El Dorado, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-In his two years at Garden City, Brady Trenkle has always relied on his defense to push the Busters over the top. In Saturday’s conference opener, it was that side of the ball that let him down.
Kyle Steward scored 14 points; Caelan Neal added 12, and No. 5 Butler drained six 3-pointers on their way to an 82-74 victory at the Power Plant.
“Let’s call it what it was: our defense was terrible,” Trenkle said after the game. “We couldn’t get stops when we needed them.”
Garden City (11-4, 0-1) could never get consecutive stops on that end, allowing the Grizzlies (15-0) to shoot 44 free throws; 27 of those coming in the second half.
“We were fouling because we weren’t in the proper position,” Trenkle explained. “We did an extremely poor job in that area.”
On a day where Mother Nature dominated the headlines outside the arena, it was the Busters letting that cool air inside the gym-watching Butler race out to a 13-0 advantage. But things settled down, and Richie Spiller’s two free throws ignited a 34-21 run to give Trenkle’s bunch a 34-32 advantage with two minutes left in the half.
“Our kids never gave up after that slow start,” Trenkle said. “We slowly got things going.”
Their only time leading in the game was short lived as the Grizzlies closed the half by scoring the last five points to take a 37-34 edge.
After tying the game early in the second half, Butler’s defense took over. Neal’s steal and run-out dunk began an avalanche that saw the Grizzlies take a 77-60 lead with 4:17 to play.
“We could have easily folded the tent at that point,” Trenkle said.
They didn’t, scoring 10 straight points to cut the deficit to seven. Then, with a chance to cut it to four, Davon Anderson missed a triple from the right wing. As Tidell Pierre grabbed the offensive rebound on the left block, it appeared he was fouled on the play. But no whistle blew and Butler came away with the possession.
“It is what it is,” Trenkle said. “We just needed to play better defense.”
Anderson paced the Busters with a game-high 18 points off the bench. Myreek Fowlkes added 13; Johnathen Bell scored 12, while Tyrell Springer and Gage Loy netted 10 apiece.
Jacolby Harris scored 11 points and pulled down four rebounds for Butler, who shot nearly 50 percent in the second half (13-of-27).
The Grizzlies won the rebounding war 40-37, including 13 second-chance opportunities. There were two ties and two lead changes.
Tip ins: The 44 free throws shot by Butler was a season high…It’s only the third time this season Garden City has allowed an opponent to score 80 or more points…Garden City missed 14 free throws (24-of-38)
Next up: Vs. No. 8 Hutchinson-Monday, January 5-7:30 p.m. tip on AM 1030 KBUF; kbufmobile.com and mobile app: KBUF
Butler stymies Garden City’s attack; wins going away
El Dorado, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-When Nick Salazar found out that Eastern-Michigan transfer Bianca Cage would be eligible to play in the second semester, the young head coach seemed almost giddy. But the excitement that had mounted for more than three months was quickly doused with a dose of reality.
Cage had her moments, but she was outshined by sophomore Ashley Gibson’s game-high 22 points as Butler made it 27 straight home wins with a resounding 83-49 victory over Garden City Saturday afternoon at the Power Plant.
“I thought Bianca was excellent,” Salazar said. “We knew her shooting would take some time to come around. But our defense couldn’t stop them.”
For most of the game, Gibson scored at will, helping Butler (11-3, 1-0) build an early 28-4 advantage. The Busters responded with a 17-8 run to pull within 32-21 with 2:30 left in the half. But the story of this game was the Grizzlies resolve-scoring the last four points of the half to take a 15-point lead into the break.
In the second half, Garden City sliced the Butler lead to 47-37 with 12:40 to play. And as the script read all day, Butler answered with a 36-12 run to end the game.
“It was hard to guard them,” Salazar said. And our offense couldn’t get anything going.”
Cage, making her Garden City debut, missed her first eight 3-pointers and finished with a pedestrian-like nine points on 3-of-15 from the field. She was 1-of-13 from downtown.
Tori Spann scored a team-best 14 points for the Busters, who shot a season worst 25 percent on 14-of-55. Shontera Williams added 10.
Katie Palmer poured in 17 points and Brayden Byrd chipped in 10 off the bench for the Lady Grizzlies.
Butler outrebounded Garden City 46-38.
Next up: vs. No. 2 Hutchinson-5:15 p.m. pregame; 5:30 p.m. tip on AM 1030 KBUF; kbufmobile.com and mobile app: KBUF