GREAT FALLS – Butte Central claimed third place Saturday night at the State A boys basketball tournament at Pacific Steel & Recycling Four Seasons Arena, outlasting Hamilton in double overtime, 54-51.
The Maroons held a 44-37 lead with just more than a minute to play, but Hamilton came roaring back. The Broncs’ Camron Rothie got into the lane and finished, drawing a foul in the process. Rothie converted the three-point play to cut the deficit to four, 44-40. Following a steal, Hunter Omlid split a pair of free throws.
Hamilton then needed to foul Butte Central to extend the game. Central’s Dylan Sestrich stepped to the line, but he missed both attempts, giving Hamilton an opportunity to tie it. And the Broncs did so in dramatic fashion. Rothie split a pair of Central defenders at the top of the key and found Tyler Barnes wide open in the right corner, and Barnes buried the triple to tie it up. Cade Holter’s potential game-winner fell short, sending the game to overtime.
Hamilton scored the first four points of the first overtime, but Brayden Harrington brought Central within one, 48-47, with a 3-pointer with just more than two minutes left. Rothie, though, had an answer again. He split the defenders and finished it himself this time, putting the Broncs up two. Holter quickly answered to tie it once again, and Hamilton opted to hold the ball the final 1:27 to take the final shot. Hunter Omlid took a deep 3 as time expired, but it caught the front of the rim and bounced off, sending the game to a second overtime.
Harrington gave Central the lead with 1:45 to go. Rothie split a pair of free throws to trim the deficit back to one, 52-51. A pair of free throws by Gator Yelenich extended the Maroons’ advantage to 54-51. Following a miss by Hamilton, Luke Heaphy was fouled, but he missed both, giving Hamilton one more chance. With time winding down, Rothie dribbled to the right corner and launched a 3 to tie, but it caught the front of the rim as time expired, giving the Maroons the third-place trophy.
Harrington led Butte Central with 15 points, while Holter added 14. Omlid led Hamilton with 14 points. Rothie had 12 and Carson Rostad finished with 11.
Butte Central topped Livingston in overtime, 56-51, and Hamilton beat Browning, 74-62, in Saturday morning loser-out action to advance to the consolation game.
Stats: Butte Central 54, Hamilton 51
Saturday loser-out games
Stats: Butte Central 56, Livingston 51