Butler girls pull out win despite numerous absences


By John Enrietto
Eagle Sports Editor


BUTLER TWP - The win wasn't secured until Kelly Miller sank a pair of free throws with three seconds remaining.
But Butler's senior point guard had plenty of help from some unlikely sources to tie down the Golden Tornado's 43-38 girls basketball victory over Shaler Wednesday night.
Butler played without two starters - center Amy Achesinski had the flu and guard Maria Baroffio has a concussion - and lost a third starter when junior forward Samantha Karns fouled out with 3:51 left.
Kelley Crater also had the flu and was unavailable.
"You like to wean younger girls into the lineup, but sometimes you have to throw them in there," Butler coach Dorothea Epps said. "Tonight, we had to throw them in.
"What I'm happy about is that even though the girls knew we were missing two starters, they still believed they could win. They believe in each other and the coaching staff."
But the win didn't come easily. The Tornado (6-5, 1-2) never led by more than six points and the lead changed hands eight times in the first three quarters as Butler entered the fourth quarter trailing, 29-28.
Freshman Megan Spangler, who was seeing her first varsity action of the year, stuck back an offensive rebound to give Butler the lead. She put back another offensive board to give the Tornado a 38-33 edge with 2:38 left.
"We never even dressed her for varsity before tonight," Epps said.
Shaler (3-5, 0-4) rallied to tie the game as Jill DiNucci drained a 3-pointer before adding two free throws with 1:20 remaining, squaring the score at 38.
Butler then put the game in Miller's hands, and she sank both ends of a one-and-one with 39 seconds left to break the tie.
Spangler stole a Shaler pass down low and Miller added another free throw with 18 seconds remaining.
"When one of their other players had the ball, we weren't in position to foul," Shaler coach Eric Mozzetti said. "We didn't want to foul her (Miller)."
DiNucci attempted a 3-pointer to tie the game, but missed. Miller snared the rebound and was fouled with three seconds to go.
She sank both free throws to account for the final score.
"I was the senior out there and I take the responsibility of handling the ball in pressure situations," Miller said. "We had a lot of younger kids out there. We needed them and they played much better than I could have imagined."
Miller paced the Tornado with 20 points. Elizabeth Schultz, a sophomore filling in for Achesinski, contributed eight points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
Butler had a 32-23 edge in rebounding. Shaler had 22 turnovers to the Tornado's 18.
"The fact they out-rebounded us (with Achesinski out) was disappointing," Mozzetti said.
DiNucci led the Titans with 17 points and seven rebounds. A third-year starter as a junior, she is within 60 points of 1,000 in her career.
Shaler dropped its fourth straight game.
Spangler contributed four points and three rebounds in the fourth quarter for Butler. Fellow freshman Karissa King also saw varsity time.
"There were times when we had both freshmen on the floor," Epps said. "Kelly did a great job of running the show out there, directing them where to go and setting things up."
SHALER 38
Erin Staniski 1-2 2-3 5, Melissa McQuaide 3-9 2-2 9, Val Smolter 0-0 0-0 0, Michelle Grenesko 1-3 0-0 2, Joci Delaney 0-1 2-2 2, Allison Holt 1-3 0-0 2, Libby Soeder 0-1 1-2 1, Julianne Harris 0-2 0-0 0, Julie Stampfle 0-0 0-0 0, Jill DiNucci 7-15 2-2 17. Totals: 13-36 9-11 38
BUTLER 43
Rachel Barry 0-3 2-4 2, Kelly Miller 5-14 10-15 20, Elizabeth Schultz 3-7 2-3 8, Ashley Nocera 0-5 0-0 0, Julie Ehrman 0-1 0-0 0, Samantha Karns 3-3 1-2 7, Karissa King 0-1 0-0 0, Michelle Ritchey 1-3 0-0 2, Megan Spangler 2-4 0-0 4. Totals: 14-41 15-24 43
3-point goals:
Staniski, McQuaide, DiNucci
JV:
Butler, 34-14 (B-Ritchey 10)