as we should have on Thursday, and we have some things to prove.”

Cooney said the recipe for success is simple. The Maroons can’t let the Indians win the battle of the boards like they did on Thursday.

“We’re going to rebound,” Cooney said. “What, did we give up 19 offensive boards against Browning? We are not going to do that. We’re going to rebound, box out and finish.”

Complete stats

BUTTE CENTRAL (18-5) — Hannah Stojcar 2 2-4 7, Mariah Cooney 5 5-6 15, Alysea Pica 4 10-16 18, Annie Ossello 0 0-0 0, Danika Neumann 3 2-4 8, Chandra McCurdy 0 1-2 1, Shelby Paffhausen 0 0-0 0, Shawnee Hjelt 0 0-0 0, Aleesha LaBreche 1 0-0 2. Totals 15 20-32 51.
HAVRE (14-9) — Brandy Lambourne 2 6-6 10, Peyton Filius 4 2-2 12, Morgan Mazurkiewicz 4 0-0 11, Lacey Ward 0 2-4 2, Neya Bischoff 0 0-3 0, Tori Mazurkiewicz 1 0-0 2, Haley Ohm 0 0-0 0, Dani Wagner 0 0-0 0. Totals 7 3-7 21.
Butte Central             10    9   12   20 — 51
Havre                            7   11    9   10 — 37
3-point goals — BCl 1-4 (Stajcar 1-1), Havre 5-21 (M. Mazurkiewicz 3-10, Filius 2-6). Rebounds — BC 42 (Cooney 19), Havre 27 (Waid 7). Assists — BC 3 (Pica, Ossello, Cooney 1), Havre 6 (M. Mazurkiewicz 4); Blocks —BC 4 (Cooney 3, McCurdy), Havre 1 (Bischoff 1). Steals — BC 5 (Neumann 2), Havre 8 (Lambourne 2, Waid 2, Bischoff 2). Fouls — BC 15, Havre 22. Fouled Out — Waid. Turnovers — BC 18, Havre 12.