Panther

It hasn’t happened much in Belgrade’s inaugural season as a Class AA program, but the team found itself very much still in the game in the second half Thursday night.

The Panthers trailed just 21-19 at halftime against Billings Senior in the Belgrade Special Events Center and were within striking distance midway through the third quarter. But the Broncs closed out the frame on an 11-0 run en route to a 53-37 Eastern AA win.

“We were in it and it was competitive,” Belgrade coach Mike Deming said. “Probably two and a half minutes left (in the game) they went stall ball, so I think that’s a compliment to our team that they pulled the air out of the ball with about two and a half minutes to go. Credit to them that they had a good enough lead that they could do that.”

Senior outscored the Panthers 21-8 in the third quarter led by Nick Eliason and Jackson Burckley, who combined for 14 points in the frame. The duo each finished with 16 points, while Junior Bergen had 18.

“Eliason really had a nice game against us. We just didn’t have an answer for him,” said Deming. “He was far and away the best player on their team. He rebounded the ball well and he was able to score it inside on us. He’s a really strong post player and we just didn’t have an answer for him.”

Tate Bowler led the Panthers with 15 points, while Cooper VanLuchene had nine.

“For us to be in a competitive game was fun. We had to execute,” said Deming. “They had the big run at the end of the third quarter, but other than that I thought it was a very competitive game.”

Friday the Panthers lost a conference game on the road to Billings Skyview. The Falcons boasted four players in double figures en route to a 70-37 victory.

“That’s a well-rounded team. They have two really good post players around them and really good shooters. It was a tough matchup for us tonight,” said Deming. “They showed their strength and athletic ability and out-rebounded us, and at times made the game pretty easy for themselves.”

Noel Reynolds and Kade Schlauch led the Panthers with 13 and 10 points, respectively.

“Hopefully we can take some things from over the last few days and move forward and continue to building on some things that we’re working on,” said Deming.

Billings Senior 53, Belgrade 37

Senior                           14  7  21  9  -  53

Belgrade                       13  6  8  10  -  37

BILLINGS SENIOR (5-6) - Junior Bergen 7 3-4 18, Nick Eliason 6 4-7 16, Morgan Harmon 0 0-0 0, Reece Connolly 1 0-0 3, Jackson Burckley 6 0-0 16, Liam Romei 0 0-0 0, Chazz Haws 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20 7-11 53.

BELGRADE (1-11) - Tate Bowler 7 0-4 15, Ta’Veus Randle 2 0-0 5, Cooper VanLuchene 4 0-0 9, Noel Reynolds 2 0-0 4, Wyatt Russell 0 0-0 0, Kade Schlauch 2 0-0 4. Totals: 17 0-5 37.

3-point goals: 6 (Burchlen 4, Bersen 1, Connolly 1), Bel 3 (Bowler 1, Randle 1, VanLuchene 1).

Billings Skyview 70, Belgrade 37

Belgrade                    6  13   5   13  -  37

Skyview                    18  15  19  18  -  70

BELGRADE (1-12) - Tate Bowler 1 1-2 3, Ta’Veus Randle 2 3-5 3, Austin Spangler 1 0-0 3, Cooper VanLuchene 0 0-0 0, Noel Reynolds 6 0-0 13, Wyatt Russell 0 0-0 0, Kade Schlauch 3 1-2 10, Sage Smart 0 0-0 0, Hunter Simon 0 0-0 0. Totals: 13 5-10 37.

BILLINGS SKYVIEW (9-4) - J. Mims 5 0-1 10, C. Chase 0 0-0 0, M. Davis 1 0-0 4, C. Ketchum 5 0-0 13, A. Seybart 1 0-0 2, S. Tramel 1 0-0 3, C. Merchat 0 0-0 0, T. Mosema 4 0-1 9, P. Sanders 4 1-1 12, K. Kouba 6 0-0 15, C. Allison 1 0-0 2, L. Johnson 1 0-0 2. Totals: 29 3-7 70.

3-point goals: Bel 6 (Schlauch 3, Randle 1, Spangler 1, Reynolds 1), BS 11 (Ketchum 3, Sanders 3, Kouba 3, Tramel 1, Morsema 1).