BUTTE — Trevyn Roth had a couple words to describe Butte High’s 61-57 overtime win over Butte Central, but the one he pointed to first was perseverance.
It’s a pretty apt description for the Bulldogs.
Up by three points after a Clay Ferguson three-point play with 2.8 seconds left, it looked like Butte was going to survive a furious Maroon comeback late in the fourth quarter. Then Central’s Cade Holter hit one of the most dramatic shots in the history of the series.
Sprinting down the left baseline, he launched a three-quarter court shot that found nothing but net to tie the game at 51 as the buzzer sounded. The Maroons bench jumped up in jubilation and onto the court.
There was disbelief on the other side
But there was also something else — four minutes left to decide the game. Much like the rest of the contest, Butte got up early and Central battled back. The Maroons were able to get it to within two points in the overtime period with under 30 seconds left after Aaron Richards hit three free throws following a foul behind the arc, but the Bulldogs were able to put it away at the free throw line.
“That was an incredible basketball game,” Butte head coach Luke Powers said. “It’s a shame someone had to lose.”
Central tied the game at 48 in regulation when Luke Heaphy hit a deep 3-pointer with 14.8 seconds left. The Maroons called timeout, got into their defensive set and nearly were able to hold off the Bulldogs. But Ferguson drove deep and was able to loft up the shot that also got him a foul call.
Butte opened overtime on a 4-0 run before Central was finally able to get a point when Braden Harrington split a pair of free throws at the 1:44 mark. Danny McCloskey — a former Butte Central Maroon — hit three times from the charity stripe over Butte’s next two possessions to put the lead at six.
Central’s Dylan Sestrich then brought it within two with a midrange jumper before the rest of the game came down (mostly) to free throw shooting. Butte hit 20-of-30 free throws on the day while the Maroons were 9-of-13 from the stripe.
“I think we all knew we were going to knock down free throws,” said Roth, who tied for a game high with 14 points. “We worked on them all week, we just stepped up to the line and put them in.”
For Central, the loss was an absolute gut punch. The Maroons were down by eight points in the middle of the fourth quarter after trailing 30-18 at halftime and fighting all the way back.
They spent quite a bit of time in the locker room following the game, but the general sense of the meeting was that there’s plenty ahead of them this season.
That’s not to say it didn’t sting a bit.
“Right now it’s a meaningless shot,” Holter said of his buzzer beater. “I mean, it’s cool, it’s a cool highlight, but I would rather have missed that shot and won the game.”
Holter finished with a team-high 14 points, while Dylan Sestrich added on 12, including three triples. Braden Harrington had two triples for the Maroons late in the fourth quarter and finished with nine.
Danny McCloskey had 14 for the Bulldogs, while Clay Ferguson (12) and Kash Kelly (11) were also in double digits.
Butte Central moves to 14-3 on the year, while Butte is now 3-11. The Maroons host Corvallis on Saturday and with a win will get a first-round bye in the Southwest A tournament.
“This one, it’s got a lot of great tradition behind it, but turning around this is the last thing on our mind,” Central head coach Brodie Kelly said. “We’re moving on.”