Hellgate survives furious Butte rally, holds on for win
For a game that ultimately went down as a mark in the loss column, Butte High Bulldog basketball fans had to be feeling optimistic after Missoula Hellgate's 56-43 win at the Butte Civic Center Thursday evening. The Knights, after all, are the defending Class AA champions and extremely well-coached. To beat them you have to play your best game and for three quarters the Bulldogs simply didn't. After leading by 22 late in the third quarter, Hellgate took a 45-27 lead at the end of the quarter. And then something clicked for Butte.
Senior forward Rueso Batterman, junior guard Colton Shea and freshman forward Braylon Larson started making plays , getting rebounds and hitting buckets. A Larson jumper would start the Bulldog scoring in the fourth and after a bucket by Hellgate's Luke Hoppe, the Dogs would go on a 9-0 run behind a pair of treys from Shea and an incredible layup off of a no-look pass from guard Hudson Luedtke to Batterman. The Bulldogs would cut the Hellgate lead to 6 at 47-41, but behind a bucket and a pair of free-throws from junior guard Chance McNulty, the Knights would extend their lead to 9 with 1:30 to play and ultimately hang on for a 56-43 win in the Western AA opener for both programs.
Batterman would lead the Bulldogs in scoring with 10 and was joined in double-digits by Hellgate guard Easton Sant who led all scorers with 12, McNulty and forward Zane Gillhouse would add 10 apiece for Hellgate while Butte would get 7 from Luedke and 6 apiece from Larson and Shea.
The Bulldogs (3-3, 0-1) will jump right back into Western AA conference play this Saturday at Missoula Sentinel.
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Gallery Credit: Nick Northern
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