The Butte Central girls’ basketball team regrouped from Thursday’s opening-round loss at the State Class A Championships and beat Laurel, 59-42, in a consolation quarterfinal game, Friday afternoon at the Butte Civic Center.

The Maroons looked more like their usual selves on Friday, with Emily St. John, Mollie Peoples and Kloie Thatcher leading the way.

St. John scored a game-high 20 points, while Peoples and Thatcher added 16 and 11, respectively. The trio combined for 20 points in Thursday’s loss to Havre.

The Maroons used a strong third quarter to distance themselves from The Locomotives. The teams were separated by six points at the half but a 21-8 third quarter by Central took the drama out of the end result.

Laurel also showed more balance in its offense in what turned out to be its season finale.

The Locomotives were once again led by Aspen Cotter, who scored 14 points, but she also got some offensive help from Rylee Clark, who finished with nine points.

Cotter scored 20 of the Locomotives’ 35 points in their Game 1 loss to Columbia Falls.

Corvallis 44, Hamilton 31

A Thursday-night game against a loaded Hardin team, coupled with a matinee showdown against conference rival Corvallis didn’t do any favors for the Hamilton girls’ basketball team.

The Broncs did their best to keep up with the Blue Devils but saw their season end with a 44-31 defeat in Friday’s consolation quarterfinals.

Both teams look out of sorts offensively, as evidenced by a third quarter in which only six points were scored.

But Corvallis had enough to add a Saturday game – and hopefully two – to its Saturday schedule.

“I think our girls were hungry to stay,” Corvallis coach Andy Knapp said after the win. “We had to go pack our rooms today and they’re happy that they get to go unpack their rooms.

“We have five seniors out there and they want to be here so bad. And they want to stay here. They’re not here to watch.”

Corvallis trailed just once in the contest after Hamilton scored on the game’s first basket but they took control from there and never looked back.

The Blue Devils weren’t at their best offensively – shooting just 30 percent from the floor – but they made their shots when it mattered the most.

Hamilton, on the other side, shot just 23 percent in the first half and 19 percent for the game.

“We struggled a little bit but we spent everything we had (Friday) night,” Broncs coach Mark Albert said. “I’m proud of them for that.

“It’s easy to go, ‘Well, we’re going to get beat by Hardin anyway so let’s kind of relax and save something.’

“They didn’t save a thing. It was a late game. They got to sleep at midnight.”

Hamilton trailed, 24-15 at halftime, and did a good job in holding Corvallis to four points in the third quarter. But the Broncs were unable to take advantage of that, netting just two points in the frame.

The Broncs had good looks throughout the second half but could not get the ball to go down.

“Corvallis deserved to be there but we just couldn’t get things going offensively,” Albert added. “We actually had some looks but we missed a ton of layups. We missed 10 points worth of layups.

“We made some nice plays which we just couldn’t translate to the scoreboard but their effort was awesome.”

The Blue Devils were led by Emma Warnken, who scored 10 points.

Likewise, Lauren Ryter netted 10 for the Broncs, and was one rebound shy of a double-double.


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