Orediggers overcome slow start, roll past Eagles

By Bill Foley

Montana Tech’s men’s basketball team had a hard time shaking the Northwest Indian College for about the first 12 minutes Sunday afternoon.

Then, the Orediggers flipped a switch, heated up and pulled away to a 99-66 non-conference victory at the HPER Complex. Stats

“We had a couple of aggressive plays on offense, became a little more vocal on defense, and we put together a run that gave us a comfortable lead,” Tech coach Adam Hiatt said. “Then we didn’t feel like we had the weight of the world on our shoulders.”

The teams traded the lead five times before Sadiq Inuwa scored on a put back to put the Orediggers up for good at 20-18.

It was an assist by Kale Guldseth, though, that really got the Orediggers rolling.

The sophomore and former Butte Central Maroon drove on the right side before kicking the ball inside with a pretty pass to Carson Dummer. The Helena Capital product finished the play that gave Tech a 27-23 lead with 8 minutes, 41 second left in a half.

That crowd-pleasing play sparked a 32-10 Oredigger run to close out half and give the Orediggers a 57-33 lead at the break.

After the break, the Orediggers settled into their game. Hiatt said his focus was on the Orediggers, not blowing out the Eagles like away like other Frontier Conference teams have done recently.

“I went into this game thinking perhaps we could utilize it to get better,” Hiatt said. “I felt like we accomplished what we wanted to do. I just would like us to have more urgency to start games.”

Inuwa and Dummer each scored 20 points to pace the Orediggers. Both posted a double-double. Dummer grabbed 12 rebounds, and Inuwa pulled down 10.

John Chapman added 13, while Lucas Vining tossed in 13 and Fleming Okeke netted 10. Guldseth scored eight and joined Champman with 18 points.

Also, Dylan Pannabecker scored six points, and junior Cale Jacobsen tossed in four points and dished two assists in his first game in five years.

Jacobsen, who lived in Butte as a young boy, is a tremendous against-the-odds story for the Orediggers. He tore his ACL while playing in the state tournament for Helena Capital during his junior season. After rushing back to play quarterback as a senior, he tore it again.

Jacobsen made the team with a one-practice tryout in the spring.

“He played terrific tonight,” Hiatt said. “In the minutes he gave us, he was great. He hasn’t played in five years.”

Jaloni Peppers scored 20 and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the Eagles. Angel King scored 14 points.

NWIC, which played Montana Western in Dillon on Friday and Saturday, only suited eight players.

The two teams will meet again Monday night at the HPER. The women’s-men’s doubleheader begins at 5:30.

Hiatt said his young team will again focus on getting better.

“We’re trying to figure out our rotations; we’re trying to figure out our identity,” Hiatt said. “We’ll get better every week. I’m looking forward to the growth of the team. It’s going to be an exciting player for us.”