Butler stays perfect by handling NA
BUTLER TWP Make no mistake. Butler is the team to beat in Section 3-AAAA.
The Golden Tornado overcame 26 turnovers and a poor shooting night to overwhelm North Allegheny, 51-34, in girls basketball Tuesday night.
Both teams entered the game unbeaten in section play, but the Tgers were without senior guard and leading scorer Julie Figan, who took ill during school Tuesday.
"She's our senior leader on the floor and we missed her tonight,"North Allegheny coach Sherri McConnell said. "That's not an excuse. She wasn't here and we had to move on."
Butler (7-0, 4-0) jumped on the Tigers for a 13-0 lead. NA(4-4, 2-1) missed nine shots and turned the ball over eight times before Alysia Libby sank a layup with 1:12 left in the quarter to end the drought.
"We wanted to come out and jump on them,"Butler coach Dorothea Epps said. "But good teams are good teams. They were gonna fight back."
And fight back the Tigers did, going on a 13-0 run of their own to tie the game at 13 with 5:28 left in the half.
Butler went seven minutes without scoring a point before Casey Fleeger snapped the deadlock with a 3-pointer at the 4:52 mark of the second quarter.
"We're playing the defending section champs on their floor, don't have Julie and get off to a start like that?,"McConnell wondered aloud. "These girls could have easily folded. I'm proud of the way they kept battling.
"Butler has a very good team. That defense wears on you. Once they got off on us again ... It was tough."
The Tornado used a 10-2 run in the final four minutes to lead 26-17 at intermission. The Tigers never got closer than eight points in the second half and scored only three points sinking one of 17 shots from the field in the fourth quarter.
"Our defense does so much for us. That's why we spend so much time on it,"Epps said. "When you force the other team out of its rhythm, good things can happen."
North Allegheny had 23 turnovers and Butler held a 52-33 edge in rebounding. Five Tornado players had at least five rebounds each.
Amanda Dymun, a 5-foot-8 junior guard, led the Tornado with 12 boards.
"We work on rebounding pretty heavy in practice,"Dymun said. "We need to because we're not a very big team.
"Boxing out is critical. Back the opponent away from the basket and you get a lot of putbacks. That was working for us tonight."
Olivia Bresnahan paced Butler with 16 points and six steals. Dymun had 12 points while Casie Cygan had nine points and 10 rebounds.
Jenna Manuel had six rebounds and Katresa Savisky contributed five.
Zoe Calabrese paced North Allegheny with nine points and had five boards. Freshman point guard Alexis Aiken daughter of former University of Pittsburgh standout Curtis Aiken had eight points and seven boards.
"She's going to be a very good player for us,"McConnell said of Aiken. "We're already putting a lot on her shoulders."
While Figan averages 13 points per game for the Tigers, Kelly Brennan and Aiken average nearly 12 per contest.
"She (Figan) would have been another shooter to cover, but they had plenty of talent out there," Epps said. "Our girls were ready tonight."
Dymun emphasized the importance of winning section games early.
"Teams are going to be gunning for us, giving us their best,"she said. "The more wins we can pile up early, the better."
Butler has held four of its first seven foes to 34 points or fewer.
NORTH ALLEGHENY 34
Alexis Aiken 3-12 0-2 8, Kelly Brennan 2-9 1-2 5, Chandler Caufield 0-1 0-0 0, Andrea Elmore 2-7 0-0 4, Alysia Libby 2-8 2-3 6, Dawn Murphy 1-11 0-0 2, Zoe Calabrese 4-8 0-0 9, Kelsey Fedell 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 14-56 30-7 34
Casey Fleeger 1-4 2-2 5, Katresa Savisky 1-4 3-3 5, Becky Nowacki 0-0 0-0 0, Olivia Bresnahan 7-19 2-7 16, Amanda Dymun 3-8 6-8 12, Casie Cygan 3-9 2-6 9, Rachel Doutt 0-2 0-0 0, Jenna Manuel 1-6 1-2 4. Totals: 16-52 16-29 51
North Allegheny 4 13 14 334
Butler 13 13 16 951
3-point goals: Aiken 2, Calabrese; Fleeger, Cygan, Manuel