BUTTE — If there’s one thing Butte Central head coach Meg Murphy would like to see from her team as the season starts to wind toward the postseason, its consistency.
It's also been hard for her team to find though as injuries and illness have hampered the Maroons, with their play not quite as cohesive as they would like.
How the team plays in different halves and quarters of the game can vary to some degree, though Central — who moved to 12-4 (6-3) with a 52-31 win over Livingston in non-conference action on Saturday evening — has been come out on top most of the time. The Maroons have won two-straight games and six of their last seven.
“We need to be able to put 32 minutes together and not have mental lapses,” Murphy said. “But I like where we’re at and we’re starting to move forward.”
However, the injury and sickness bug has been hard at work.
Kailee Murphy is still working her way back from an injury and Bella Sorini — who hasn’t played in a game this season — has a chance to play next week. Meanwhile, star post player Megan Michelotti has been battling the flu and a cold for weeks, while guard Olivia Bolton has also been sick.
Getting Michelotti to full health will be important. The Maroons don’t exactly have a plethora of depth in the post and as the team’s leading rebounder (7.6 per game) and second-leading scorer (10.9 ppg), she’s a necessary part of the offense.
“My grandma has been loading me up with every kind of medicine,” Michelotti said. “I’m feeling a bit better.”
Against the Rangers, she looked fine and led all scorers with 19 points, including 10 in the second quarter alone. Her chemistry with fellow senior and Rocky Mountain College signee Kloie Thatcher is obvious.
There are no-look interior passes and flashy lobs directed towards Michelotti from Thatcher. Their chemistry is pretty obvious, though it’s not just the solid post and crafty point guard. Junior guard Tricia Joyce scored 14 points against Livingston, including a pair of back-to-back three pointers early in the game to set the tone.
Despite some of the misfortune that’s befallen the team this year, there’s a strong sense that everyone and everything is starting to click.
“We’re feeling pretty good right now,” Michelotti said. “Meg just told us to play for the little girl who fell in love with basketball in each and every one of us.
“We’ve just been playing for her, individually.”
Central seems to be rolling and will be a tough out at the divisional tournament. Over their past seven games, the Maroons are allowing just 34.4 points per contest.
The Rangers were able to keep things close in the first half, however, and trailed by just four points at halftime. There were periods of bad shot selection and unforced turnovers by Central that allowed Livingston to stay in the game.
The Maroons allowed just 10 points in the final two quarters to suck the life out of the Rangers and found the consistency they were searching for.
“They turned up their defensive pressure a little bit,” Livingston interim coach Erik Jorgenson said. “We quit moving the ball and our shooting percentage went through the floor. We had a tough third quarter and it took the air right out of us.”