It was a battle at the MAC Center in Butte for the Southwest A championship on Saturday. Stevensville and Butte Central matched up in front of a packed house to duke it out for the title. The two teams had split in the regular season. Butte Central was coming off of a triple overtime win over Dillon the night before but fatigue didn’t seem to be a factor. Every time Stevensville built a bit of an edge, the Maroons came right back at the ‘Jackets to keep in the game. Butte Central tied the game midway through the third quarter but a basket by Zach Gavlak put the ‘Jackets up for good and they went on to win, 55-45.
“I think I had the boys a little too tight,” said coach Keith Chambers when asked about the third quarter. “I take responsibility for that. When its something you want so bad, it’s a grind.”
Stevensville came out looking strong but by the break had a couple of players, Gavlak and Chris Lords in foul trouble. Gavlak sat out for a couple of minutes but still led the Yellowjackets in scoring with 21 points. Stevensville controlled the rebounding with 36 boards compared to 21 for Butte Central. Jesse Sims had 11 rebounds.
Gavlak fouled out at the 2:44 mark and with the team leading by only seven points. Butte Central’s Dalton Sessions hit a long two point shot to pull the Maroons within four points. But a charging call on Brady Tippett and then a technical on the Maroon bench turned the tide for good. Stevensville was in the double bonus situation when the technical occurred. That sent Jared Schultz to the line for two free throws for the foul and two more for the technical. Schultz sank all four shots with a little more than a minute remaining.
“The boys all played pretty inspired and that’s what it takes,” concluded Chambers.
Butte Central – Guldseth 6, Tippett 25, Ferriter 6, Peoples 3, Session 5.
Stevensville – Austin Lords 8, Kadin Beller 3, Zach Gavlak 21, Jesse Sims 12, Jared Schultz 11.
Stevensville had an opening round bye and then took on Anaconda in the second round. A 30 point second quarter opened the game up for the ‘Jackets and they went on to win, 66-55.
“Obviously you want to come out with a win and get success with the first game of the tournament,” said Chambers. “And with any game of the tournament. They looked like they were a little tight in the beginning.”
Most of the starters were on the bench by the middle of the third quarter. The second string players gained some valuable experience, although it wasn’t always pretty according to Chambers. Gavlak had 23 points to lead the ‘Jackets and Kadin Beller added 16.
Stevensville 66, Anaconda 55
Stevensville – A. Lords 2, Beller 16, Gavlak 23, Chris Lords 2, Sims 9, Jace Omlid 5, Christopher Bergman 1, Chance Coleman 7, Canyon Miwa-Vogan 1.
Anaconda – D. Stanberry 7, Green 1, Wagner 19, Stetzner 2, Fode 7, C. Stanberry 3, Dierenfeldt 2, Conrady 7, Forkan 2, Gallagher 5.
Hamilton opened against Anaconda on Thursday. It was a close game throughout until Anaconda pulled ahead to win, 42-39. Freshman Josh Heath finished with 14 points to lead the Broncs.
Hamilton then had to play Dillon in loser out action on Saturday morning. Dillon took an early lead but the Broncs came back in the fourth quarter to make it a game. Hamilton made some adjustments at half that put the Broncs back into the game.
“Their heads came up at halftime, after we got that first basket,” said Hamilton coach Toby Stack. “We’re always feeling we need about one more minute. We’re always a late starter.”
Kameron Kohn hit a trey to pull the Broncs within two points with less than a minute remaining. Dillon’s J.D. Ferris sank one of two free throws and then Boyd Jenne hit another free throw to put Dillon up by five. However Kohn, who Stack says is a little undersized but plays with a lot of heart, had one more long shot in him and he sank that with 12 seconds remaining. Hamilton had to foul and Ferris sank the two shots to give Dillon the 47-43 win.
“Every game this year the kids have fought to the final buzzer. The future is bright for the Hamilton team. I feel honored to coach them,” concluded Stack.
Kohn finished with 14 points. Teague Blome had 10 and Jesse Bartels finished with eight points.
Corvallis opened against Butte Central. The Blue Devils struggled in the first half and couldn’t overcome a 13-point deficit. Butte Central won, 50-27. Chase Walker had 10 points to lead the Blue Devils.
Corvallis then had to take on Anaconda in loser out action. The two teams played neck and neck with the Blue Devils taking a two-point lead into the break. However they went cold in the third and couldn’t hold on to the lead. Anaconda won, 61-51. Jayce Gilder and Chaney Waldo each had 11 points.