A romp and a rally

Butler basketball scores contrasting sweep of Kiski Area

John Enrietto Eagle Sports Editor

December 10, 2022 Last Updated: December 09, 2022 11:38 PM High School


Lance Slater (23) tries to block a shot by Kiski Area's Noah Thimons (20) during Butler’s come-from-behind 64-61 boys basketball win. Justin Guido/ Butler Eagle 12/09/22


Butler 64, Kiski Area 61

After sinking just five of 27 shots from the field in the first half, Butler (4-0) fell behind 44-30 when Colin Keller stole the ball and laid it in with 1:52 left in the third quarter. A Ryan Porch trey just before the buzzer cut the deficit to 46-35 — and set the stage for a wild fourth quarter.

The Tornado scored the first 13 points of the final period to take a 48-46 lead with 4:45 remaining. But the lead would change hands four times before Butler would finally put away the victory.

“Sometimes you expend so much energy coming back like that, you can’t get over the hump in the end,” Clement said. “Our guys found a way to do it. We were playing intense, tight defense down the stretch and they (Cavaliers) still hit some big three’s.”

Four of Kiski Area’s five field goals in the fourth period were treys. A Noah Thimons trey knotted the game at 55 with 2:15 left. A Jason Flemm trey pulled the Cavaliers (1-4) within 59-58 with 44.6 seconds to play. But Kiski never drew even again.

Butler’s comeback was fueled by senior reserve Lace Slater and freshman guard Donovan Carney.

Slater came off the bench to nail a trey of his own, tying the game at 46 with 4:53 on the clock. He added two free throws seconds later to give Butler its first lead since late in the first quarter.

Slater only returned to action this week after coming back from a severe ankle injury in June,.

“When I was rehabbing, I was dreaming of something like this,” Slater said. “Just getting back into an atmosphere like this, being able to contribute and helping the team win with the crowd all riled up ... I’ve missed that.”

Carney paced the Tornado with 20 points and seven rebounds. He scored 13 of those points in the final quarter and sank four critical free throws late, including the front end two one-and-one’s.

“They chose to foul him and he responded,” Clement said.

“It felt good to see those three’s go down because we were struggling with our shooting,” Carney said. “I couldn’t hit anything early, but the support of my teammates is always there.

“Going to the line late, it’s a matter of focusing and doing what you have to do. My teammates had my back there, too.”

Carney sank a free throw with 36 seconds left and two more with 27 ticks on the clock, extending Butler’s lead to 62-58. Porch iced the game with two free throws for a 64-60 lead with 12.5 seconds to play.

Braylon Littlejohn had 18 points, five rebounds and five steals for Butler. Colin Casteel had five rebounds, Madden Clement four assists.

Flemm led the Cavaliers (1-4) with 13 points and 10 boards. Thimons scored 13 and Keller 12 off the bench. Kiski has lost to Butler, Highlands, New Castle and Armstrong — all considered WPIAL contenders.

“To be the best, you have to play the best,” Kiski Area coach Corey Smith said. “We talked to the kids tonight about finishing. We didn’t stop their momentum. I don’t coach effort.

“You can’t control the officiating or the outcome. You can control your effort and attitude. These early games are getting us ready. We’ll benefit from this.”

Butler plays at North Hills Tuesday.


Isaiah Gonzalez 4-11 2-4 10, Lebryn Smith 3-5 0-3 6, Dominic DiNinno 1-4 0-0n 3, Jason Flemm 5-89 2-2 13, Connor Flemm 1-2 0-0 2, Noah Thimons 4-5 1-3 13, Jake Musselman 0-2 0-0 0, Owen Pearson 1-1 0-0 2, Colin Keller 5-7 0-0 12, Terry Martin 0-4 0-0. Totals: 24-50 5-11 61.


Braylon Littlejohn 5-12 8-9 18, Donovan Carney 6-16 4-7 20, Ryan McLister 0-1 0-0 0, Ayden Davis 1-3 2-2 4, Madden Clement 2-7 3-3 7, Mac Schnur 0-0 0-2 0, Ryan Porch 2-5 2-2 7, Tayt Lucas 0-1 0-0 0, Lance Slater 1-1 2-2 5, Colin Casteel 0-3 1-2 1, Coleton Welter 0-0 2-2 2. Totals: 17-48 24-32 64.

Kiski Area .. 12 14 20 15 — 61

Butler 11 8 16 29 — 64

3-point goals: Kiski Area 8n (DiNinno, J.Flemm, Thimons 4, Keller 2), Butler 6 (Carney 4, Porch, Slater)

Tuesday: Butler at North Hills