Butler High, No. 5 in the Observer’s Sweet 16, remained unbeaten with a steady 62-50 win over a previously unbeate North Rowan team at home.
After trailing early in the first quarter 11-4, The Bulldogs surged ahead and led 15-13 after the first eight minutes. Butler never trailed again.
The Bulldogs got a huge effort from junior power forward Gerrale Gates who poured in a team-high 16 points and was unstoppable underneath. Zane Rankin and Tarique Stowe also finished in double figures for Butler with 15 and 12 poinra respectively.
The Cavaliers were 20-2 last season, and after playing in back-to-back games Butler coach Myron Lowry was pleased with his team’s effort against a good team.
“We played last night (a 67-51 win over South Mecklenburg) and these last two games have been kind of a grind.” he said. “We are getting a total team effort and there’s not one person you can really key on. We had five guys in double figures last night and three tonight. So, we’re getting effort and production from a lot of different people.”
Butler built its lead to 22 points early in the fourth quarter before North Rowan staged a mild rally getting to within 13 with three minutes left. But the final 12-point deficit was as close as the Cavaliers would get.
Gates had a size advantage over North Rowan, and the Bulldogs took full liberty to exploit it.
“I just figured I was the biggest dude out there and I just got to dominate in the middle,” said Gates. “I didn’t get it (the ball) that much early but we found out what the problem was and started attacking them inside. It was a team effort.”
Henderson Lentz led all scorers with 21 points for North Rowan which included four 3-pointers.
WORTH MENTIONING: Lentz was the only player in double figure for the Cavaliers….The Bulldogs outscored North Rowan in the first three quarters, with the Cavaliers outscoring Butler only in the fourth.
THREE WHO MATTERED
Butler’s Gerrale Gates: Scored a team-high 16 for the Bulldogs and easily was the game’s top rebounder.
North Rowan senior Henderson Lentz: Finished with a game-high 21 and led all three-point shooters with four.
Butler’s senior point guard Tarique Stowe: Had 10 third-quarter points while finishing with 12.
THEY SAID IT
“We had a couple of guys sick, one guy injured and one still playing football so some guys were having to step it up.” Butler coach Myron Lowery
North Rowan (3-1, 0-0), Butler (5-0, 0-0)
Butler will play Friday at 4A defending 2016 state champion Charlotte Catholic at 7 p.m, while North Rowan will host West Rowan on December 7
NORTH ROWAN 13 6 9 22 - 50
BUTLER 15 14 20 13 - 62
NORTH ROWAN: Henderson Lentz 21, Scott 8, Goodlett 8, Herron 7, Harrison 3, Clement 2,
BUTLER: Gerrale Gates 16, Zane Rankin 15, Tarique Stowe 12, Morrisette-Barnett 7, Stitt 5,
Rivera 5, Wallace 2.