Butler gets out of the gate fast again in blowout victory over Plum
Butler's Devin Cerney gets around Plum's Luke Pupilli at Butler High School.
STEVEN DALTON PHOTO
BUTLER TWP — Quick starts equal early victories.
Butler has made that equation work three times in three games so far this season, cruising to a 73-45 boys basketball win over Plum Tuesday night in the Golden Tornado gym.
The Tornado (3-0) had a 13-2 lead five minutes into the contest. A 15-0 run turned a 17-8 lead into a 34-8 advantage late in the first half, effectively ending the competitive portion of the game.
“This is the way we should start every game,” sophomore guard Devin Carney said. “Ethan (Morton) finds us right away, we hit a couple of shots and things just start rolling.”
Morton, Butler's senior point guard, had seven assists Tuesday night before he scored a point. He tallied 15 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and six steals in less than three quarters of floor time.
“Ethan is so efficient with everything he's doing right now,” Butler coach Matt Clement said. “He's not forcing many shots at all.
“He trusts the other guys on the floor with him more than ever, maybe because they're another year older.”
Morton wasn't the only Tornado player making quality passes. Carney had three assists to go with his game-high 21 points. Raine Gratzmiller and Mattix Clement had a pair of assists as well.
“We were able to get some of our guys a lot of minutes handling the ball against a press tonight,” Clement said. “That will come in handy down the road because we're going to need that.”
Plum coach Mark Marino watched film of the Butler Tip-Off Tournament, an event in which the Tornado drained 25 treys.
“Our plan tonight was to force Devin and Mattix off the 3-point line,” Marino said. “Either make them shoot contested three's or make them dribble the ball out.
“I thought we did a good job limiting their three's, but Ethan is so good with his outlet passes off defensive rebounds. They beat us down the floor in transition too many times.”
Charlie Kreinbucher scored 12 points for Butler, hitting all six of his field goal attempts while being on the receiving end of a few Morton assists.
Carney found Kreinbucher for a lay-up as well.
“Devin made some outstanding passes tonight,” Clement said.
“I'm a shooting guard, but when Ethan's not in there, I'm handling the ball a lot more,” Carney said. “It's part of the game I feel like I'm getting better at.”
Carney has scored more than 20 points in each of Butler's first three games.
The Tornado had a 21-8 edge in rebounds during the first half. Butler's lead peaked at 36 — 61-25 — on a Morton dunk with 14 seconds left in the third quarter.
Carney and Kreinbucher had dunks on the night as well.
“We were too soft going to the rim tonight and our kids didn't play at the speed of the game,” Marino said. “We seemed reluctant that way.
“We had 16 to 18 turnovers, too, and when you're playing probably the best all-around team in the WPIAL, you can't afford to give them extra chances.”
Nick Klinger paced the Mustangs (0-3) with 11 points.
Butler will take on Caton McKinley, a traditional Ohio power, at 7 p.m. Saturday as part of a basketball showcase at Struthers High School.
“They have a Division I player on their team and a lot of talent,” Clment said. “This will be our toughest test of the season.”
Luke Pupilli 0-3 0-4 0, Connor Moss 2-10 4-5 8, Alex Mitlo 1-2 0-0 2, Nick Flinko 2-5 5-6 9, Tyler Kolankowski 2-6 1-2 5, T'Rassi Means 4-6 0-1 8, Will Brewer 0-1 0-0 0, Etyan Hunter-Williams 0-2 0-0 0, Max Matolosy 1-6 0-1 2, Nick Klinger 4-9 3-4 11. Totals: 16-48 13-24 45.
Raine Gratzmiller 2-4 0-0 5, Brayden Koegler 1-2 0-0 2, Zach Slomers 0-1 0-0 0, Devin Carney 6-7 6-10 21, Mattix Clement 2-9 1-1 6, Dom McCowan 2-2 1-1 5, Charlie Kreinbucher 6-6 0-0 12, Mason Montag 0-3 0-0 0, Ethan Morton 6-13 2-2 15, David Leslie 1-3 0-0 2, Madden Clement 1-5 0-0 3, Dylan Fediaczko 0-0 0-0 0, Austin Rodgers 1-1 0-0 2, Dylan Piroch 0-0 0-0 0, Logan Koegler 0-1 0-0 0, Jordan Stutz 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 28-58 10-15 73.
Plum 8 5 14 18 — 45
Butler19 23 19 12 — 73
3-point goals: Gratzmiller, Carney 3, Mat.Clement, Morton, Mad.Clement
JV: Butler, 47-35 (P: Christian Brown 13; B: Madden Clement 12, Kaleb Proudfoot 10)