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Butte Central's Matt Simkins throws a pass around Stevensville's Kaleb Behner.

Jordan Hansen 406mtsports.com

BUTTE — Despite a 52-46 win over Stevensville, Butte Central boys basketball head coach Brodie Kelly was not happy with his team’s performance during its Saturday afternoon tilt.

The Maroons remain undefeated on the season, but allowed the Yellowjackets to make things uncomfortable late in the game.

“The reality is that today we got outworked and that’s not something you ever want to accept, ever,” Kelly said. “The players shouldn’t accept it, the coaches shouldn’t accept it. They played harder than us and they wanted it more than us.

“The only silver lining I can honestly take from today’s game is that we can learn some things in a win. Usually you have to lose a game to take some stuff away.”

Up by 14 points midway through the fourth quarter, Central seemed set to cruise to a victory in a game it had controlled for most of the way.

Then Stevensville’s Logan Roth caught fire.

He made five 3-point shots in the final quarter of the game as the Yellowjackets trailed by just four points with under two minutes to play. Roth finished with 17 total points, 15 of which came in the final two quarters.

“I didn’t shoot much in the first half and I said, ‘I can shoot and I’m going to shoot and get us back in the game,”’ Roth said. “I think we were just slowing down, we got to our offense and we got some stops and I just shot the ball.”

The Maroons certainly were a bit sloppy late in the game and struggled to get good offensive looks during the final few minutes of the game. Central had just three made field goals in the fourth quarter.

“We were just trying to put ourselves in a position in those last few minutes to be in the basketball game,” Stevensville head coach Tony Anderson said. “They responded very well.”

While the Maroons certainly were struggling, the Yellowjackets never got the game to a single possession. Central’s free-throw shooting was part of the reason and they hit 12-of-16 shots. Over its past two games, it’s converted 29-of-40 shots from the charity stripe.

“We did take care of the ball pretty well down the stretch and we made free throws, which really helped ice the game at the end,” Kelly said. “It was just those effort plays that they were able to beat us on.”

Aaron Richards was again strong for the Maroons and hit a late two point shot that helped seal the win for his team. He finished with seven points.

“I’m happy we got the win, but we played awful,” Richards said. “We can’t play like this if we want to keep winning. Stevensville really came to play today, I’ll give it all to them. They came out and played hard, we just didn’t have good effort today. We need to fix that.”

The Maroons were able to find some outside shooting and hit four three-point shots – one more than they had made in the previous two games combined.

Dan McCloskey led Central with 16 points, half of which came in the final frame.

“Our guys weren’t real thrilled coming out of the locker room,” Kelly said. “They know we’re not evaluating ourselves on wins and losses, but how we achieve our potential.”

Jordan Hansen covers prep and Frontier Conference sports for the Montana Standard. Shoot him an email at Jordan.Hansen@406mtsports.com or give him a shout on Twitter @jordyhansen.

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