Butler ready for Round 4
Golden Tornado earn final crack at P-R with 53-50 overtime win over State College

http://www.butlereagle.com/graphics/nothing.gifBy John Enrietto 
Eagle Sports Editor 

JOHNSTOWN — Butler survived two runs — and earned itself one final run at Pine-Richland.
The Golden Tornado outlasted State College, 53-50, in an overtime thriller Thursday night at the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown. The win landed Butler (19-9) in the PIAA Class 6A boys basketball quarterfinals Saturday against the WPIAL champion Rams. 
Pine-Richland (26-1) defeated Allderdice, 58-47, Thursday night. The Rams have defeated the Tornado three times this season, including the WPIAL title game two weeks ago. 
“They’ve proven they’re the best team in the WPIAL. We have a lot of respect for them,” Butler coach Matt Clement said. “But these kids have earned one last crack at them, too. 
“They’ve beaten us three times and they’ve all been close games. We’re going to have to play better than we did in those other three if we’re going to knock them off.” 
The Tornado had the better of the play in overtime to knock off State College Thursday. The Little Lions (21-5) entered the game ranked fifth in the state and had won 14 of their last 15 games. 
Butler has won eight of its last nine. 
State College used an 11-0 run to build a 13-4 lead in the first quarter. Butler fought back and took a 27-24 lead by halftime as Tyler Frederick stuck back an offensive rebound just before the buzzer. 
Lay-ups by Ethan Morton and Joel Stutz gave the Tornado a 36-27 lead — their biggest of the game — with 5:14 left in the third quarter. That lead was 38-31 when the Little Lions used a 9-0 run to grab a 40-38 edge with 6:35 left in the game. 
From there, it was nip and tuck as the lead changed hands eight times on the night. 
“They really played us physical,” State College coach Joe Walker said. “We didn’t get to the foul line as often as we normally do and had trouble getting into any offensive flow all night.” 
State College sank two of five free throws on the night compared to Butler’s 13 of 21. 
Tommy Sekunda stuck back an offensive rebound with 1:12 left in regulation to knot the game at 49. Butler had the final possession of the fourth quarter, but a long 3-point attempt by Stutz was well off the mark and Connor Ollio couldn’t put back the offensive rebound. 
Neither team scored in the overtime until Tommy Friburg sank one of two free throws for a 50-49 State College lead with 1:02 left. Morton answered with a pair of free throws and a 51-50 Butler lead with 27.8 seconds to go. 
Morton had missed the front end of a one-and-one earlier in overtime. 
“I have to admit, I was thinking of that miss when I stepped to the line again,” Morton said. “But I knew if I made the first shot, the second one was going in, too.” 
The Little Lions called a timeout with 21.1 seconds left to set up a final play. 
“We wanted to catch somebody breaking loose to the basket, but no one could get past his first defender,” Sekunda said. “They play really good defense. I think they have a great team.” 
Sekunda wound up taking a 3-point shot from the top of the arc. It caromed off the rim, Frederick grabbed the rebound and tossed the ball ahead to Ollio. The latter drove to the hoop the other way and laid it in to seal the deal with 2.9 seconds left. 
State College could only manage a desperation heave from well beyond mid-court as time expired. 
“We didn’t get the shot we wanted, but Tommy got an open look and he’s a good shooter,” Walker said of the missed trey. “It just didn’t go in.” 
Butler was out-rebounded 32-24 by the taller Lions, but Frederick grabbed 12 rebounds — including the deciding one at the end. 
“That just shows the grit and determination that kid has,” Clement said. “Tyler fought hard in there this entire game against a pretty big team.” 
“They are big ... We had to be physical against them to counteract that,” Morton said. 
Jason Gray proved to be a pretty good counter in his own right during the first half. With Butler trailing 13-4, he came off the bench to hit four treys within five minutes to get the Tornado back in the contest. 
“Without those shots, I don’t know if we’re even in this game toward the end,” Morton said. 
Gray downplayed his role. Clement did not. 
“Whenever I come in, I just want to do something to help the team win,” Gray said. “Jace (Stutz), Ethan, Joel ... They did a great job in getting me the ball. The other guys drew the defenders away from me.” 
Gray was unable to play the second half of the WPIAL championship game because of a sprained ankle suffered earlier in that game. 
“Jason comes out here, his ankle all taped up and hits some critical shots,” Clement said. “I’m happy for him. He’s a senior and he means so much to us. 
“Everybody, down to the last guy on our bench, was happy for him. We know how hard he works.” 
Morton paced Butler with 14 points, five assists and four steals. Gray had 12 points, Frederick 10 points to go with his 12 rebounds. 
The Tornado turned the ball over seven times in the first quarter, then suffered just five more turnovers the rest of the game. 
“We were a little jittery at the start, shooting too soon, trying to force things,” Clement said. “Jason’s shots helped to settle us down.” 
Sekunda had 14 points and four boards for the Little Lions. Ryan McNulty added 11 points and Eli Bokunewicz had seven assists. 
“This game came down to a battle of wills, of pride and heart. That’s all it was,” Clement said. “I’m so proud of these kids and how far they’ve taken this thing. 
“They’re just not ready to go home.” 
Luke Mkchalek 0-1 0-0 0, Jace Stutz 1-4 0-0 3, Ian McCarrier 0-0 0-0 0, Jason Gray 4-6 0-0 12, Tyler Frederick 2-9 6-9 10, Connor Ollio 2-3 2-5 6, Ethan Morton 4-8 5-7 14, Joel Stutz 3-6 0-0 8. Totals: 16-38 13-21 53. 
Keaton Ellis 2-6 0-0 4, Ryan McNulty 5-6 0-1 11, Maxwell Benner 1-3 0-0 2, Eli Bokunewicz 1-3 1-2 4, Drew Friburg 4-9 0-0 10, Brandon Clark 2-5 0-0 4, Tommy Sekunda 7-16 0-1 14, Tommy Friburg 0-2 1-2 1. Totals: 22-52 2-5 50. 
Butler 10 17 11 11 4 — 53 
State College15 9 12 13 1 — 50 
3-point goals: Ja.Stutz, Gray 4, Morton, Jo.Stutz 2; McNulty, D.Friburg 2, Bokunewicz 
Saturday: PIAA Class 6A quarterfinals, Butler vs. Pine-Richland