Turnovers, Stevi end Butte Central girls’ season

By Bruce Sayler

The Butte Central girls were staring into the looking glass of their moment. They were in the while of a 34-20 loss to Stevensville at the Maroon Activities Center Thursday night with their only seniors, Mollie Drew, Kathryn Lalicker and Ali Stajcar, strung around the key on attack. Eighth-graders Kenzie McQueary and Zayonna Otherbull joined them on the outside – looking in, waiting for the ball, their turn.
“I can’t be more proud of Kathryn Lalicker, Mollie Drew and Ali Stajcar,” head coach Quinn Carter said of the seniors as their basketball careers ended on the beginnings of a Maroons rebuilding, cultivating the likes of McQueary and Otherbull as seedpods hoping to blossom into program success in years soon, very soon, to come. “I can’t be more proud of coaching them. They’re great people and they’ve been great with the younger girls, and a pleasure to coach.”
Stajcar and McQueary shared BC high-scoring honors in the low-scoring elimination game. Each tallied five points. Drew scored three, but also yanked down 12 rebounds, dished three assists and shared the lead in steals with Lalicker.
Lalicker, the emotional leader and most aggressive of the Maroons, playing consistently hard while packing a substantial brace on a knee from an ACL and repair that cost her parts of two years in athletics. Foul trouble greatly limited her time on the court in the finale and eventually sent her to the bench for good late in the game.
The game was a Western A Divisional play-in game. The winner, Stevensville, moves on to a Saturday elimination game at Corvallis with the winner advancing to the Western A tournament next week at the Butte Civic Center. The loss to Stevensville ended the Butte Central season at 2-17.
“Stevi played well and tonight was an off night for us,” Carter said.
The two BC wins came against the Yellowjackets in the regular season. Thursday, Stevensville was prepared and the Maroons had been together for practice only three days after a season of injuries and illnesses. The win was Stevi’s first after 15 losses.
Stevensville found its length advantage and stretched defense arms across passing lanes to disrupt the Butte Central sets in its halfcourt. Plus, the Yellowjackets’ pressure created steals and lit off their offense. It was much better coordinated than in earlier efforts.
The teams traded the baskets to start the game, senior Alexia Perez taking a pass from senior Haylie Tolley to the hoop for a 2-0 Stevi edge, then Drew scoring for the Maroons with an assist from 5-9 sophomore Arika Stajcar.
Stevensville broke the tie on a free throw by Holly St. Germain and BC was behind the rest of the way. The Yellowjackets outscored Stevensville 12-3 the rest of the quarter with sophomore Addie Drye coming off the bench to tally her team’s last seven points of the frame. She converted a steal for a layin, netted a jump shot from just inside the 3-point line and then, at the buzzer, dropped in a long-ranger for 3. A basket by McQueary and free throw by Drew amounted to Butte Central’s response.
Fifteen turnovers in the first half and 30 for the game sealed the Maroons’ fate. The Stevensville defense came up with 19 steals. Many became points.
A 3-pointer by Ali Stajcar was BC’s only tally in the second quarter and the gap was 22-8 at halftime.
“Fifteen turnovers in the first half, it’s tough,” Carter said, nodding her head grimly and in agreement.
The Yellowjackets had a 30-12 bulge going into the fourth quarter. Butte Central had come out for the second half with more intensity and aggression. However, the shooting was off and the fight failed to translate into points.
The fourth quarter was the Maroons’ best, but Stevensville was able to extend possessions and eat the clock with too much of a lead for BC to bridge in remaining time.
Carter lauded the play of Drew and the try in her players.
“Mollie was aggressive tonight,” she said. “We started to get things going in the middle of the fourth quarter, but it was too late. But, we didn’t quit. We showed some fight and battled to the end.
“Our younger kids will now make some commitments to work in the gym and we have a bright future ahead.”
Two sophomores, a freshman and three eighth-graders joined the three seniors as Maroons to play in the Thursday night game. The program rostered no juniors this season. Two more sophomores, a freshman and an eighth-grader were also on the varsity roster.
Drye’s 13 points led the Stevi win while senior Cheyenne Sannar was next-high with six. Six-foot senior Shiloh McLain Lampi pulled down 12 rebounds, blocked three shots and dealt two assists.
Arika Stajcar and Drew scored three points for BC to back the five each from Ali Stajcar and McQueary. Lalicker and sophomore Marley Mansanti netted two points apiece. Otherbull, 6-0 freshman Rylee Forbes and 5-8 eighth-grader Evyn Smith also saw time.
STEVENSVILLE (1-15) – Holly St. Germain 2-5 1-7 5, Cheyenne Sannar 2-7 2-2 6, Haylie Tolley 1-10 0-2 2, Shiloh McLain Lampi 2-7 0-0 4, Alexia Perez 2-6 0-0 4, Addi Drye 5-11 2-2 13, Emma McKoy 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-46 5-13 34.
BUTTE CENTRAL (2-17) – Kathryn Lalicker 1-9 0-0 2, Ali Stajcar 2-3 0-1 5, Kenzie McQueary 2-11 1-2 5, Arika Stajcar 1-9 0-0 3, Mollie Drew 1-5 1-4 3, Marley Mansanti 1-1 0-0 2, Zayonna Otherbull 0-2 0-0 0, Rylee Forbes 0-0 0-0 0, Evyn Smith 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 8-40 2-7 20.
Stevensville 14 8 8 4 – 34
Butte Central 5 3 4 8 – 20
3-point goals – Stevi 1-8 (Sannar 0-1, Tolley 0-4, Lampi 1, Drye 1-2), BC 2-20 (Lalicker 0-1, Ali Stajcar 1-2, McQueary 0-6, Arika Stajcar 1-8, Drew 0-1, Otherbull 0-2). Fouled out – Tolley, Lalicker. Total fouls – Stevi 16, BC 14. Technicals – none. Rebounds – Stevi 38 (Lampi 12, Perez 6), BC 34 (Drew 12, Lalicker 7, McQueary 6). Blocks – Stevi 3 (Lampi 3), BC 2 (Lalicker 1, Arika Stajcar 1). Assists – Stevi 6 (Lampi 2), BC 6 (Drew 3). Steals – Stevi 19 (Drye 6), BC 11 (Drew 3, Lalicker 3). Turnovers – Stevi 21, BC 30.