Beavers fall in tough opener to Lewistown, rebound with win over Ronan

J.P. Plutt
Wednesday, December 15, 2021
Inside power

Dillon’s Callahan Hoffman, a 6-8 senior, powers inside for points in the paint against Ronan on Saturday. Hoffman scored 13 and snared 10 boards for a double-double. Teri Haverifeld photo

The Dillon Beavers rarely lose in high school basketball while under the direction of National High School Coaches Federation Hall of Fame coach Terry Thomas. But Friday night against Lewistown, the Beavers fell behind 28-13 in the first quarter, cut the deficit to three points late in the game, and lost, 70-65. For coach Thomas, the result will benefit his team.

“For us, it was a real good learning experience to play against some real good competition, so that we can then find out where we’re at and what we need to work on,” said the coach. “There were a lot of good basketball players that were at that tournament. Class A is much improved overall, I feel, from this time last year.

“It gives us a real good opportunity to take stock in ourselves and figure out where we need to go and hard we need to work. So those learning experiences like that are very valuable.”

Early on it was Lewistown in the spotlight. The Eagles snared the first 8 rebounds of the game, and built up that 23-8 first quarter lead on red-hot three-point shooting. The eagles nailed six shots from beyond the arc, including four from Fischer Brown. Brown ended the quarter with 14 points and the game with 28.

Thomas praised his team for displaying resilience in clawing back one possession at a time to almost steal the win.

The Beavers won the second and third quarters by a combined 31 to 20 and battled to within three points late in the fourth quarter before Lewistown canned two free throws to end the game with a five-point win. Dillon employed the fouling strategy in the fourth quarter and Lewistown made them pay, hitting 10 of 13 attempts from the charity stripe.

Seniors Connor Curnow and Jonathan Kirkley led Dillon’s charge back to a respectable finish. Curnow ripped down 12 rebounds, scored 12 poinr, made 3 steals, dished 2 assists and blocked a shot.

Kirkley scored a team-high 16 points, snaggd 9 rebounds, made 3 steals, dished 3 assists, blocked 2 shots and took a charge.

Junior point guard Eli Nourse dished a team-high 4 assists and scored 10 points. Caden Hansen, a junior scored 7.

Sophomore Max Davis, 6-3, off the bench in the rotation as a 4 or 5, demonstrated a complete game according to Thomas. Davis scored 11 points, grabbed 2 boards, blocked a shot and dealt an assist.

Dillon started fast Saturday morning against Ronan, jumping out to a 21-9 lead and closed with a 25-5 advantage in the fourth quarter to win going away, 65-35.

“We were able to mix in both our man and our 1-3-1 (zone defense), and offensively we did a real nice job of attacking the basket, rebounding the ball, running the floor and creating turnovers,” said Thomas. “We had a real solid game.

Callahan Hoffman, a 6-8 senior, asserted himself in the game with 10 rebounds, a steal and a blocked shot.

Kirkley and Curnow each had 7 rebounds, Kirkley took team scoring honors with 16 points, made 4 steals and dished a team-high 6 assists. Curnow scored 13, made a steal and had 3 assists.

Davis again contributed across the board with 9 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists.

Dillon’s JV team played at the Manhattan Tournament, knocking off Class C varsity teams Gardiner and West Yellowstone.

Dillon traveled Tuesday night to Corvallis for their conference opener versus the Blue Devils. Saturday, the Beavers join the Lady Beavers for a doubleheader at Butte Central’s Maroon Activity Center.

DILLON 65, LEWISTOWN 70 Dillon scoring – Connor Curnow 12, Kee Christiansen 0, Caden Hansen 7, Max Davis 11, Eli Nourse 10, Tyler Lagunas 0, Jonathan Kirkley 16, Callahan Hoffman 9.

Halftime – 36-26, Lewistown. Dillon threepointers (3-13) – C. Curnow 2-2, Hansen 1-3, Davis 2-2, Nourse 1-2, Kirkley 3-4, Hoffman 1-1. Rebounds (24) – Curnow 12, Kirkley 6. Steals (11) – Curnow 3, Kirkley 3. Assists (12) – Nourse 4. Turnovers (16). Blocks (4) – Kirkley 2.

DILLON 65, RONAN 35 Dillon scoring – Connor Curnow 13, Kee Christiansen 0, Trey Anderson 0, Caden Hansen 5, Max Davis 9, Eli Nourse 0, Tyler Lagunas 6, Carsetn Lemelin 3, Jonathan Kirkley 16, Callahan Hoffman 13.

Halftime – 33-19, Dillon. Dillon three-pointers (8-21) – C. Curnow 2-2, T. Anderson 0-1, Hansen 0-1, Nourse 0-2, Lagunas 2-5, Lemelin 1-1, Kirkley 3-9. Rebounds (38) – Hoffman 10, Curnow 7, Kirkley 7. Steals (11) – Kirkley 4, Nourse 4. Assists (18) – Kirkley 6. Turnovers (15). Blocks (1) – Hoffman.