Yonker's early trio of treys helps trigger Butler's 80-56 win over Obama Academy
By Mike Kilroy
Eagle Staff Writer
BUTLER TWP — Andrew Yonker hadn't played in nearly two weeks.
But the 5-foot-11 senior guard for the Butler boys basketball team made the most of his opportunity when called upon Monday night against Obama Academy.
Yonker hit three 3-pointers in the first quarter to help the Golden Tornado out of an early funk on their home floor, and then Butler rolled in the second half to down the previously undefeated City League team, 80-56.
“I knew they were going to pressure us on the front side toward half-court and we could potentially get some looks in the corners,” said Butler coach Matt Clement. “I've been meaning to get him some minutes in the mix of the action and it was a perfect spot for him.”
Yonker found a home in the left corner. His first 3 came with Butler trailing 9-4. His next two gave the Golden Tornado a lead and they never trailed again.
“I tell you what, he held us in that game,” Clement said. “That game was real close to going into a six- or eight-point lead for them and he made those 3s. Give him a lot of credit — someone who hasn't played in the last few games — to come in and make a positive impact.
“He's been a tremendous teammate; You wouldn't know he hasn't played in those games,” Clement added. “Is he frustrated and does he want to play more? Yeah. But he's the No. 1 guy cheering when someone else makes a 3.”
Butler (8-4) needed all the help it could get from Yonker and many others in the first half against an Obama team that crashed the boards hard.
The Eagles (4-1) were getting second and third chances and converting, but the Tornado were still able to maintain a slim lead at the half at 35-31.
“That's as hard as we've had anyone crash the offensive boards against us,” Clement said.
But it began to backfire on Obama Academy in the second half as Butler was able to get its transition game going.
That helped the Tornado turn a slim 37-34 lead early in the third quarter into a 57-39 advantage at the end of the frame.
“I blame that a lot on fatigue,” said Obama Academy coach Naron Jackson. “Maybe I should have been subbing more. Our guys got winded and were getting a little lazy.
“I knew this would be a tough game on the road,” said Jackson added. “Butler always played us tough in the past.”
Jackson also tried to take Butler freshman Ethan Morton out of the game — with mixed results.
Facing double teams most of the contest, Morton still finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
“That's what has to happen. Even trying to double him and face-guarding him, he was still able to make stuff happen,” Clement said. “That's the thing about him. He's more happy with 12 assists than 15 points. I've been watching people try to take him out of the game since he was in elementary school, and it's really hard to do. And now, when he has the weapons he has around him, we'll take layups and open 3s all night.”
Joel Stutz found himself open for a lot of those 3s. He hit five of them and led all scorers with 18 points.
Butler was 12-of-25 from beyond the arc.
Connor Ollio added 14 and Yonker ended up with 11.
Since a tough, controversial loss to Pine-Richland, Butler has responded with two consecutive victories.
“I think the guys after the Pine-Richland game have a little bit different attitude now,” Clement said. “You're proud of your group of guys because they could have had a bad attitude about it and be bummed about it and let it affect you. Instead, they've come out really inspired and really inspired in practice and hopefully we can do the same on Friday (against Central Catholic).”
OBAMA ACADEMY 56
Nell Ptomey 1-4 0-0 2, Dana Strothers 6-16 2-5 14, Asa Bray 5-7 0-0 11, Trez Jones 4-12 4-6 12, D.J. Gordon 6-13 0-0 13, Nasir Tatum 0-1 0-0 0, Malik Fields 1-2 0-0 2, Isaiah Prentice 0-1 0-0 0, Brandon Matthews 0-2 0-0 0, Jordan Myers 0-0 0-0 0, Isaiah Allison 0-1 0-0 0, Tim Latham 1-1 0-0 2, Sean Snead 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 24-61 6-11 56.
Jace Stutz 2-4 4-4 8, Tyler Frederick 3-4 0-0 6, Connor Ollio 5-8 4-7 14, Ethan Morton 3-8 2-3 10, Joel Stutz 5-9 3-4 18, Jason Gray 2-4 0-0 5, Andrew Yonker 4-5 0-0 11, Luke Michalek 0-3 1-2 1, Cade Negley 0-0 0-0 0, Ian McCarrier 1-2 0-0 3, Jackson Ford 1-1 0-0 2, Phil Vandergrift 0-0 0-0 0, John Michalek 0 2-2 2. Totals: 26-49 16-22 80.
Obama Acad. 15 16 8 17 — 56
Butler16 19 22 23 — 80
3-point goals: Obama Academy 2 (Bray, Gordon); Butler 12 (Morton 2, Joel Stutz 5, Gray, Yonker 3, McCarrier)