High School Sports

Butler overcomes Independence, 62-57, for Southwestern 4A crown

Independence’s Chae Johnson, left, and Butler’s Jal'lil Carter fight for a loose ball during Friday night's game. Butler took the Southwestern 4A regular-season basketball crown with a 62-57 win over the Independence Patriots (No. 14 in the Observer’s Sweet 16).
Independence’s Chae Johnson, left, and Butler’s Jal'lil Carter fight for a loose ball during Friday night's game. Butler took the Southwestern 4A regular-season basketball crown with a 62-57 win over the Independence Patriots (No. 14 in the Observer’s Sweet 16). dlaird@charlotteobserver.com

The Butler Bulldogs (No. 8 in the Observer’s Sweet 16) live and die by the three-point shot, and Friday night at home they lived by it.

Two late three-pointers, one by D.J. Little and the other by Raequan Scott, helped Butler claim the Southwestern 4A regular-season basketball crown with a 62-57 win over the Independence Patriots (No. 14 in the Observer’s Sweet 16).

Trailing 57-54 late in the fourth quarter, Little’s 3-pointer tied the game at 57-57. Then Scott’s 3-pointer with one minute left gave the Bulldogs a 60-57 advantage. Two free-throws with six seconds left by Little on a one-and-one sealed the game for Butler.

“Orlando gave me a good pass, and when it left my hands I knew it was good,” said Little on his late game-tying 3-pointer. “We were down three; we needed a big three, and I had to come up. We always shoot free throws in practice, and I must have shot 300 free throws this week. I was preparing for this game.”

Trailing most of the game and by as many as 13 points in the second quarter, the Patriots roared back in the second half led by senior forward Marcus Thomas who had a game-high 28 points.

With three minutes left in the game, Independence led 57-54 and had the ball. But the Patriots went cold the rest of the game and didn’t score another point.”

“To me that’s probably the single best win we’ve had here because it was the toughest win since I’ve been here in two years,” said Butler coach Myron Lowery. “They knocked us down. We were up, up, up; and we took the best shot, and like a true champ you have to get knocked down. They (Butler) got back up, and they made plays from that point on.”

Worth Mentioning

The Bulldogs’ senior forward Orlando Robinson was honored before the game for recently topping the 1,000-point mark in his career.

Three Who Mattered

D.J. Little: Butler sophomore scored a team-high 15 points, six rebounds, two steals and two assists.

Marcus Thomas: Independence senior forward scored a game-high 28 points, including 20 points in the Patriots’ second half run.

Raequan Scott: Bulldogs’ senior guard scored 12 points to go with five assists and two steals, and fired in a long-range 3-pointer with a minute left in the game to give Butler the win.

They Said It

“I knew it was going in. My confidence is too high, I had to make it. As a shooter you have to keep shooting. That’s the only way it’s going to go in.” Butler’s senior guard Raequan Scott on his late fourth-quarter 3-point shot.

Records: Independence (18-6, 10-2), Butler (19-5, 11-1)

What’s Next: Both teams will participate in the Southwestern 4A conference tournament,

which will take place next week hosted by Independence.

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