Butte Central product and current Rocky Mountain College senior point guard Kloie Thatcher shook off a slow start to combine with fellow guard Gracee Lekvold for 25 points and the Battlin' Bears blew open a tight game at the half to defeat Montana Tech 59-42 in the Orediggers Frontier Conference opener Thursday night at Kelvin Sampson Court.  Thatcher was held scoreless in the first frame but found her shooting touch in the second to lead a balanced Rocky attack that got 13 from post Morgan Baird.

Montana Tech's Tavia Rooney blocks the shot of Rocky's McKenzie Dethman. Photo: Tommy O/Townsquare Media
Montana Tech's Tavia Rooney blocks the shot of Rocky's McKenzie Dethman. Photo: Tommy O/Townsquare Media


Although Rocky found momentum and control of the game in the third quarter, it was not without highlights from the Orediggers and first year head coach Jeff Graham.  Freshman forward Aubree Rademacher led the way with 13 and was followed by sharp shooting guard Madison Allen who added 11.  Tavia Rooney, the Orediggers all-time rebounding leader, finished with 7 boards and 2 blocks.  The night, however belonged to Thatcher and her crew, although Kloie briefly left the game in the 4th quarter with an ankle injury.  To the relief of Rocky and Butte Central fans in attendance, she would return with just over 2 minutes to play and didn't appear to be shaken.  Another highlight for the Maroon faithful was when future Oredigger Brooke Badovinac was introduced to her soon-to-be-homecourt fans at the HPER to a round of eager applause.  Badovinac announced her commitment to the Orediggers yesterday after becoming the Mining City's all-time single season scoring champion last year.

With the loss the Orediggers fall to 2-4 on the young season and will be back in action on the road Saturday as they travel to Dillon to take on the Montana-Western Bulldogs at 5pm.

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