Eagle Sports Editor
BUTLER TWP — The pace wasn't good. The score was looking worse.
The Golden Tornado called a timeout immediately after a Joel Stutz trey gave
“We had to speed up the pace of the game. Shaler wanted to play slow and it was working for them,”
So the Tornado switched to fullcourt pressure, got a couple of steals in the backcourt on the next two possessions, completed an 11-0 run and cruised to a 59-43 Section 1-6A boys basketball win over the Titans Friday night.
“There was a two-minute wall there where they kept their composure longer than we did. That was the difference in this game,” Shaler coach Rob Niederberger said.
Niederberger is a former assistant coach under Matt Clement at
“He's succeeding in changing the culture down there,” Clement said. “It was strange coaching against him because he's such a good friend. I knew Rob's team would play us tough because they're playing everybody tough.
“That Shaler team is going to win multiple games in this section, I can tell you that.”
The Titans (1-6, 0-2), who have dropped six in a row, seemed prime to win this one. They trailed 11-3 early, stayed in the game and took their first and only lead at 31-29 on an Anthony Venezia trey with left in the third period.
But Stutz drained his second 3-pointer of the quarter to put the Tornado (4-2, 1-1) back in front, then hit another trey following a
Stutz hit yet another 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter, extending
“Joel hit five 3's in our last game (Tuesday at North Hills), so he's on a bit of a roll,” Clement said. “He's got such a smooth shot. I think it's going in every time the ball leaves his hands.”
“We had to trust the process,” Morton said. “They were sagging back in the paint and the outside shots were there. They didn't fall in the first half. Joel got us going in the second.”
Three players off the bench — Luke Michalek, Ian McCarrier and Jason Gray — sparked Butler's second-half run with tenacious full-court pressure.
“Jason had two or three steals there that he wasn't rewarded with by points,” Clement said. “But they changed the flow of this game.”
Venezia paced Shaler with 13 points, 10 of those coming in the third quarter. Tanner Reinheimer collected six rebounds and six assists, but hit just two of 15 shots from the field.
“This was not a typical Tanner Reinheimer game,” Niedenberger said of his biggest scoring threat. “But he'll use it as motivation to bounce back next time.
“Shaler's male sports — all of them — have been bad for the last four or five years. We're climbing a mountain here. We're taking steps. We're just not there yet.”
“This is where we have to get ready for the long stretch of section games coming up,” Clement said.
The four 2016 Butler Area School District Athletic Hall of Fame inductees — Mark Jula, Katie Butler Hinrichsen, Melanie Buczko Lincoln and Des Schnur — were introduced at midcourt before the varsity game.
Kevin Mchale 3-7 0-0 7, Anthony Venezia 5-7 0-2 13, Jesse Tavella 2-4 0-0 5, Kiki Agbale 4-7 0-0 8, Tanner Reinheimer 2-15 2-2 7, Matt Tavella 0-3 0-0 0, Luke Grunden 0-0 0-0 0, Kevin Haberman 0-0 0-0 0, Mekhi Reynolds 0-0 0-0 0, Conner Haberman 1-1 0-0 3. Totals: 17-43 2-4 43.
Luke Michalek 1-1 1-2 4, Jace Stutz 2-7 0-0 4, Ian McCarrier 1-1 0-0 2, Jason Gray 1-4 3-4 5, Tyler Frederick 2-7 2-2 6, Connor Ollio 4-5 4-5 12, Ethan Morton 3-7 6-6 14, Joel Stutz 4-7 0-0 12. Totals: 18-40 16-19 59.
Shaler 9 10 12 12 — 43
Butler13 11 12 23 — 59
3-point goals: Mchale, Venezia 3, J. Tavella, Reinheimer, C.Haberman; Michalek, Morton 2, Jo. Stutz 4