Girls' Sweet 16: Butler threes blow game open early

mmaloney@herald-leader.comMarch 15, 2014 

  • GIRLS' SWEET SIXTEEN CHAMPIONSHIP

    Butler vs. Elizabethtown

    When: 3 p.m. Sunday

    Radio: WVLK-FM 101.5

    TV: CWKYT-27.2 (8 p.m, taped)

Butler bolted to a big lead early Saturday, then held firm to defeat Ashland Blazer 62-50 in the semifinals of the Houchens Industries/KHSAA Girls' Sweet Sixteen.

The Bearettes (31-3) thus advance to Saturday's championship game, set for 3 p.m. ET in Diddle Arena.

Butler will be looking for its fourth State title, having won in 1975, 1980 and 2008.

Ashland, which won five state titles in the 1920s, concluded a 26-9 season.

Butler came out firing from long range, making its first four three-point attempts and seven of its first eight.

Bree Torrens and Allison Just each knocked down a pair of first-quarter bombs, and Danielle Lawrence had one.

That helped the Bearettes lead by 20, 31-11, with 6:21 left in the half.

"We got off to a great start, and a lot of that started with our offense," Coach Larry Just said. "Bree got out here and got hot, and I think that kind of settled everybody very quickly and everybody else relaxed and started making some shots.

"Defensively, I thought early on we did well. And they came at us, and we knew they would with their guard play."

Torrens would finish with 14 points, going 5-for-5 from the field and 3-for-3 from three-point range.

"I think I just wanted to try to make as many shots as I could to try to get my team on a run, get them excited so we could start off good," Torrens said.

Lawrence led the Bearettes with 15 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals.

Butler finished 22 of 38 from the field, 57.9 percent, while Ashland went 18 of 52, 34.6 percent. The Bearettes also outrebounded the Kittens 32-20.

Ashland closed the half on a 19-7 run to pull to within 38-30. Haley-Sue Foutch, a 5-foot-11 junior, did the most damage by going inside for 13 first-half points.

"We just grounded it out like we usually do," Kittens Coach Bill Bradley said. "That's how we won the region. That's how we won the first two games here, was our half-court, man-to-man defense."

Ashland would get only a few minutes and two points from Shelby Gransberry, who sprained an ankle during Friday's quarterfinals.

Chelsea Woodson got the call in relief and contributed eight points before fouling out.

Jaelyn Penn scored seven of Butler's 13 points in the third quarter, which ended with the Bearettes on top 51-39.

Ashland pulled as close as seven points twice in the final two minutes, but couldn't get past that mark.

"They knocked the lights out the first quarter, the first five minutes really," Bradley said.

"I think that was the difference, just their start. They got up on us big and we dug such a hole ... and obviously couldn't get out."

Foutch led Ashland with 16 points. Alex Young added nine, while Mykassa Robinson had eight points and five assists. Alexis Robinson led the Kittens with nine rebounds and scored seven points.

Ashland, the 16th Region champion, made it to the semifinals by first beating Henderson County 56-48, then dispatching Danville 64-55.

Butler, the 6th Region winner, edged Newport Central Catholic 54-52 in the first round and upended Lafayette 62-50 in the quarterfinals.

Said Just: "We're awful excited to get the chance to be playing on Sunday."

Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Twitter: @markmaloneyhl. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com.

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