You have to be very careful when publicly pointing out a snub from an All-State or all-conference team.

When you do that, you are basically saying that someone who was selected to the team does not deserve the honor. I would never want to do that.

When the Southwestern A all-conference teams and All-State selections came out last week, however, I could not hold my tongue. Butte Central senior Brooke Badovinac was robbed like I have never seen a player robbed before.

The coaches of the Southwestern A voted the future Montana Tech player first-team all-conference. But she was left off the All-State list.

When I first saw it, I literally had to do a double take. 

I was highly shocked last year when Badovinac was not one of the two girls selected as co-MVPs of the Southwestern A. When I saw she did not receive an All-State selection this year, I was completely blown away.

It would have been like leaving Jason Tatum off the All-Star roster. It would have been like making Mike Trout an alternate on Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. It would have been like making Patrick Mahomes pay for a ticket to the Pro Bowl.

It really was that bad.

So, it begs the question. What in the heck are the Southwestern A coaches thinking?

I was lucky enough to watch Badovinac play a lot of games over the last two seasons. There was not one time when I watched when she was not the best player on the floor. For both teams.

The numbers back that up, too.

During the 2021-22 season, Badovinac scored 671 points in BC’s 29 games for an average of 23.1 points per game.

That total was aided by 11 postseason contests — thanks to the district, divisional and State tournaments. Still, no boy or girl from the Mining City has ever scored more points in a high school basketball season.

Her great junior season helped carry the Maroons to the Class A State tournament, where they won their first game.

Badovinac only scored 419 points as a senior.

Hold on, I have to take a break to digest the fact that I said “only” and 419 points. All the boys and girls who have ever scored more than 400 points in a season in Butte could hold a meeting in my kitchen. 

Central’s team was young this year, and the Maroons struggled to win games. Badovinac, though, arguably had an even better season as a senior. She averaged 23.3 points per game while playing in 18 of the team’s 19 games.

Nobody in the Class A averaged more points per game than Badovinac.

In addition, she averaged 6.6 rebounds, 3.1 steals, 2.1 blocks and 1.8 assists while mentoring an up-and-coming group of extremely young BC players.

The number of players who have averaged more than 20 points in a season in Butte could meet in a broom closet. The list of Butte players to do it in two seasons is just three —Badovinac, Butte Central classmate Dougie Peoples and Butte High legend Lexie Nelson.

Of course, All-State accolades are not handed out based on the history of Butte, so let’s look at where Badovinac stacked up against her contemporaries.

Only five players in the Southwestern A averaged more than 13 points per game. Only Badovinac averaged more than 20. Hamilton superstar Layne Kearns came the closest with 19.4 points per game.

Granted, Badovinac’s Maroons did not qualify for the divisional tournament, let alone state. Again, that is due to her playing on an extremely young team with amazingly little experience.

She still scored 42 points — tying the great Kellie Johnson for the girls’ school record — against Stevensville. She scored 35 points in BC’s play-in game loss at East Helena.

I am not telling you anything the coaches of the Southwestern A don’t already know. They know the player Badovinac is. They know they stayed up late devising game plans to somehow try to slow her down.

For years, I have heard about the triangle-and-two defense, but I never saw it actually employed until December, when Corvallis came to town to play the Maroons.

The triangle-and-two means that two players guard one player the whole game. The other three defenders play zone defense against the other four.

The two Corvallis players smothered Badovinac the whole game. At one point, the BC coaches had Badovinac just go stand in the corner while her teammates played 4 on 3.

In the crowd, we joked that the two Corvallis players must have guarded Badovinac down the hallway to the locker room at halftime. It was like nothing I have seen.

Badovinac still led the Maroons in scoring that night.

Is it something personal? Do the opposing coaches just not like Brooke?

Sure, she shows little emotion — win or lose — on the court, but that doesn’t make her a bad guy. In fact, that is one of her strengths. It is why we call her “The Assassin.” She plays with a cold-blooded demeanor.

If a coach doesn’t personally like her, then that coach just never met her. She is a kind, caring girl whose list of volunteerism and community involvement goes on for miles.

Is it simply a political thing? 

I’ll vote for your player if you vote for mine. That kind of crap happens all the time. 

In the 6B postseason selection this year, one coach refused to vote for Anaconda’s Meela Mitchell at all after the sophomore averaged 17 points and 7 rebounds per game.

That had to be political. Or personal. Or just plain stupid.

Whatever the reason Badovinac was left off the All-State team, it is simply wrong.

I nominated Badovinac for the Montana Gatorade Player of the Year this year, and I thought she made a strong case for the award. I will not say she should have won it because the girl who did also made a strong case. 

But, as Aaron Rodgers would say, Badovinac is at least in the conversation of being the very best high school girls’ player in the state — in any classification.

Montana Tech women’s basketball coach Jeff Graham certainly thinks so. That is why he made signing Badovinac his first priority after being named head coach.

In the long run, it will not matter that Badovinac was not named All-State as a senior. She will go to Montana Tech, earn a great degree and play on some good teams.

The bet here is that she will be a multi-time All-Frontier Conference selection and an NAIA All-American.

Even if she, for some reason, decides to not play college basketball, you better believe that a spot in the Butte Sports Hall of Fame is just a matter of formality for one of the top Butte girls’ basketball players of all time.

That she wasn’t named All-State, however, will go down as one of the all-time snubs. It is an injustice, and the coaches of the Southwestern A should be ashamed of themselves. At least the ones who didn’t vote for her should.

In 25 years writing about high school sports, I have never seen a snub that even rivals this one.

It would have been a crime to not publicly point that out.

— Bill Foley, who was not robbed when he was left off the All-State team, can be reached at Follow him at Listen to the ButteCast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.