The Winter sports season is officially off and running for the Bulldogs of Butte High School. The Bulldog programs will return a lot of familiar faces to some unfamiliar settings. With the Civic Center being used for the filming of 1923, there has been a juggling of venues to accommodate all the activities.

The Mining City Duels are underway in both Butte High gyms, and the Bulldog boys’ basketball team will have their season-opening game at East Middle School, tonight at 6pm.

You know it’s game day because head coach Matt Luedtke was having his pregame meal at the Hanging 5 when I so rudely interrupted his biscuits and gravy.

I asked him about his returners first, and the importance of that leadership heading into the opener.

“From a practice standpoint, we have had two outstanding weeks of practice, everybody's familiar, everybody knows what they're doing and everybody's doing it at a high level.”

“When you're that sharp, you come into the season with everybody knowing what's going on, you can really start focusing more on winning, rather than focusing on how we're going to get them to start winning”

The starting lineup will have some very familiar faces, Seniors Cameron Gurnsey and Jace Stenson will again start for Coach Luedtke. Stenson was the Bulldogs leading scorer from a year ago, averaging 14 points a game, Gurnsey was the Bulldog’s 4th leading point-getter at 9 a game. Spots 2 and 3 on the scoring list from a year ago are the two graduated Seniors, Kenley Leary and Kooper Klobucar, so that leaves a few openings.

“I'm excited that we have Casey Merrifield and Kale McDonald, who are seniors this year, who didn't play last year. Casey played three games and then fractured his ankle. Kale tore his labrum during football season and needed surgery. Those guys would have been a starter and probably the first guy off the bench for us last year, so getting them back this year is a bid deal. Both will be in the starting lineup this year.

Senior Jonas Sherman and Junior Bo Demarais will both come off the bench to start the season, and both will play large parts in the Bulldog season, and their success.

That leaves the point guard spot, and something that we have been looking forward to for several years, Freshman Hudson Luedtke is a Bulldog. I asked Coach Luedtke if the separation between Dad and Coach was hard.

Every year I have been very lucky, I’ve had good point guards, I don't know if anybody remembers a kid named Tommy Mellott who did a pretty darn good job, then Billy Kelly and Kenley Leary obviously made one heck of an impact". "This year, I feel really fortunate to know that Hudson is going to be a really great point guard". "But, coaching wise, as far as him being my son, I like to think that we're beyond that, just because of all the time we have spent in the gym, I've spent more time in the gym with Hudson than anybody, and not just because he's my own kid, but because he is in there so much, he lives there."

“I really feel like we can be 10 deep this year”

The Butte High starters will include 4 Seniors and 1 Freshman. Your 4 Seniors: Jace Stenson- will be in the post, Cameron Gurnsey- will be at the 4, Kale McDonald- at the 3, Casey Merrifield will be at shooting guard, and running the point will be Freshman Hudson Luedtke.

As I mentioned earlier Junior Bo Demarais, and Senior Jonas Sherman will be the first off the bench. Sophomores Tocher Lee and Dylan Bache will both see time, along with Freshman Cayde Stajcar rounding out the Varsity bench.

Remember tonight's Varsity matchup will be in the East gym, starting at 6pm. #GoButte

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