Butler flexes muscles in rout of NH
ROSS TWP — Matt Clement could not keep the smile off his face.
“This was the best all-around game we've played all season to this point,” the Butler boys basketball coach said of the Golden Tornado's 81-55 pasting of North Hills in the Indians' gym Friday night.
The Section 1-6A victory snapped Butler's six-game losing streak at North Hills. The Tornado's last win there was a 50-38 decision in January of 2012.
“I didn't dwell on that streak much at all, barely mentioned it,” Clement said. “Most of the young kids on this team had nothing to do with it anyway.
“The past is the past. You can't change it. The only way to erase it is to put together a game like we did tonight.”
Butler (8-2, 2-0) jumped out to a 9-2 lead in the game's first two minutes and was never threatened. The lead was 54-28 by halftime, 76-43 after three quarters.
North Hills coach Buzz Gabos — who could not be reached for comment after the game — called a few early timeouts, but could not stifle the Tornado's momentum.
“Everyone did a great job of working hard and getting to where they needed to be,” Butler point guard Ethan Morton said. “That made the passing lanes open up.
“I had a lot of assists, but that's 90 percent because of the other guys on the floor and 10 percent me.”
Morton was one of five Butler players in double figures. He scored 15 points, grabbed 13 assists, had seven steals and seven rebounds. He had 10 assists in the first half alone.
Morton did not play at all in the fourth quarter.
“There are a lot of reasons why Ethan is a widely-sought Division I recruit,” Clement said. “His passing ability and court awareness are probably the two biggest reasons.
“He always gets a lot of assists, but the passes he was making tonight were big-time assists. They were passes that show why he's being recruited so heavily.”
A number of Morton's passes sailed inside to freshman forward Charlie Kreinbucher, who racked up 12 points and four rebounds. All 12 of his points came in the first half.
“(Former Butler center) Bobby Swartwout has been working with me on the pick-and-roll and I was able to finish,” Kreinbucher said. “Spin off my guy and give Ethan a little path ... He finds you.”
Clement said Kreinbucher “still had to execute those plays, catch the pass and finish.
“Bobby Swartwout's work with our big guys has really helped,” the coach added.
Freshman guard Devin Carney led Butler with 16 points. Mattix Clement added 14. Both drained four treys. Clement had six rebounds.
Luke Patten contributed 13 points, nine rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals to the win.
North Hills (4-5. 0-2) had 21 turnovers through three quarters. The Tornado enjoyed a 41-27 edge on the boards as well.
Butler entered the game allowing an average of 72 points per game — most in WPIAL 6A.
“We sort of reset everything after the New Year,” Clement said. “We wanted to work on defense and rebounding. We spent the bulk of practice this week on those things.
“Part of the points we've given up were late in our two blowout losses. We're playing fast by design and we're shooting the ball a lot quicker than in past years. But we had not been playing good defense. Tonight, we did.”
Jordan Albright led the Indians with 15 points, five rebounds and three assists. No other North Hills player scored more than seven points.
Butler played its first game since losing by 32 points to Allderdice last Friday in the C.J. Betters tournament.
“It's been a tough week. But we got a lot done in practice and this was a nice way to end it,” Morton said.
Devin Carney 6-7 0-0 16, Mattix Clement 5-13 0-0 14, Luke Patten 5-9 3-4 13, Charlie Kreinvbicher 4-5 4-4 12, Mason Montag 3-9 0-0 7, Ethan Morton 6-13 3-3 15, Isaiah Scribner 1-2 0-0 2, Colby Anderson 1-2 0-0 3, Kevin King 0-0 0-0 0, Anthony Mallopy 0-3 0-0 0. Totals: 31-64 9-10 81.