ANACONDA — When the Maroons get locked in, they look nearly unbeatable.
The Anaconda Copperheads found that out the hard way Tuesday night at the Snake Pit.
Butte Central outscored Anaconda 22-5 in the third quarter, and the Maroons rolled to a 68-39 victory over the Copperheads in a non-conference boys’ basketball game.
“When we were locked in, I thought we were good,” Butte Central coach Brodie Kelly said after his Maroons rolled their record to 13-1. “We just had a lot better defensive activity, getting a hand on the ball and getting some run outs. And our offense was clicking in the third.”
Per usually, that offense fed off the defense.
“That’s been for the last two weeks,” Kelly said. “Our defense has been leading to good offense.”
For much of the first half, though, the Copperheads (3-11) proved to be a pesky foe, and the game had the feel of a classic BC-Anaconda game. The lead changed hands six times in the first quarter.
“They played well and moved well, especially,” Kelly said of the Copperheads. “They ran a lot of action that was giving us some troubles. Guys were losing sight of their man a number of times and getting hung up on screens.”
Butte Central went with a different starting lineup, rolling out five seniors two nights before the Maroons host Frenchtown on Senior Night. That included usual starters Bryson Sestrich. and Drew Badovinac. Seniors Joseph Sehulster, George Riojas and Gage Guldseth also started.
Kelly said he went with the senior starting five because the players earned of the start.
“It was just a chance to get some minutes for some guys who deserve it,” the coach said.
Central used nine players in the first quarter, and that helped BC escape the first 8 minutes with a 16-13 lead.
A baseline 3-pointer by junior Eric Loos the lead for good at 13-11 with 2 minutes, 4 seconds left in the first quarter. Loos added a free throw, and sophomore Jake Keeley scored off a pass form junior Kyle Holter to make it 16-11.
Sophomore Cory Galley drove for a hoop to gut the lead to three points at the end of the quarter. He hit two free throws to pull the Copperheads to within 16-15.
That was as close as the Copperheads got.
Junior Dougie Peoples was fouled on a put back, and his two free throws started a slow 9-0 run over a 5-minute span that gave BC control.
Central led 34-21 at the half, and Maroons took over in the third. Sestrich scored BC’s first seven points as BC opened the frame with an 18-2 run.
Peoples, who did not have a field goal in the first half, also scored seven points in the third, and BC led 56-26 heading into the fourth.
Sestrich led three BC players in double figures with 15 points. He sank three 3-pointers. Peoples scored 13 points, and Badovinac tossed in 10 points.
In all, nine Maroons found the score book. Sophomore Zane Moodry tossed in eight points, Loss scored six, Guldseth and Holter tossed in five, and Keeley and Riojas each scored three.
Junior Riley Gelling also contributed for the Maroons
Cael Mikalotos scored off of his 12 points in the first half to lead the Copperheads. Cory Galle tossed in 12, while Gabe Galle and River Hurley each scored five. Anaconda also got two points apiece from Tanner Cromwell and Wade Dahood.
The game was the first of three this week for BC. The Maroons played three games last week, too.
After hosting Frenchtown in the key Southwestern A game Thursday, BC will head to Livingston on Saturday for a non-conference clash with the Rangers.
Kelly said he plans to start the five seniors again Thursday.
BUTTE CENTRAL (13-1) — Bryson Sestrich 6 0-0 15, Drew Badovinac 2 2-2 10, Joseph Sehulster 0 0-0 0, George Riojas 1 0-0 3, Gage Guldseth 2 1-2 5, Dougie Peoples 4 4-4 13, Kyle Holter 1 3-7 5, Eric Loos 2 1-5 6, Jack Keeley 1 1-2 3, Zane Moodry 3 2-4 8, Riley Gelling 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 14-26 68.
ANACONDA (3-11) — Gabe Galle 2 0-0 5, Cory Galle 4 3-3 11, Cael Mikalatos 5 0-0 12, Ryley Kriskovich 0 0-0 0, River Hurley2 0-0 5, Ryan Snow 0 0-0 0, Tanner Cromwell 1 0-0 2, Wade Dahood 0 2-2 2, Tytan Cook 0 2-2 2. Totals 14 7-9 39.
Butte Central 13 18 22 12 — 68
Anaconda 13 8 5 13 — 39
3-point goals — BC 8 (Sestrich 3, Badovinac 2, Peoples 1, Loos 1, Riojas 1), Anaconda 4 (Mikalots 2, G. Galle 1, Hurley 1). Fouls — BC 13, Anaconda 23. Fouled out — Hurley. Technicals — none.