MISSOULA—When his number was called, Dougie Peoples answered.
With the State A championship game tied at 58 in the final seconds, the sensational Butte Central junior let the clock wind down and launched a 30-footer. The ball went in, the buzzer rang and Dahlberg Arena erupted as the Maroons defeated Lewiston 61-58 to seal the title on Saturday in Missoula.
It was Butte Central’s seventh overall state championship. The Maroons were most recently co-champs with Hardin during the COVID-disrupted 2020 tournament.
Peoples, the top in scorer in Class A, had a game-high 37 points. But Lewistown had an answer for just about everything, particulary with forward Royce Robinson, who led the Eagles all week and scored 26 in the championship game.
Lewistown led 15-13 after one quarter and 19-13 later in the second, but that was the largest separation the rest of the way. Robinson went to work for Lewistown with 18 of this points coming in the second half. Then Fischer Brown, who scored 14 for Lewistown, came up with clutch shots every time the Eagles needed one.
Meanwhile, Central’s offense ran almost exclusively through Peoples in the fourth, as the junior had success in the lane. Whenever Lewistown forced the action away from Peoples, Kyle Holter was there for the Maroons as he scored 19.
Lewistown, which last appeared in the title game in 1988, is still looking for its first championship since winning it all in 1979.
State A boys consolation
Polson 57, Hamilton 52