You're not going to score on Brodie Kelly's Butte Central Maroons very easily, that is well known.  For nearly two decades, Kelly's teams have been known for their relentless man-to-man defense that has given opposing offenses headaches.  You're not going to get any easy shots and every pass will be contested.  Offensively?  Control the ball.  Make smart passes and don't turn the ball over.  If you are reading the stat sheet from last Saturday's game against the Polson Pirates, you'll notice that over the final two minutes, a little-used reserve guard for the Pirates came into the game and got a pair of steals along with the game's final two points.  You may find this a bit odd.  And odd it was.  It was also one of the most incredible displays of sportsmanship that you will find on Montana's high school hardwood.  Or anywhere, really.

Let's face it, Saturday's 30-point Maroons win was not the most important game on the schedule and was not particularly remarkable.  Not until Pirates head coach Jake Helgrin sent in #5, Kyler Gage to guard one of Butte Central's hottest shooters, Ryan Peoples with about 2 minutes left to play.  Peoples is the younger brother of Dougie Peoples whose name you may have heard before.  Dougie is known for "the shot".  Ryan, conversely, may now be known for "the steal".  Or rather, "the steals", because he had the ball stolen from him twice, both times by Gage.

Kyler Gage is a Special Needs student who is living with Downs Syndrome. He plays with the heart of a champion.  After one of his successful steals and a missed shot, Gage picked off Peoples again, got off his shot and sank it to the delight of both teams' fans.  And the way it played out is something that speaks volumes about this young group of student-athletes and the men who lead them.  There's Coach Helgrin for putting Gage into the game and the Pirates players for getting Gage the ball.  There's Coach Kelly and the Maroon defenders for seeing the situation for what it was-a chance to give this kid a moment he'll remember for the rest of his life, even if he was wearing a different jersey.  Oh, and there's Ryan Peoples who gave an Oscar-worthy performance in the BC backcourt.

And, of course, there's Kyler Gage, who made the shot while showing us all that sometimes basketball brings out something bigger and more beautiful than the game itself.

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Gallery Credit: Ryan Valenzuela