Tornado hold on in thriller
Carney, Morton trigger Butler to 70-68 win at Peters Twp.
PETERS TWP — Graduation left the Butler boys basketball team looking for supporting players.
Freshman point guard Devin Carney tried to make an emphatic statement in his first audition.
Carney canned 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to help key a 10-0 third quarter run, allowing the Golden Tornado to win its season opener, 70-68, at the Peters Township Tip-Off Tournament over the host Indians.
Butler guard Ethan Morton was pleased with how the inexperienced roster survived a late rally.
“I think for a first game, that's a great experience,” said Morton, who finished with 35 points and 17 rebounds. “It was a packed house and a section-type game. It's another team that is going to be good in 6A.
“They learned from seeing an active zone, which is going to be one of the better zones we'll see all year.”
Carney finished with 15 points, making three of Butler's eight treys. Mattix Clement also made three triples and finished with nine points. Butler shot 25.8 percent (8-of-31) from beyond the arc and 41.8 percent (23-of-55) from the field.
“When Ethan is driving, he's going to draw two defenders,” Carney said. “So, when he kicks out. We are all shooters, so we can contribute by making a three.”
All of the younger players also got a lesson in how to close out a game. In a game featuring five lead changes, Butler led by as many as 11.
The Indians kept working and cut the lead to two, 70-68, on a layup by Dax Ploskina, who scored a team-high 31 points, with 10.7 seconds remaining.
Indians coach Gary Goga was adamant about rapid ball movement against Butler's various zones.
“We need to move the ball, everybody does,” Goga said. “They do such a good job with all their zones of putting pressure on you up front so you can't swing it easy. … We had to try to find the holes and we were fortunate to get a couple good looks.”
The Golden Tornado turned the ball over on the ensuing possession, giving Peters Township a chance to tie the game with less than 10 seconds remaining.
Sam Petrarca couldn't get a shot off for the Indians, getting run out of bounds by Butler's defense.
“I've been telling everyone all year, we are going to be better come January,” Butler coach Matt Clement said. “These are the experiences that are going to make us better come January.”
Butler led 34-32 at halftime. Ploskina opened the second half with a 3-pointer which gave Peters Township the lead for the final time. A layup from Carney and 3-pointer from Luke Patten was a quick 5-0 spurt that put the Golden Tornado ahead for good.
Peters Township would tighten the deficit to one, 39-38, midway through the third quarter, but Butler pulled ahead 49-38 following a 10-0 run that featured two threes from Carney.
Clement liked what he saw from his young guys.
Now, they need to keep the confidence to move from the audition into strong supporting roles.
“I thought they did a good job,” Clement said. “They have to have a quick memory. If they are going to give us shots, we work on it and have as good as shooters as anybody. Three misses in a row can't make a difference to them.”
Ethan Morton 10 16-18 35, Luke Patten 2 2-2 7, Mattix Clement 3 0-0 9, Devin Carney 6 0-0 15, Isaiah Scribner 1 0-0 2, Mason Montag 1 0-0 2, Colby Anderson 0 0-0 0, Kevin King 0 0-0 0, Dom McCowan 0 0-0 0, Charles Kreinbucher 0 0-0 0. Totals: 23 18-20 70.
PETERS TOWNSHIP 68
Colin Cote 4 4-9 18, Dax Ploskina 10 3-3 31, Sam Petrarca 2 3-4 7, Max McCaig 3 1-4 7, Sean Werner 1 1-2 3, Juklian Mascio 1 0-0 2, Ben Yeartes 0 0-0 0, Shane Bartxczak 0 0-0 0, Connor Duane 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21 12-16 68.
Butler 17 17 19 17 — 70
Peters Township17 15 16 20 — 68
3-point goals: Clement 3, Carney 3, Patten, Morton; Ploskina 6, Cote 4