Ball Control

Sophia Flikkema of Belgrade battles for the ball with Butte High’s McCaul McCarthy Thursday night at the Richardson Gym in Butte.

Belgrade got off to an early lead in its first game as a Class AA program Thursday night, but allowed a long run that proved costly.

Butte High scored 15 consecutive points to close out the first quarter en route to a 53-42 non-conference victory at Richardson Gym in Butte.

“It was a good start. They played the game at 100 percent, they played hard, they left it all on the floor,” first-year Belgrade coach Erin Nolte said. “Our defense was good. What killed us was the first quarter. We only scored three.”

The Panthers took a 2-0 lead on a bucket by Hazel Eaton and then led 3-2 after Naomi Reanier connected on a free throw. But Butte took a 17-3 lead into the second quarter.

Boxing Out

Naomi Reanier of Belgrade battles for rebounding position with Haley Herron of Butte High Thursday night at the Richardson Gym in Butte.

“The first quarter hurt us a little bit. We definitely had a lot of nerves. We got a young team,” said Nolte. “So they were incredibly nervous. Most of them have never played varsity before … it took them about 12 minutes to kind of settle down and figure out what to do.”

Following that tough start, however, the Panthers actually outscored Butte 39-36 over the final three quarters.

“We started figuring out their press. Their press kind of caught us off guard. Took a while for our point guards to kind of figure out their confidence issues,” said Nolte. “But once they got their confidence they started rolling.”

The Bulldogs (2-0), led by a game-high 16 points from MacKenzie Tutty, took a 25-15 lead into halftime. Tutty scored 12 of her points in the first half.

Belgrade was led by Sophia Flikkema, who finished with 12 points, while Reanier added eight.

The Panthers return to Butte Friday for another non-conference game against Butte Central.

Butte 53, Belgrade 42

Belgrade                     3  12  10  17  -  42

Butte                          17   8  14  14  -  53

BELGRADE (0-1) - MacKenzie Turner 2 0-0 4, Olivia Wegner 0 1-2 1, Emmery Blossom 0 1-2 1, Sarah Morris 1 0-1 2, McKenna Morris 1 0-0 3, Grace Garvert 2 0-0 5, Naomi Reanier 3 2-4 8, Hazel Eaton 1 1-4 3, Sophia Flikkema 6 0-0 12, Gracey Carter 1 1-4 3. Totals: 17 6-17 42.

BUTTE (2-0) - MacKenzie Tutty 5 4-8 16, Grace McGrath 2 0-0 5, Kadie Hoagland 1 0-0 3, McKenna Carpenter 2 3-4 8, Tylar Clary 1 1-2 3, Maddy Skeel 0 2-2 2, Brooke McGrath 0 1-2 1, Trisha Erickson 2 2-4 4, Haley Herron 1 2-2 4, McCaul McCarth 2 0-0 4, Maddie Rhodes 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 16-25 53.

3-point goals: Bel 2 (M. Morris 1, Garvert 1); But 5 (Tutty 2, G. McGrath 1, Hoagland 1, Carpenter 1).