1,000 And Counting
Morton hits milestone in 78-60 Butler win
Butler junior guard Ethan Morton (with basketball) celebrates reaching the 1,000-point plateau with teammates after the Golden Tornado's 78-60 victory over Plum.
MIKE KILROY/ BUTLER EAGLE
PLUM — Ethan Morton's teammates jumped on his back.
Gave him high-fives.
Rubbed his head. Smiled. Hooted. Hollered. And offered up chest bumps.
They seemed even more excited for Morton's milestone than the Butler junior star.
Morton came into the Golden Tornado boys basketball game at Plum Tuesday night needing just seven points to reach 1,000 in his varsity career.
He got there in under four minutes as Butler took an early lead and never gave it back in dispatching the Mustangs, 78-60.
Morton ended up with 25 points — and choked up at the outpouring of support from family and friends on his achievement just three games into his junior season.
“I got a little emotional out there,” said the 6-foot-6 point guard. “My family is at every game. Grandparents, parent, cousins, friends. They're at every game. That's one of the things that I hold close to my heart.”
Plum, just like most teams before it, was powerless to stop Morton, who scored 21 points in the first half to help stake the Tornado to a 43-29 lead at the break.
He also did it with his passing and rebounding.
But all eyes were on his scoring and his 1,000 career points.
After the game, he was given the basketball and entered the bleachers to share embraces with his family.
Morton, though, heaped praise on all the players around him, past and present.
“It shows the trust and respect my teammates have for me,” Morton said. “I just want to thank my teammates from my freshman year to get a chance to play with them and earn their respect that early. And last year — another special group. All these groups are special to me. They have special places in my heart.”
College coaches from the University of Pittsburgh, Penn State, Stanford as well as several others were in attendance at Plum to see Morton.
He didn't disappoint.
But Butler coach Matt Clement said Morton's truly special ability is the way he can compartmentalize all that external scrutiny and focus on merely playing a high school basketball game.
“College coaches always ask me, 'How's the recruiting going with him?' and I say, 'He's worrying about Butler basketball right now,” Clement said. “I think they think I'm crazy because that's not what normal kids would do. But he's watching film. He's figuring out matchups.
“Ethan and I have always made sure when one of us is getting a little frustrated with whatever is going on ... to pause and have fun,” Clement added. “I always remind him, 'This is your fun. The next level is business. You have to enjoy these two years.' That ceremony and the kids getting so excited, that's what he's going to remember.”
Teams may also have to remember names other than Morton when they play Butler.
Freshman Devin Carney scored 18 points and Mattix Clement added 17 for the Golden Tornado.
“He's a great kid,” Morton said of Carney. “I want to see him go get 1,000 at the same time as me.”
Mattix Clement has already shed his label of 3-point specialist in his sophomore year.
He did hit three of them against Plum, but he also went to the hoop and handled the ball well.
“Let's put it this way,” Matt Clement said. “I think he had one 2-point basket all of last year.”
With Carney, Mattix Clement — as well as steady Luke Patten, Isaiah Scribner and a deep bench — teams can't just set out to stop Morton.
“Devin has a dynamic ability to get to the hoop,” Matt Clement said.
Butler (3-0) is now halfway through a six-game stretch to start the season that Matt Clement calls the toughest since he became coach nine years ago.
Butler finally gets to play at home Friday when it hosts McDowell.
“Everybody is together and that's what it's all about,” Matt Clement said. “I think we bonded over the last three or four weeks.”
And no more than on Tuesday when the Tornado wildly celebrated a milestone by Morton.
“Ethan is close with every kid on that bench,” the coach said. “He's the true sense of a leader.”
Devin Carney 8-12 0-1 18, Mattix Clement 7-12 0-0 17, Luke Patten 2-8 2-2 4, Ethan Morton 10-17 3-3 25, Isaiah Scribner 0-0 0-0 0, Mason Montag 1-5 0-0 2, Colby Anderson 0-1 0-0 0, Dominick McCowan 0-2 0-0 0, Kevin King 0-0 0-0 0, Charles Kreinbucher 3-3 1-1 7, Anthony Malloy 1-1 0-1 3, Zach Slomers 0-0 0-0 0, Brian Presco 0-0 0-1 0. Totals: 32-61 6-9 78.
Chase Fink 3-9 0-0 8, Connor Moss 5-13 2-4 12, Matt Carroll 5-7 1-1 12, Lamar Whiting 5-11 0-2 11, Ian Dryburgh 6-11 1-1 13, Spencer Wilson 0-0 0-0 0, Walter Holyfield 1-4 0-0 2, Nick Flinko 0-0 2-4 2. Totals: 25-55 6-12 60.
Butler 22 21 18 17 — 78
Plum15 14 10 21 — 60