Thatcher’s 14 assists leads Bulldogs in rout

Hattie Thatcher was clearly in the giving mood Friday night.

The Butte High senior dished out seven of her school-record 14 assists in the first quarter as Butte High coasted to a 66-20 non-conference victory over Missoula Hellgate at the Butte Civic Center.

“My team was there for the ball,” Thatcher said after breaking Kalli McCloskey’s record of 13 assists in a game. “I got it too them.”

McCloskey, a starter for Rocky Mountain College, was at the game watching her younger sister, Ashten, play for the Bulldogs.

After Natalee Faupel hit one of two free throws, Thatcher fed Carlie Haeffner and Faupel for easy buckets to ignite a Bulldog offense that looked unstoppable in the wire-to-wire win.

“She was having a great night. She had a lot of great passes,” Butte High coach Jeff Arntson said of Thatcher, a future Montana Tech Oredigger. “Those three-quarter court passes were unbelievable.”

The coach said Thatcher kick-started the Bulldogs.

“That made things easy,” Arntson said. “It got us playing well. Our intensity was good. Our energy level was good right from the start.”

Andy Hogan sank a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Butte High a 28-7 lead after the first quarter, and the Bulldogs opened the second with 19 straight points to make it 47-7.

“We played very good,” said Thatcher, who also scored five points and collected four steals. “Our shots just fell. Every shot we took just fell.”

The Bulldogs took a 48-11 lead into halftime, and the clock ran continuously because of the mercy rule in the second half.

Hellgate fell to 1-4, and the team is clearly in rebuilding mode with four sophomore starters.

Arntson, though, said Friday was more about how well the Bulldogs played.

“Our kids played very well tonight in all aspects,” the coach said. “We shot the ball well. We did a great job on dribble penetration. We got the kick outs. It was a good team win.”

Faupel scored a game-high 16 points in the win. Sammy McGree scored 13, while Hailey Hoagland scored 10.

Haeffner, who matched Hellgate’s Rachel Martens with a game-high nine rebounds, scored five points. So did Erika McLeod and Hogan. Mariah Richardson scored three points, and Kassidy Caprara and Maria Michelotti each netted two. Alli Metz, Lexi Murphy and Ashten McCloskey also contributed in the easy win.

Martens scored eight to lead the Knights.

The night wasn’t all good for Butte High, however. The Bulldogs potentially lost key contributor Bethany McLean for an extended period of time.

McLean went down with a high-ankle sprain during the junior varsity game.

Butte High, though, is off until Jan. 3 when the Bulldogs open Eastern AA play at Great Falls High.

MISSOULA HELLGATE (1-4) — Lexi Duce 1-6 0-0 2, Makayla Resner 1-4 1-4 3, Rachel Martens 4-8 0-0 8, Kara Hogan 0-3 1-2 1, Hydee Wilson 2-8 0-0 4, Claire Hinther 1-2 0-0 0, Haley Glassy 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 9-36 2-6 22.
BUTTE HIGH (4-1) — Hailey Hoagland 4-6 1-2 10, Natalee Faupel 5-10 3-4 16, Sammy McGree 5-11 2-2 13, Hattie Thatcher 1-6 3-4 5, Carlie Haeffner 2-4 1-6 5, Mariah Richardson 1-1 0-0 3, Alli Metz 0-0 0-0 0, Ashten McCloskey 0-0 0-0 0, Erika McLeod 2-3 0-0 5, Maria Michelotti 1-1 0-0 2, Andie Hogan 2-5 0-0 5, Lexi Muprhy 0-0 0-0 0, Kassidy Caprara 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 24-47 10-18 66.
Missoula Hellgate       7      4    5    4 — 22
Butte High                  28   20    9    9 — 66

3-point goals — Hellgate 0-0, Butte 8-14 (Faupel 3-5, Hogan 1-3, McLeod 1-2, Hogland 1-1, Richards 1-1, McGree 1-1, Thatcher 0-1). Rebounds — Hellgate 22 (Martins 9), Butte23 (Heaffner  9). Assists — Hellgate 3 (Resner, Glassy, Hogan), Butte 22 (Thatcher 14). Steals — Hellgate 3 (Glassy 2), Butte 12 (Thatcher 4). Blocks — Hellgate 0, Butte 2 (Hogan, Faupel). Turnovers — Hellgate 14, Butte 8. Fouls — Hellgate 14, Butte 10. Fouled out — none. Technicals — none.

The following photos were taken by Bret Graden. To buy high-quality copies of these photos or others by Graden, go to