crosses the Bridgers
Tornado's early surge leads to win
By John Enrietto
Eagle Sports Editor
BUTLER TWPó So much for the scrimmage.
The Butler girls basketball team struggled with Ambridge during a recent preseason scrimmage, with coach Dorothea Epps referring to the game as "our worst outing of the fall."
The Golden Tornado reversed that effort in a big way Friday night, placing four players in double figures and rolling over the Bridgers 71-37 in the first round of the Butler Tip-Off Tournament.
Butler will face Mercyhurst Prep, a 45-27 winner over Hollidaysburg, in the tournament title game at 8 p.m. Saturday.
"We were able to jump on them right away and forced them to play our game,"Epps said. "They had to play catch-up right from the start, and that can tire a team out."
Ambridge committed six turnovers and fell behind 9-2 three minutes into the game. The Bridgers committed 28 turnovers in the game, 16 in the first half.
The Tornado led 41-20 at intermission and Ambridge never got closer than 17 points the rest of the way. Butler used a 13-0 run to build a 54-24 lead with 3:58 left in the third quarter.
"Their point guard (Lexi Fontana) hurt us in that scrimmage by making a lot of plays,"Epps said. "We double-teamed her tonight. We wanted the ball out of her hands."
The result was disastrous for Ambridge.
"Our point guard had 10 turnovers herself in that half," Bridgers coach Kim Tirik said. "You can't have that. She's a junior. ... It's not like she's a young player.
"She got rattled tonight. I don't know if it was first-game jitters or what, but Faith Glover is the only one on our team who had a decent game. Everyone else played their worst game on the same night. We were terrible."
Glover had nine points and six rebounds for Ambridge. Kiki Brown, a senior guard and the team's lone returning starter, scored 16 points, but sank just seven of 22 shots.
"Our leaders didn't play well tonight, so what are you gonna do?You can't expect your freshmen to step up when that happens,"Tirik said.
On the other side, it was all good for Butler. The Tornado shot 60 percent from the floor (27 of 45) and connected on 14 of 18 free throws. They had a 23-21 edge in rebounds and committed only 16 turnovers.
Jenna Manuel scored 13 points off the bench for Butler. Olivia Bresnahan had 12 points and five assists, Casie Cygan had 12 points off the bench and Lyndsy Day netted 10 points.
Day, Bresnahan, Katherine Sylvia, Cygan and Manuel had three rebounds each for the Tornado.