Butler women use big second quarter run to blow out Garden City – Butler County Times-Gazette


Charles Chaney

ELDORADO, Kansas—What a difference a year can make.

A year ago, the Butler Grizzlies experienced their worst scoring drought in a decade, scoring just nine points in the first half.

Fast forward to 2023 and the Butler Grizzlies scored nine points with just over four minutes left in the first quarter. They topped the points total for that game before halftime.

The Grizzlies used that momentum to beat Garden City 86-47 inside the Power Plant on Wednesday night.

“I’m having a lot of fun with this team,” said Butler head coach Mike Helmer. “Good guys. They do things the right way. We had the best team GPA first semester in the last four years. We all want to play, but we play together, not selfishly.”

With so much roster turnover from last season, Butler was bound to make a comeback. They have reappeared in the NJCAA rankings this season and are being voted to enter the game. They have four freshmen who scored significant times this season. Heading it up is 6-foot-3 post player Freedie Wallace.

Then there’s Goddard product Macy James, who put on shows as a senior and bet on going to college. She gets offers from other four-year schools and heads to Butler. Early in the season her aggression plagued her, but after the turn of the semester she remained calm and composed, averaging 3.46 per game. We’ve gone from fouls to just four fouls in the first three games. She, in turn, saw her steals increase and her assists to turnover rate skyrocket. She committed no fouls Wednesday night.

“We’ve been stressing her how to play with the ball,” Helmer said. “She loves it and she’s benefiting from the Christmas holidays. It’s extra time for her to work on these things. She’s really paying off now.”

James had 11 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals.

In the first half, Butler held off an aspiring Garden City team by trailing the Grizzlies by four on multiple chances at first, but eventually found a way to beat the Bronx Busters (7-10). After a city timeout, they forced a shot clock violation and began their rout. J’unti Franklin scored his three, followed by back-to-back buckets from Kaylee Nero, pushing Butler’s lead to his double digits.

The Grizzlies hit a 16-0 run that spanned nearly five minutes. The defense was tenacious, forcing four turnovers and holding the Bronck Busters to 0/7 during the run.

“Initially, we weren’t tracking their scouts,” says Helmer. “We’ve been talking about family and trusting each other and making this deal of doing these things.During timeout we said we don’t trust.Suddenly they’re talking about it.” It started. They took it and it led to a 16-0 run.

“These are the things we’ve been talking about. My assistant rotates the scouts. Coach (Abby) Forces is in this game and she’s done a great job. We’re ready and Coaching is going well and I’m the only one.”

Butler led 40-23 at the break.

That continued into the second half as Jayla Harding laid up a Franklin steal to force Garden City into a timeout as Butler’s lead exceeded 20 points. Wallace hit a spinning layup and after Wallace missed a free throw, James got the offensive board and shot up while being pushed, the Grizzlies in full control at 50-23 and 3 in 6:43. remained in place.

“When we are in transition, with this team we are doing really well,” said Helmer. “The team is doing well to slow us down. I thought Garden City did a great job early in the game.

“Having fun, going out and doing that and playing that style is what this team wants. We just have to learn. We have to dictate the tempo. Don’t let people tell you what to do.”

Butler held Garden to 33.9% shooting in the second half, going 4 of 18 from 3. They minimized opportunities without fouling and held Garden City to 10 free-throw attempts in a Butler win. Next, Butler reached the line, from which he scored 75%.

Butler’s 39-point lead is the biggest in a conference game since last season’s 88-44 victory over Pratt. This is his fourth time this season that Butler has scored more than his 84 points in a single game.

Wallace led the Grizzlies with 16 points and six rebounds. Nero off the Grizzlies bench he had 12 points and he had 4 rebounds. Syncere Harrod gave the Grizzlies his 12 points, 6 rebounds and 1 block.

Overall, Butler put 10 different Grizzlies on the scoring row for the win.

They improved to 13-3 with this win and are now 4 of their last 5 wins and 4 of their last 7. More importantly, they’re 8-3 in conference play as they head down the back of the schedule.

The Grizzlies don’t feel like they’re playing their best ball right now. But the Grizzlies’ basketball under Helmer always starts at the defensive end, how Butler returned to the game against Cowley on Saturday, and how they took the lead against Garden City on Wednesday, Seed was there. Yes, it is blooming towards January. .

“We feel like we have a chance to do it and get back to where we want to be,” Helmer said. I feel like it’s starting to happen, and I think our freshman is really coming.”

Butler heads to Independence on Saturday for a road contest with the Pirates. The Pirates are the team that eliminated them from the Legion VI tournament last season and won his series 3-0 this season. Not many teams can claim to have dominated the Grizzlies in the last decade. Indy will take his 33-33 victory over Northwest Kansas Tech on Wednesday.

“Indy is well coached and does things the right way,” Helmer said. “After losing 3-0 to them last season, it will be a big win to put us back together.”

Saturday’s game is scheduled for 4pm at Independence.



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