By Derek Hendrickson
DILLON — The defending class A state champion Stevensville Yellowjackets knocked off the top ranked Dillon Beavers 62-59 to spoil senior parent night and hand the Beavers only their second loss of the season.
Tonight’s game was almost a complete reversal of the earlier contest in Stevensville between the schools. In that game Dillon trailed by as much as 20 points in the second half and 17 heading to the fourth before exploding for a 29-2 run to end the game in a ten point victory.
In this one Dillon led by 14 after 3 and an opening possession trifecta by Troy Scott but the Beavers up by the same 17 that they rallied from. From there on it was the Jared Schultz show, as the senior point guard poured in 13 of his 23 in the fourth, including back to back cold blooded threes that tied the game at 58 with two minutes to go.
After the Beavers failed to convert Stevensville milked the clock for over a minute until a blocking foul sent Schultz to the line for a one and one with 19 ticks remaining. He calmly swished both free throws to give the Yellowjackets their first lead since the opening quarter.
Dillon had several chances to answer, but they uncharacteristically missed 3 of 4 free throws. Junior Trae Williams drove the hoop and was hacked by future Montana Tech Oredigger Zac Gavlak, who fouled out on the play with five seconds remaining. Williams couldn’t convert on either of his free throws but Scott was there for an offensive rebound. The senior All-Stater missed on his first attempt as well before connecting on the second to make it 60-59.
Dillon fouled immediately and senior guard Chris Lords hit both of his charity tosses for the final margin of 62-59 and ended the scoring on a 26-9 final quarter for Stevensville.
The fourth quarter meltdown spoiled a monster game from Scott, who had a game high 32 on the night, including five threes. His last second free throw miss was the only one of the night on eight attempts. He also had 6 rebounds, a steal and huge third quarter blocked shot against Gavlak.
The game was physical from the start. The teams played an even first quarter, both putting in 11 points. Scott was sent to the bench midway through the quarter after taking a shot the throat.
Dillon put up the first eight points of the second as senior Brady Richardson connected from inside, Scott his first three and JD Ferris hit one from downtown as well. Stevensville dug in and played close for the rest of the quarter before Schultz hit a buzzer beating jump shot to send the teams to the locker room with the Beavers up 33-28.
Dillon appeared to grab control in the third, outscoring the Yellowjackets 17-8. Gavlak picked up two quick fouls, the second one in frustration after a strong defensive stop by the Beavers, and was forced to sit with over 4 minutes left in the quarter. Senior Chance Kluesner had all 5 of his points in the frame and a long possession to end the 3rd resulted in Richardson finding himself wide open from about five feet out for an easy two and a 50-36 lead.
The Beaver faithful seemed poised to celebrate a senior night victory and set up a chance at an undefeated season against class A opponents. Stevensville showed why they are still are a force to be reckoned with as they went on a quick 10-0 after Scott’s three to open the 4th. That run set up Schultz’s heroics and let the Southwestern A know that the two top dogs, Dillon and Butte Central, still have some competition.
Dillon will travel to Corvallis for its final regular season game on Saturday. Stevensville wrapped up the regular season portion of their schedule on Friday and will play a first round divisional game on Thursday vs. Hamilton which will likely set up a 3rd meeting against the Maroons on Friday evening.
STEVENSVILLE (11-7, 7-3)
Chris Lords 2 4-4 8, Christopher Bergman 1 0-0 2, Jace Omlid 2 2-5 7, Chance Coleman 2 0-0 5, Zach Gavlak 6 2-3 14, Jared Schultz 7 5-5 23, Bryce Torey 1 1-2 3. Totals 20 14-19 62
DILLON (15-2, 8-1)
Chance Kluesner 2 0-0 5, Trae Williams 5 0-2 11, JD Ferris 1 2-4 5, Troy Scott 10 7-8 32, Tanner Haverfield 1 0-0 2, Brady Richardson 2 0-0 4. Totals 21 9-16 59.
Stevensville 11 17 8 26 —62
Dillon 11 22 17 9 —59
3-point goals — Stevensville 6 (Schultz 4, Omlid, Coleman), Dillon 8 (Scott 5, Kluesner, Williams, Ferris). Turnovers — Stevensville 10, Dillon 12. Total Fouls —Stevenville 14, Dillon 20. Fouled Out — Gavlak.