No lead was safe in the doubleheader basketball games at Butler County High School in Morgantown last Monday night as a pair of late game comebacks was the story for both games as the Lady Cats and Bears snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
Butler County 58 (OT)
Juniors Kate Notwood led the Lady Cats with a team high of 21 points with Alera Barbee added 14points as they needed to overcome a 13-point deficit to force overtime and come away with the 60-58 victory.
“Our team was strong like we always are and we played together as a team,” Damyah Hopson said. “I love making turnovers. When I get them, I look for my teammates to get them the ball so they can get down the floor and make some open shots.”
“The kids fought, competed and down the stretch, they played real well,”Lady Cats head coach Lex Lindsey said. “Kate (Norwood) didn’t start but once she got her bearings, we started back to our normal rotations and do things we are normally used to doing. We got their point guard in foul trouble and our press defense got to them. Our younger players: Katelyn (McAllister), Alexus (McDonald) and Alie (Utley) got some key minutes and keeps looking a lot less like middle school players and have a few more games to do that.”
Butler County led throughout most of the 1st Quarter as sophomores Jaelyn Taylor scored six points with Taylin Clark adding five points. They led by as much as six points on two different occasions but Franklin-Simpson keptcloseas Barbee and Norwood each scored three points with a pair of baskets from freshman Ashanti Johnson and eighth grader Katelyn McAlister as they trailed 12-10 at the end of the first.
The Lady Bears opened the 2nd Quarter on a 13-2 run as sophomore Gracie Cardwell scored five points with four points each from Taylor and freshman Jenna Phelps. The Lady Cats only scored eight points in the quarter with baskets from:Barbee, freshman Conleigh Wilson and eighth grader Alexus McDonald. Norwood also provided a pair of free throws as they trailed 30-18 at halftime.
Franklin-Simpson picked up their defensive pressure off inv=boiunds plays resulting in some easy turnovers, quick conversions and worked themselves back into the game. They started the 3rd Quarter with five straight points with two quick baskets from Barbee and Johnson. Then later, four more quick points from Barbee and McAlister followed by foive straight points from a 3-pointer from Norwood and a basket by Wilson that cut their deficit down to four, 37-33 late in the quarter. But four straight points from Clark helped Butler County to have a 41-35 at the end of three.
The Lady Cats; defense picked up even more,making the Lady Bears’ possessions even tougher to make shots. A 6-1 run early in the 4th Quarter cut their deficit down to one, 42-41. Wilson’s basket along with a free throw by Barbee made the score 47-44. Then Norwood got two quick layups from back to back steals to give Franklin-Simpson 1 48-47 lead. Norwood’s 3-point bomb gave the Lady Cats a 51-49 lead. Phleps’ free throw along with a basket by Taylor with 4.8 seconds left gave Butler County a 52-51 lead. Norwood raced down the floor and was fouled with 0.2 seconds left. She made one of the two free throws, sending the game into overtime 52-52.
The Lady Bears scored first in overtime but Wilson’s free throw along with a basket by Norwood gave the Lady Cats a 55-54 lead. With the game tied,a key basket by NcDonald gave Franklin-Simpson a 57-55 lead. Later in overtime,Norwood made a traditional three-point play for a 60-56 lead, the Lady Cats’ largest of the game. With 12.1 seconds left, sophomore Graci Leach missed a game tying shot for Butler County as Franklin-Simpson completed the amazing comeback and held on at the end for the 60-58 overtime victory the Lady Bears.
“We started off slow in the 1st Half just like we did when we played them this summer. We have grown together since then,” Conleigh Wilson said. “We were scrappy on defense, got after it and we have different defenses we can throw at them to mix it up and they didn’t handle it very well.”
“During the 3rd Quarter, I told Kelly (Cook) that we are out p aying them, we are just not scoring. We’re getting good looks, we’re just missing a bunch of shots,” Lindsey said. “We cut their lead in half heading into the fourth and that gave us a chance. We can’t be afraid to make a free throw but somehow we made ten, missed 20 of them and still won the game and I ain’t giving it back.”
Jenna Phelps led all scorers with a game high of 22 points with Taylor Claek scoring 14 points and Jaelyn Taylor added 12 points for Butler County.
Butler County 70
The Wildcats lost an eight-point lead in the 4th Quarter as the Bears came from behind for the 70-64 victory.
“Our basketball I.Q. has got to get better. We got to make better decisions to end quarters. We didn’t do a very good job of those situations at the end of the quarters,” Wildcats head coach Dee Spencer said. “Our effort is never a question. We always play hard but we got to play smarter. Trying to get the guys to understand that as hard as we are playing, if we play smarter, we would close out more of these games. ”
Kyjuan Stutzman led all scorers with a game high of 16 points with Demarco Chatman scoring 15 points and 10 points each from Andreyous Miller and Tedric Partinger.
Seniors Maccauley Hampton and Zach Tutko made 3-pointers early on in the 1st Quarter for Butler County. Senior Dawson Knight knocked down a 3-pointer of his own, scoring five points. Miller added four points and Stutzman’s basket at the end of the quarter gave Franklin-Simpson a 13-12 lead at the end of one.
Chatman’s four points along with Stutzman’s second 3-pointer of the game gave the Wildcats an eight-point lead, 24-16. Freshman Jalen Briscoe knocked down a pair of 3-pointers as the lead extended to 10, 30-20. Juniors Hayden Hodge and Leevi McMillin each scored four points as they kled the Bears to a 13-4 run to close the 1st half as Franklin-Simpson led 34-33 at halftime.
Chatman’s 3-pointer along with a basket from senior Logan Lacouture gave the Wildcats a 39-33 lead early in the third. Senior Parker Rice’s 3-point basket punctuated a 7-0 run by Butler County as took the lead, 40-39. Stutzman closed the quarter with eight points by knocking down two 3-point shots as Franklin-Simpson led 49-43 at the end of the third.
Miller’s basket early in the 4th Quarter gave the Wildcas a 51-43 lead. Rice’s 3-point basket along with a traditional three-point play from sophomore Briody Hunt highlighted the Bears scoring 10 unanswered points as they regained the ead 53-51. Chatman scored eight points but Franklin-Simpson could not slow down Hodge and Hunt as they combined to score 18 of Butler County’s 27 points in the quarter as they came from behind for the 70-64 victory.
“A tough win against a very tough Franklin-Simpson team. Very proud of the guys in the way they responded when they got down,” Bears head coach Calvin Dockery said. “We did force them into making some bad decisions at times but they are very talented and athletic and they created some problems for us as well. I felt like some of the defensive looks we mixed up gave them some problems at times. (Hayden) Hodge and (Brody) Hunt were huge by making basic easy plays and those easy ones are the ones that wins you ball games.”
Five players scored in double figures for Butler County, led by Hayden Hodge and Brody Junt each scoring 15 points. Parker Rive scored 12 points with Solomon Flener and Leevi McMillin each scoring 10 points.