Salmon River’s quest to win its first girls basketball championship in 40 years fell victim to a record-setting performance by the Butte County Pirates.
Junior guard Shay Lambson scored 24 points as Butte County led wire-to-wire for a 73-44 state title triumph Saturday morning at the Ford Idaho Center.
The victory capped a perfect season for the Pirates (24-0), who set the 1A Division II state tournament record for points in a tournament (193) and tied the record for points in a game (73). It is Butte County’s fourth state title since 2006.
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“We have seven amazing girls who all could be starters,” Butte County coach Carla Hansen said. “We could just run the table with those seven girls, and that was the key to our success.”
Senior guard Maddy Tucker scored 24 points for Salmon River (17-6), while sophomore Chevelle Shepherd chipped in 14 points and six rebounds.
The Savages’ 44-point outing was the most points Butte County surrendered all year. The Pirates’ average margin of victory was 42 points during the regular season and 31 points at state.
“We knew coming in that we were pretty outmatched,” Tucker said. “Our goal was just to play our hearts out and leave it all on the floor, and that’s what we did.”
Butte County opened the game on a 12-2 run. Tucker and Shepherd tried to get the Savages back in the game, but Macy Hansen’s 25-foot heave at the buzzer made it 20-7 at the end of one quarter.
Lambson’s hot outside shooting (she finished 10-of-15) continued to carry Butte County in the second quarter, and Meg Buxton’s coast-to-coast buzzer beater made it 30-14 at the half.
“I thought we got going OK, but we couldn’t make a basket,” Salmon River coach Paula Tucker said. “We played with them off-and-on, but we couldn’t quite score with them, especially when they started running fresh players in all the time.”
The Pirates took command in the third quarter, outscoring Salmon River 23-12 to put the game far out of reach. Hansen (17 points, 10 rebounds, six assists) and Buxton (14 points, 11 rebounds) finished with double-doubles for Butte County.
“It was tough,” Maddy Tucker said. “(Butte County) was really good, and their pressure defense was outstanding. We wanted to win, but if we had to lose to anyone, I’m glad it was them.”
The victory punctuated an incredible season for Butte County. After averaging 66 points per game during the regular season, the Pirates rolled past Lakeside (57-30) and Nez Perce (63-24) at state before stopping Salmon River in the final. Butte County’s closest game was a 10-point victory to open the season.
“We just stuck to what we know,” Macy Hansen said. “All season, we knew if we just stuck with our defense and got some stops, the rest would follow.”
BUTTE COUNTY 73, SALMON RIVER 44
Salmon River (17-6) — Maddy Tucker 24 points, Chevelle Shepherd 14, Miranda Hofflander 2, Emily Diaz 2, Payton Branstetter 2. Rebound leaders: Shepherd 6, Sarah Laritz 6. Assist leader: Shepherd 3.
Butte County (24-0) — Meg Buxton 14 points, Conlin Coburn 3, Tausha Cummins 6, Macy Hansen 17, Sherawn Brownlee 7, Shay Lambson 24, Kinsey Isham 2. Rebound leader: Buxton 11. Assist leader: Hansen 6.