Butler girls hold off New Castle

Golden Tornado survive 20-4 Hurricane run, post 53-43 win

John EnriettoEagle Staff Writer

January 22, 2018 High School Basketball 



NEW CASTLE — Butler was seemingly on cruise control — then nearly lost control.

The Golden Tornado righted the ship, however, and put away a 53-43 non-section girls basketball win at New Castle.

Butler (8-6, 3-2) had a 40-17 lead after Jenna Kunst produced a steal and fast-break lay-up with three minutes left in the third quarter. The Lady ‘Canes went on a 20-4 run at that point to pull within 44-37 with 6:02 to play.

“They went to a half-court trap and our girls got rattled,” Butler coach Mark Maier admitted. “That’s when you turn to your veteran players to settle things down, regain control.

“That’s what they did.”

New Castle (3-10, 0-7) closed the third quarter with two treys from Lindsey Frabotta and one from Olivia Valenti. The hosts rode that momentum into the final quarter.

“We started turning the ball over against that trap and that’s how they got so many points so fast,” Kunst said. “We just had to calm things down and take better care of the basketball.

“This was good for us. Teams are going to try to trap us in section games. This was like practice for us.”

Kunst converted a lay-up with 5:22 left to extend the Tornado lead to 46-37. Butler’s final seven points came from the foul line. Point guard Mia Rader sank six of eight free throws in the final 1:38.

Alyssa Eyth led Butler with 17 points and six rebounds. Kunst had 13 points, eight rebounds, five steals and four assists.

Rader had four assists, Julia Gibson six rebounds.

New Castle has one senior on its roster. The Lady ‘Canes start two sophomores and a freshman.

“We never quit and I liked that,” New Castle coach Kara Joseph said. “Our defense feeds our offense and once we turned up the pressure, we were able to score in transition.

“We knew Butler didn’t want to play at a fast tempo. When we got the steals, we forced them to play that way.”

But when the Tornado ran their offense, New Castle struggled to stop them.

“When Alyssa powered her way to the hoop, that was a senior going over a sophomore,” Maier said. “And Jenna brought a total floor game today. She helps this team in so many ways.”

Frabotta led New Castle with 19 points and contributed six rebounds. Mia Graham, a freshman point guard, had 15 points, 10 rebounds and three assists.

“Mia will be an outstanding player here,” Joseph said. “We’re young and we’re going to make mistakes. These freshmen and sophomores will mature into good players. It’s my job to make that happen.”

Butler was coming off a lopsided loss at Latrobe, giving up 70 points Thursday night.

“We didn’t want to drop another one,” Maier said. “Now is the time you want to start building momentum.”

Butler’s junior varsity improved to 12-1 on the season with a 41-19 win. The JV’s lone loss is by a two-point margin to North Allegheny.


Mia Rader 0-3 6-9 6, Alyssa Eyth 6-10 4-6 17, Alison Altman 1-3 1-1 3, Jordan Kauffman 0-2 2-2 2, Jenna Kunst 6-10 1-2 13, Sydney Hanratty 0-0 0-0 0, Morgan Gage 0-0 0-0 0, Julia Gibson 1-2 4-4 6, Emilee Altman 1-3 3-4 6, Emma Monteleone 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 15-35 21-28 53.


Mia Graham 6-13 3-5 15, Alaya Respress 1-5 0-0 3, Lindsey Frabotta 8-19 1-2 19, Raquel Rivera 0-4 0-0 0, Mariah Shepherd 1-4 1-4 3, Olivia Valenti 1-6 0-0 3, Kerri Lyles 0-0 0-0 0, Alexis Brophy 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-51 5-11 43.

Butler 11 18 11 13 — 53

New Castle9 7 10 17 — 43

3-point goals: Eyth, E.Altman; Respress, Frabotta 2, Valenti

JV: Butler, 47-19 (B: Syd Hanratty 11, NC: Olivia Valenti 8)