Butler defense paves way against McKeesport

Golden Tornado boys basketball team wins 5th straight, 54-41

John Enrietto Eagle Sports Editor

December 30, 2023 Last Updated: January 01, 2024 07:50 PM Sports


BUTLER TWP — The athleticism of McKeesport’s boys basketball team generally calls for a zone defense.

Butler opted to play man-to-man against the Tigers when the teams met as part of the Holiday Bash in the Golden Tornado gym.

“I wanted to challenge our guys, see if we could guard them while taking away lanes to the hoop and not getting into foul trouble.” Butler coach Matt Clement said.

“That’s exactly what we did.”

McKeesport turned the ball over 19 times in the first half, scoring just 10 points in the first two quarters, as the Tornado went on to a 54-41 victory,

Butler (7-1) never trailed in posting its fifth consecutive win.

The Tigers (3-4) trailed 25-10 at the intermission — but McKeesport coach Troy Blackwell appreciated his team’s defensive effort.

“Holding a great team like that to 25 points by halftime gave us a chance,” Blackwell said. “We have a lot of good athletes on the floor and sometimes they get sloppy with the ball, trying to do too much, and give up goofy turnovers.

“Once we cleaned that up (in the second half), we played well, But we dug too big of a hole.”

Trailing 41-25 through three quarters, McKeesport got as close as nine (50-41) with 1:48 to play, but four Donovan Carney free throws down the stretch salted away the Butler triumph.

McKeesport had only five turnovers in the second half. Butler had eight, 14 for the game.

“I never felt comfortable with any lead we had tonight,” Clement admitted. “We’d look like we’re ready to put it away and they would hit a three or turn us over a couple of times.”

Carney led Butler with 24 points, nine rebounds and three assists. Braylon Littlejohn contributed 11 points, five boards, four assists and three steals.

Stainton Forbes came off the bench to score nine points — seven in the fourth quarter. His slam dunk to begin the fourth period gave the Tornado their biggest lead of the night at 43-25.

Forbes added a trey for a 50-37 Butler advantage with 4:12 to play.

“I’ve been working hard on my game,” Forbes said. “I’m just happy to be out there playing, doing what I can do to help the team win.

Braylon and Donovan are great players, but it’s important for us to play effective roles on the court because those two can’t do it by themselves. It’s going to take all of us.”

Clement agreed.

The Butler coach had Andrew Lucas, Jordan Epps, Ayden Andrews, Forbes and Andrew Gettinger off the bench and on the floor for quality minutes on Saturday night.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who are good enough to be playing,” Clement said. “Braylon and Donovan take up 64 minutes each game, so that leaves me 96 minutes to divvy up for everybody else.

“I can’t give everybody the minutes I’d like.”

Lamont Perkins led McKeesport with 13 points. Dom Cochran had five rebounds, four assists and four steals.

“When we’re taking care of the basketball, I feel like we can play with anyone,” Blackwell said.

The Tornado begin section play Tuesday night, hosting Seneca Valley.

“Seneca is going to come in here looking to win a basketball game,” Clement said. “We’ve got 10 section games ahead. We’re going to take them one at a time and see what we can get done.”


Jordan Benjamin 1-5 0-0 2, Dom Cochran 3-6 0-2 6, Lamont Perkins 3-11 7-10 13, Valdez Stuvaints 1-7 0-0 3, Keith Spell 2-4 0-0 4, Jayir Bray 2-2 0-0 4, Brian Jones 3-4 1-1 9. Totals: 15-39 8-14 41.


Mavrik Clement 0-1 0-0 0, Donovan Carney 9-16 5-5 24, Ayden Davis 1-6 0-0 2, Braylon Littlejohn 4-8 2-2 11, Jordan Epps 0-1 0-0 0, Andrew Lucas 0-0 0-0 0, Braylon Littlejohn 4-8 2-2 11, Tayt Lucas 1-8 1-2 4, Ayden Andrews 0-2 0-0 0, Stainton Forbes 3-5 2-2 9, Coleton Welter 1-1 0-0 2, Andrew Gettinger 1-1 0-2 2. Totals: 20-49 10-13 54.

McKeesport 7 3 15 16 — 41

Butler 11 14 16 13 — 54

3-point goals: McKeesport 3 (Stuvaints, Jones 2), Butler 4 (Carney, Littlejohn, T.Lucas, Forbes)