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'He's a super tough kid': Butte High's Tocher Lee adds grit to Bulldogs roster

Posted at 4:25 PM, Feb 02, 2024

BUTTE — As a sophomore, Tocher Lee emerged as one of Butte High's up-and-coming 3-point shooters.

He drained 23 triples throughout the 2022-23 season and trailed only senior teammates Jace Stenson and Casey Merrifield in production from beyond the arc for the Bulldogs.

This season, the junior has so far racked up 16 3s, making him Butte's leading distance shooter and a top-15 3-point scorer in Class AA

He added four more treys to his collection in Butte's home win over Missoula Sentinel on Tuesday in the Bulldogs' last game at the Civic Center until the Western AA Divisional at the end of the month.

Despite his penchant for sniping in deep shots, Lee said he's been placing an emphasis on adding another weapon to his arsenal — driving to the hoop.

"Ever since I was little I was always the kid out shooting 3s," said Lee after a Bulldogs' win on Tuesday. "But I feel like I've changed my game a little big and I'm starting to get to the hoop more."

He's doing so despite being undersized at 5-foot-8. But if he can't win the height battle in the low post, he figures there are other areas where he can excel.

"You've just got to be smarter and you've got to work way harder than the people bigger than you," said Lee. "I never think of myself as too small."

Lee has played the entirety of his high school career under fifth-year coach Matt Luedtke, whose teams have advanced to the state tournament every season under his watch. For Luedtke, what sets Lee apart are the intangibles — grit and determination.

"He's a super tough kid," said Luedtke of his undersized but gritty shooting guard. "Obviously at his size he's got to be tough. He's a guy that you can't leave open and always competes and plays to win."

Lee's versatility helped the Bulldogs find success in their slate of regular season games at the Civic Center. The Bulldogs dropped just one conference game there to defending Class AA champion and undefeated Missoula Hellgate.

Butte will now play the remainder of its regular season home games at Ross J. Richardson Memorial Gym before returning to the Civic Center for the divisional tournament.

"Playing here is going to be awesome," said Lee. "It's going to be great for us to player here at divisionals. Hopefully we play on Saturday night to win it."