Saluting seniors
Butler avoids collapse in win over Tigers, 48-35


By Mike Kilroy
Eagle Staff Writer


BUTLER TWP There was no collapse this time. Not on this night.
The
Butler girls basketball team wasn't about to let another second-half lead slip away, especially on an evening when the Tornado honored their four seniors.
"This was for them," said
Butler coach Dorothea Epps. "These are some special girls."
But it was a freshman who keyed
Butler's 48-35 win over North Allegheny Monday night.
Olivia Bresnahan scored eight of her team-high 14 points in the first 12 minutes of the game as the Tornado built a 20-4 lead.
Butler (17-5 overall, 7-4 in section play) led by as many as 18 late in the first half and looked to be in cruise control.
Then the second half came, and it brought the same problems that have plagued
Butler in some losses this season.
North Allegheny (12-11, 4-7) charged back in the second half, cutting the lead to single digits for the first time since midway through the first quarter.
With six minutes remaining in the game,
Butler held just a seven-point cushion.
"The last couple of days in practice we've been talking about the three Cs," Epps said. "Commitment, composure and confidence. When we lost those games, we kind of lacked one or two."
What made things more difficult for
Butler was the fact it already had sewed up a playoff spot. North Allegheny, on the other hand, needed a win to stay alive in the playoff race.
That made the Tigers' slow start even more disheartening for NA coach Will Saunders.
"This game was a microcosm of our season," Saunders said. "We came out, we played hard, but we couldn't make our shots from the field or the foul line."
The Tigers came into the game shooting less than 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from the free throw line this season.
On Monday,
North Allegheny shot 33 percent from the floor and 47 percent from the line.
The shooting woes were particularly evident early when the Tigers didn't get their second basket until there was one minute remaining in the first quarter.
"That makes it really tough," Saunders said. "(
Butler) came out aggressive. They really came out with intensity on defense. They looked playoff ready and focused."
Senior
Amy Achesinski scored 11 points, but none of them were particularly easy.
She took only three shots in the first half and had two points at the break. She finished 5-of-13 from the field.
Part of her problem was
North Allegheny's doing. The Tigers tried everything they could to deny her the basketball.
"We really wanted to jam her and take her off some of her favorite spots on the floor," Saunders said.
Senior Maria Baroffio added 10 points for the Tornado. Six of them came in the opening quarter as the Tornado's guard play ruled the game.
"That goes into the three Cs," Epps said. "We thought our guards lost their confidence and composure against Pine-Richland, and they made a real effort not to do that today."
Seniors Liz Schultz and Rachel Barry also played their final home game for the Tornado.
In the ceremony before the game,
Butler not only honored its seniors, but North Allegheny's seniors as well.

NORTH ALLEGHENY 35

Marissa Posteraro 0-1 0-1 0, Sarah Haas 1-4 0-0 2, Kristen Beatty 2-4 3-6 7, Nina Glisan 0-0 0-0 0m Tina Kachulis 0-0 0-0 0, Ginny Thistle 3-6 2-2 8, Maria Nolan 2-5 0-0 4, Jackie Lang 1-6 2-3 4, Julie Figan 1-6 0-0 2, Dawn Murphy 3-8 0-3 8. Totals: 13-40 7-15 35
BUTLER 48
Rachel Barry 2-5 1-1 5, Olivia Bresnahan 6-9 2-3 14, Elizabeth Schultz 0-0 0-0 0,
Amy Achesinski 5-13 1-3 11, Maria Baroffio 4-10 2-2 10, Karissa King 2-4 2-2 8, Erica Miller 0-1 0-0 0, Kayla Gilliland 0-0 0-0 0, Becky Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Katherine Sylvia 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 19-42 8-11 48
North Allegheny 4 7 15 935
Butler 17 10 10 1148
3-point goals:
North Allegheny 2 (Murphy 2); Butler 2 (King 2)
JV:
Butler 32-26