BUTTE — Whether he's draining a walk-off, championship-sealing 3-pointer while facing double coverage or — as of last Saturday — etching his name in the record books as the single highest scoring varsity boys basketball player in the rich history of Butte, Dougie Peoples is eager to give credit right back to the people who surround him.
"I couldn't have gotten that without such an amazing team and coaches," Peoples said on Tuesday. "Almost all my success is because of my team and coaches."
With a 19-point outing during the Maroons 77-44 thumping of Livingston this past weekend, Peoples surpassed an 80-year-old mark of 1,404 points set by Central legend Joe Kelley, affectionately known as "Jumpin' Joe." The 1945 Central graduate passed away in 2009 at the age of 82 and was elected to the Montana High School Athletes’ Hall of Fame in 2013.
With his 13 points today, Butte Central’s Dougie Peoples has the most points by any varsity boy in Butte history. He passes Jumpin’ Joe Kelly, who scored 1,404 points in the 1940s. pic.twitter.com/5X2I4hjLMJ— Bill Foley (@Foles74) February 4, 2023
And with three regular season games remaining and what Peoples and Central hopes is another deep postseason run awaiting after that, Peoples will have the chance to push his record even further.
Peoples was aware that he was closing in on Kelley's record, but not closely enough to realize he was going to break it against the Rangers.
"I kind of knew I was close but I didn't know that it would be that game so it was kind of cool," Peoples said.
Sure, it's another notch on what has been an incredible high school basketball resume, but with the Western A tournament in Ronan rapidly approaching — where Central plans to lock up a berth to the State A tournament where they'll be looking to claim their third state championship in four years — Peoples and the one-loss Maroons are simply focused on what's ahead right now.
"Definitely we want to repeat as state champions again and win the divisional championship," Peoples said. "And to do that we gotta be focused and locked in at all times. And I think this team can do it."
Central will close out the regular season on Saturday at home against Hamilton. The Western A tournament begins on February 23.