The ‘X’ has been removed from the backs of the Stevensville Yellowjackets. Although they are still at the top of the Southwest A conference, there is now a mark in the loss column. The ‘Jackets lost to Butte Central in Stevensville on Saturday, 63-54.
The Butte Central team came out focused and ready to play and shoot the basketball. They shot well in the first quarter and had seven points on the scoreboard before Stevensville answered with a basket by Jared Schultz at the 3:18 mark in the first quarter. Stevensville opened up a little and began executing their plays but the Maroons ran a complex screen play that opened up the court for different players to shoot.
“First of all, congratulations to them. They came out and they were ready to play. I thought that was the flattest we’ve come out,” said coach Keith Chambers. “The big thing is, I don’t know if we matched their intensity on the offensive end and that was kind of disappointing.”
Stevensville rallied in the second quarter. Zach Gavlak and Jesse Sims each hit a basket from inside the paint and then Josh Schultz nailed a three pointer to give them a little momentum. As the clock ticked towards the half time buzzer, Stevensville kept passing the ball around for almost 50 seconds before Josh Schultz hit a basket at nine second to tie the score at 26 all.
Stevensville again spotted Butte Central several points in the third quarter and then had to play catch up. Chambers said his team didn’t get up on the shooters and contest their shots very well. Rebounding was also a concern for Chambers and he said the team was working on that aspect of the game plan.
Stevensville trialed by five points at the end of three quarters but when Zach Gavlak picked up his fourth foul and Austin Kelling was nailed with a charging foul, the Maroons moved farther ahead. Stevensville had another chance at the three minute mark of the fourth quarter when Tyler Gavlak sank a long trey to pull the ‘Jackets within three points but they couldn’t get any closer.
“It’s like I told the boys,” concluded Chambers. “It’s better now rather than on down the road. We can learn from it and go on from there. It wasn’t one person, you win as a team and you lose as a team. It took all of us to get there.”
Josh Schultz had 19 points to lead the ‘Jackets. Brother Jared added 12 and Tyler Gavlak had 10. Stevensville is still at the top of the conference with a record of 4-1 in league play and 9-1 overall.
Butte Central 63, Stevensville 54.
Butte Central – Keegan McCarthy 17, Colin Hollow 26, Zach Kasperick 4, Jake Simkins 4, Brady Tippett 12.
Stevensville – Jared Schultz 12, Zach Gavlak 4, Jesse Sims 5, Josh Schultz 19, Tyler Gavlak 10, Austin Kelling 2, Austin Lords 2.
While the Stevensville boys were playing battling Butte Central in Stevensville, the Lady Yellowjackets were at the MAC in Butte, taking on the defending state champions, Butte Central. It was a battle between the No. 1 ranked team, Butte Central, and the No. 2 team in the state.
Stevensville jumped out to an early lead and had the Maroons doubled at the end of the first quarter, 18-9. While Stevensville was playing tough ball, Butte Central wasn’t about to quit. By the end of three quarters, the game was tied at 47. The Lady ‘Jackets went on to win, 66-62. They were led by Kyla Paulsen’s 26 points. Alycia Sims added 17 points and Baylee Bergman had nine points. Stevensville is now 4-1 in conference play and 8-2 overall. Butte Central still has the conference lead with a 5-1 record.
Stevensville 66, Butte Central 62
Stevensville – Bailey Vercruyssen 3, Alycia Sims 17, Kayla Paulsen 26, Britney Chilcott 4, Kayla Peterson 5, Baylee Bergman 9, Carly Vercruyssen 2.
Butte Central – Kacie McKeon 22, Brynne Kambich 11, Danee Leary 7, Alysea Pica 6, Mariah Cooney 7, Danika Neumann 5, Hannah Stajcar 2, Carlee Norbeck 2.