By Bill Foley
Callahan Hoffman says he really doesn’t like basketball all that much.
You would have never thought that Tuesday night.
The 6-foot-8 Dillon senior was nothing but smiles before, during and after the Southwest Montana All-Star Classic at the Montana Tech HPER Complex.
“That’s the most fun I’ve had in my life playing basketball,” said Hoffman, a future thrower on the Montana State track team.
Hoffman said that even after a loss. The Treasure State All-Stars beat his Treasure State All-Stars 123-120 in a game devoid of much defense but chock full of fun.
The game saw 31 made 3-pointers and a whole lot of dunks, including some from Callahan that you thought were going to bring down the rims.
The game also saw each team overcome a huge deficit before the Big Sky, which was wearing home uniforms, came out with the win.
Big Sky led 30-15 after the first quarter and took a 59-50 advantage into halftime. Treasure State led 91-88 after three quarters and started to open the game up before Big Sky stormed back.
The game saw 13 players reach double figures scoring, including eight on the Big Sky.
Butte High senior Kenley Leary led the Big Sky with 17 points. He sank four 3-pointers and tried a whole lot of razzle dazzle in the win.
Whitehall star Brandon Wagner scored 14 points, while Bulldog senior Kooper Klobucar Gurnsey and Butte Central junior Dougie Peoples each scored 13.
Playing in his first game as a Mining City sports legend just three-nights after his game-winning shot in the Class A State championship game in Missoula, Peoples was also smiling ear to ear all night long.
Taylor Hales of West Yellowstone, a small guard with bigtime skills, scored 12 points, and Butte High junior Cameron Gurnsey joined Whitehall’s Lane Wagner and West Yellowstone’s Zach Gould with 11 points.
Butte Central junior Kyle Holter scored eight points, including a dunk. Butte High junior Jace Stenson scored five points, and BC senior Bryson Sestrich joined Philipsburg’s Andrew Tallon with three.
Also, Butte Central junior Eric Loos scored two points. Kaiden Batzler of Sheridan played for Big Sky, too.
Hoffman’s 25 points paced Treasure State in the loss. Harrison’s Joe Cima jumped into the game from the alternate list to score 23 points.
Trent McMaster of Boulder scored 12, and Anaconda’s Cael Mikalatos and Dillon’s Connor Curnow each scored 11.
Also for Treasure State, Tyler Harrington of Boulder scored seven points, Conner Nye of Twin Bridges scored six, Martin Ore of Harrison and Jonathan Kirkley of Dillon each tossed in five, Brand Ostler off Ennis and Caden Hansen of Dillon each scored four, Kyle Homner of Harrison netted three, and Caleb Parke of Drummond finished with two.
The Classic is sponsored by the Butte Chamber of Commerce Hospitality Committee. It was played for the first time since 2019.
COVID-19 prevented the games from going on the last two years.
TREASURE STATE (120) — Connor Curnow 5 1-2 11, Jonathan Kirkley 1 2-2 5, Callahan Hoffman 12 0-0 15, Caden Hansen 2 0-0 4, Cael Mikalatos 2 2-2 11, Logan Nicholson 2 0-0 2, Martin Ore 2 0-0 5, Kyle Homner 1 0-0 3, Joe Cima 10 3-3 23, Caleb Parke 1 0-0 2, Brand Ostler 3 0-2 7, Trent McMaster 5 0-0 12, Tyler Harrington 4 0-0 12, 2 0-0 6.
BIG SKY (123) — Kenley Leary 7 0-0 17, Kooper Klobucar 5 1-1 13, Jace Stenson 2 0-0 5, Cameron Gurnsey 4 2-4 11, Dougie Peoples 5 0-0 13, Eric Loos 0 2-2 2, Bryson Sestrich 1 0-0 3, Kyler Holter 4 0-0 8, Lane Wagner 5 0-2 11, Brendan Wagner 5 0-0 14, Andrew Tallon 1 0-0 3, Kaiden Batzler 0 0-0 0, Zach Gould 5 0-0 11, Taylor Hayes 4 3-3 12.
Treasure State 15 35 39 29 — 120
Big Sky 30 29 29 35 — 123
3-poitn goals — TS 12 (Mikalatos 3, Nye 2, McMaster 2, Kirkley, Hoffman, Ore, Homner, Harrington), BS 19 (B. Wagner 4, Peoples 3, Leary 3, Klobucar 2, Stenson, Gurnsey, Sestrich, Tallon, Gould, Hayes.)