By Bruce Sayler
Brooke Badovinac almost led a Butte Central girls’ basketball improbable Thursday night. A torrid rally fell short, however, and East Helena held on for a 60-56 win over the Maroons in a Southwestern A Conference game played at the Maroon Activities Center (MAC).
The East Helena win seemed very likely when the Vigilantes held a 15-point, 45-30 command heading into the fourth quarter. Badovinac, honored in a pregame ceremony for joining the school’s 1,000-point club earlier this season, had scored only nine points through the first through frames.
At game’s end, she had 32. Her 23-point fourth quarter put a quiver into the East Helena fans’ boots and drew the BC girls to within 58-56 of the Vigilantes with 31 seconds still left in the game.
East Helena called a timeout after the Badovinac floater had cut the difference to two points. Belle Surginer had two chances to widen the Vigilantes’ lead, going to the foul line on two straight occastions. The second cost Butte Central Kathryn Lalicker as she fouled out. However, Surginer was unable to mesh either of the first shots on consecutive one-and-ones.
Badovinac gained control of the ball and was fouled on a drive with 10 seconds to go. She was unable to convince either free throw to go through the net, and Dymon Root rebounded for East Helena. She drew a foul from Ali Stajcar as the Maroons stopped the clock, hoping for another chance to catch the Vigilantes. Root sank both free throws with 8 seconds to go.
The BC girls quickly stormed downcourt, but the East Helena defenders avoided any contact with Badovinac and a desperation try, hoping for a four-point play, missed. Root rebounded and East Helena fans expelled their breaths.
“Gosh,” Butte Central head coach Quinn Carter said. “My girls fight hard. I’m asking them to give everything they have and they have.
“We put ourselves in a position to win and I am proud of our effort. We need to put a complete game together.”
The play of 5-foot-10 junior Mollie Drew was important to the near-win and her absence from the court for a short while in the second period was when East Helena established its lead. The Vigilantes had a 20-19 edge when Drew fouled Root for an and-one. It sent Drew to the bench with her third foul. Root netted the charity toss to start a 12-0 East Helena run on the way to a 34-21 halftime bulge.
Drew stayed in during the second half and finished the game with 16 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
“When Mollie was in foul trouble they got their big lead in the second quarter,” Carter said. “When Mollie is on, we’re a good team. Mollie is really starting to score well.”
The teams both streaked in the third quarter. East Helena shot out to a 20-point command, 43-23, in the first half of the frame with Brooke Harris’ 3-pointer being the big shot in the 9-2 run. The BC girls answered with a 7-2 spree, Drew scoring the last five points. It also cut the Vigilantes’ lead to the 45-30 difference and Badovinac canned a 3-pointer early in the fourth frame to start the Butte Central comeback.
The gap shrank to 52-50 on an 16-5 Maroons run. Baskets by Root and Montana Pierson pushed the East Helena margin to 56-50 with 2:21 to go, setting up the frantic final moments.
The return of junior point guard Kathryn Lalicker to the lineup after a year’s recovery from knee surgery has been of great help to the BC girls’ recent efforts. She converted three free throws, dished a team-high five assists and tied Badovinac for the team-high in steals with four Thursday night.
“It’s nice to have a veteran in the point guard position,” Carter said. “It also allows Arika (Stajcar) to get some shots on the wing, which is what we really want from Arika.”
Arika Stajcar finished with five points, and Maycee Anderson had eight rebounds and three steals.
Root led East Helena with 23 points and Harris tallied 10.
The Vigilantes squared their season record with the win, going to 6-6 including a 3-5 conference mark.
Butte Central, 1-11 and 0-8, will play at Corvallis on Saturday in another league counter.
EAST HELENA (6-6 3-5) – Natell Goodman 3-7 1-1 8, Montana Pierson 3-8 2-2 8, Belle Surginer 90-0 0-2 0, Dymon Root 7-16 8-10 23, Ella Pickett 3-6 2-2 9, Janelle Taylor 1-4 0-0 2, Teagan Wigen 0-1 0-0 0, Brooke Harris 4-10 0-0 10. Totals 21-52 13-17 60.
BUTTE CENTRAL (1-11, 0-8) – Kathryn Lalicker 0-4 3-4 3, Ali Stajcar 0-0 0-0 0, Maycee Anderson 0-2 0-2 0, Brooke Badovinac 9-23 12-18 32, Mollie Drew 3-6 10-13 16, Arika Stajcar 2-7 0-0 5. Totals 14-42 25-37 56.
East Helena 18 16 11 15 – 60
Butte Central 15 6 9 26 – 56
3-point goals – EH 5-21 (Goodman 1-4, Pierson 0-1, Root 1-4, Pickett 1-3, Wigen 0-1, Harris 2-8), BC 3-16 (Anderson 0-1, Badovinac 2-11, Arika Stajcar 1-4). Fouled out – Goodman, Lalicker. Total fouls – EH 25, BC 18. Technicals – none. Rebounds – EH 32 (Pierson 7, Root 7, Taylor 7), BC 31 (Drew 9, Anderson 7). Blocks – EH 2 (Pierson 1, Root 1), BC 2 (Anderson 1, Badovinac 1). Assists – EH 11 (Goodman 3), BC 13 (Lalicker 5, Badovinac 3, Anderson 3). Steals – EH 12 (Root 5, Goodman 4), BC 9 (Lalicker 4, Badovinac 4). Turnovers – EH 17, BC 15.
Bob LeiferJanuary 29, 2023, 2:30 pm
Why isn’t Ella Moodry playing for BC this year?REPLY