Park High Boys eliminated from State Tournament

Park High falls to Butte Central 51 – 56

Buddy Murphy, Senior Sports Editor

The Park High Rangers Boys Basketball team looks to continue their third place quest against the Butte Central Maroons. This game comes after the Rangers sent home the Frenchtown Broncs and the Maroons lost at the hands of the Hardin Bulldogs. The Rangers lost both meetings in the regular season. In Livingston, they lost by one point, and lost by 15 in Butte.

The game got off to a quick start with the teams exchanging three pointers. Morgan Rosberg caught fire early with three three pointers in the first quarter. Rosberg ended the quarter with 11 points. Cade Holter had seven for the Maroons at the end of the first. With all of the three pointers, the Maroons went into the second quarter with a 18 – 15 lead over the Rangers.

The second quarter got off with a VERY chippy start. A Cade Holter fastbreak ended with a, what looked to be a clean play, John Waddell foul. After the Ranger bench pleaded Waddell’s case, the coaches started chirping at each other, ultimately ending in the referees separating the two. With 2:36 left in the quarter, Park called a timeout after a Mcleod Versland three pointer. The Rangers trailed 22 – 27. With 1:30 left in the quarter, Mcleod Versland hits a three pointer to give the Rangers a 28 – 27 lead. Along with the aerial assault of three pointers, the Rangers had a problem with fouling. The Rangers would total ten fouls with a minute left in the quarter. The Maroons hit a last second shot going to put them up 29 – 28 at half. Morgan Rosberg would  only score three more in the quarter and end the half with 14 points. Cade Golter would score four more in the quarter and end the half with 11 points.

The Maroons jumped out to an early lead in the third quarter, only to have two three pointers from Brendon Johnson and John Waddell tie it up at 36 – 36 with 3:58 left in the quarter. Scoring was hard to come by in the third quarter with the two teams playing to a defensive stalemate. The score was stagnant at 36 – 36 for most of the quarter, including the end.

The Maroons would again jump out to an early lead in the fourth. A steal and fastbreak layup from Mcleod Versland would put the Rangers closer at 40 – 43 with 4:05 in the quarter. I tried writing this story as the game was going on, but as this quarter would prove, this game would become way too fast paced to keep up. With 1:00 left in the quarter, the Maroons led 46 – 43. With 44 second left in the game, Brendon Johnson would get the and 1 opportunity, and tie the game up at 46 – 46. The Maroons called a timeout with thirteen and a half seconds left. The Maroons had a chance at the buzzer, but ultimately missed the open layup. This game would go into overtime.

With sudden death looming for both teams, the Rangers readied up for the fifth period. With both teams in the bonus, this overtime period would start with a free throw back and forth. Park would call a timeout with 2:21 left in the quarter after the Maroons hit two free throws to take the lead 51 – 49. Dylan Sestrich for the Maroons would hit a three pointer with about an minute left, putting the Maroons up 54 -51. The Rangers couldn’t convert and found themselves down 56 – 51 with 10 seconds left.

The Rangers would end up falling to the Maroons 56 – 51 in overtime. The Rangers had three players in double figures, including Morgan Rosberg, Brendon Johnson and John Waddell with 16, 15 and 10, respectively. The Maroons Dylan Sestrich led the team with 14 points and Cade Holter also sprinkled in 13 of his own. With this loss to the Butte Central Maroons, the Park High Rangers are eliminated from the state tournament. Butte will play Hamilton in the consolation championship for third and fourth place.