After battling the Capital Bruins on Thursday night, the Bulldogs of Butte High School will now ready themselves for another clash on Saturday, this time with the Helena High Bengals.

The Butte High boys were one bounce away from stealing a big win at Helena Capital, as Hudson Ludtke had his last-second shot in the key rim out, and the Bruins get the win 49-48.

The Dogs jumped out to an 11-point lead in the first half and led by nine at halftime. Capital’s defense buckled down hard in the second half allowing them to claw back in midway through the 4th. From there to the final whistle it was a scrap. Casey Merrifield hit some monster shots, Tocher Lee stroked a huge 3 with time running out, as the Dogs fought hard.

Butte High's Matt Luedtke attempts a jump shot against Missoula Sentinel Friday night at Ross J. Richardson gym. Photo: Tommy O/Townsquare Media
Butte High's Matt Luedtke attempts a jump shot against Missoula Sentinel at Ross J. Richardson gym. Photo: Tommy O/Townsquare Media

This might be one of those ‘good loses’ if such a thing exists.

The Bruins have controlled this series since the Dogs came back to the Western AA. Butte Highs’ effort was on point, and this loss could be a great step forward for the program.  Jace Stenson led the Dogs with 13, Merrifield with 4- 3 pointers good for 12, and Hudson Luedtke racked up 7 points. The Bulldogs are now 4-5 overall, and 3-3 in Western AA play.

The Butte High girl’s story isn’t much different, they truly might have had themselves a good loss as well.

Coach Bryan Arnston praised their effort on Thursday “The Girls played their hearts out. Lost focus on defense a few too many times and have to rebound it better.”

“Laura Rosenleaf was outstanding in her efforts. I thought she took a huge step forward tonight. I really believe we are headed in the right direction.”

Rosenleaf led the Dogs with 14 points and 9 rebounds (5 offensive), Brityn Stewart, and Emmarie Richards each netted 9 points in the 42-33 loss. The Butte High girls are now 1-8 overall, and 0-6 in Conference play.


That leads us to the only Western AA opponent we haven’t faced this year, Helena High School. On the girl’s side, the Bengals are coming off a 55-53 win over Sentinel on Thursday.  Helena was led by Senior Alex Bullock with 20 points Thursday, followed by Avery Kraft with 11. Those 2 ladies are their top scorers on the year as well, Bullock averaging 11 points and 9 rebounds a game. Avery Kraft comes in at 8 points a contest.

The Helena High boys are undefeated in conference, and only have one blemish on their overall record, a 58-55 loss at Billings Skyview back on December 16th. Since then they have won 7 in a row, including 6 straight in conference. On Thursday they outraced Sentinel 72-61, Jaxan Lieberg led the Bengals with 25 points, Cael Murgal had 14, and Dylan Christman finished with 11.

For Helena High, Lieberg averages 19 points a game, Tevin Wetzel comes in at 13, Colter Petre in double digits at 10, and Caleb Murgel clocks in with 9 points a contest. The Bengals average 59 points a game, and their defense is only allowing 49 a game.

The boy’s game is scheduled for a 3:30 start at Ross Richardson Gymnasium here in Butte. The Girl’s game is also scheduled for a 3:30 start in Helena.

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