Tornado defense secures title of their tournament
By John Enrietto
Eagle Sports Editor
BUTLER TWP — There is no defense for a good defense.
Butler missed eight free throws in the fourth quarter Saturday night, made only three field goals in the second half and shot barely 33 percent from the floor for the game.
Yet the Golden Tornado girls basketball team captured the championship of its Butler Tip-Off Tournament with a 44-35 victory over Mercyhurst Prep.
"The motto is that defense wins championships,"Butler coach Dorothea Epps said. "This program has relied on good defense for a long time. Tonight was an example of that."
Butler trailed only once all night — 1-0 in the game's first two minutes — but never led by more than 10 points. And when Leanna Feeney drained a baseline jumper with 5:43 remaining, the Lakers cut the deficit to 35-31.
"We had our chances,"Mercyhurst Prep coach Dan Perfetto said. "But we couldn't get shots to drop and we couldn't get many open shots, period.
"Give Butler credit for that. They are an outstanding defensive team."
Feeney's bucket was the Lakers' final field goal of the contest. They sank only four free throws from that point, including two by Feeney that kept them in the game at 39-35 with 2:03 left.
Butler missed four free throws in the final two minutes, but Mercyhurst Prep never scored again.
"We had the girls we wanted at the line in the fourth quarter and we were still missing,"Epps said. "Our foul shooting is there one night, gone the next."
Which is OK — as long as the defense sticks around.
"We gave up 60 points Friday night and that's just not us,"Epps said. "We scored 62 and almost lost. Our goal tonight was to hold them below 40 and we did it."
Amy Achesinski paced the Tornado with 21 points and 13 rebounds. She scored 21 points Friday night as well.
Butler had a 30-22 edge on the boards and Achesinski was the prime reason. No other Tornado player grabbed more than three.
"(Achesinski) was a matchup problem for us all night,"Perfetto said. "We tried three or four different defenders on her, and we couldn't stop her. She gets the ball inside and finishes."
Achesinski's presence inside disrupted the Lakers' offense as well. Mercyhurst sank only 10 of 35 shots from the floor and rarely got off an uncontested layup.
"That's what we expect from Amy every night,"Epps said. "Her defensive game has improved so much. With the other four girls on the floor hustling all over the court on defense and Amy making her presence known inside, we're a much better team."
Mercyhurst Prep had 16 turnovers to Butler's 11. The Tornado turned the ball over only once in the fourth quarter while forcing five turnovers during that stretch.
Ambridge 54, Gateway 43 — Kiki Brown scored 23 points as the Bridgers won the consolation game. Brown scored 49 points in the tournament to lead all players.
Ambridge sank 12 of 13 free throws Saturday and drained 25 of 30 in the tournament.
Shayla Scott scored 16 points and grabbed six rebounds for Gateway.
MERCYHURST PREP 35
Lindsay Moore 1-4 2-2 4, Leanna Feeney 2-3 3-4 7, Kristen Sebunia 0-1 0-0 0, Ella Bach 1-2 0-0 2, Kelly Nowacinski 2-9 2-4 7, Amanda Debello 0-0 0-0 0, Courey Schaetze 2-8 1-1 5, Kristen Olowinski 2-8 4-5 8, Victoria Majewski 0-0 2-4 2. Totals: 10-35 14-20 35
Rachel Barry 1-3 4-5 6, Karissa King 2-4 0-3 6, Olivia Bresnahan 1-2 3-6 5, Liz Schultz 0-1 0-0 0, Amy Achesinski 6-14 9-14 21, Maria Baroffio 1-5 4-4 6, Mackenzie Greenert 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 11-30 20-32 44
Mercyhurst Prep 6 13 10 6—35
Butler 11 16 8 9—44
3-point goals: Nowacinski; King 2
JV: Butler, 45-31 (B:Rachel Doutt 10)