High School SportsHigh School Boys Basketball


Annual crosstown game between Butte High, Butte Central unlikely to happen

Posted at 1:34 PM, Dec 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-23 20:28:57-05

BUTTE -- Butte High boys basketball coach Matt Luedtke experienced his first crosstown game against Butte Central last year.

"It's an awesome, tournament atmosphere," Luedtke said. "To have that many people and that much support is great. And it's at the Civic Center, which I think is the best venue for high school basketball in Montana."

Coaching his Bulldogs against the Maroons was memorable but that annual showdown, as of now, is unlikely to take place this season.

Class AA, which Butte High is a member of, is staying with its policy of no preseason and no non-conference games for the winter season in a continuation of its fall protocol that was approved by the Montana High School Association in August.

With Butte Central being a Class A program, the Bulldogs are precluded from adding the Maroons to their schedule.

"Everybody here is on board," said Luedtke. "But our hands are tied. I don't know if we'll be able to get around it. There's just no telling."

According to ButteSports.com, this would be the first time since 1918 that the Butte High and Central boys have gone a season without meeting and the first time since 1976 that the Bulldog and Maroon girls haven't played.

"Everything's different this year, and I'm not surprised," said Central boys coach Brodie Kelly. "I think everybody knows that these things are possibilities this year."

While Kelly isn't surprised, he's still disappointed, especially considering the crosstown game -- a contest which dates back to the heyday of Butte's copper mining history -- is one that both he and his daughter, Avery, have played in.

"It's a game that's really based on tradition," Kelly said. "I mean, a hundred-plus years of this game. It's a game that the community always gets excited about and I think that's what's most meaningful for the kids, the atmosphere that they get to experience that night."

During last year's crosstown games, the Butte High girls rolled to a 50-24 win while the Central boys held off the Bulldogs 72-66.

"They got the best of us last year," Luedtke said. "We were really looking forward to getting after it. I would have loved to get one in the win column against Central."

Senior post Jake Olson, who signed with Montana football earlier this month, knows that getting one final crack at his Maroon and Silver rivals is dim.

"It's all over town, everyone talks about it even after the game," said Olson. "It's really important."