The Butler Bulldogs boys’ basketball team is on the cusp of doing something it has never done in the history of the program … advance to the fourth round of the 4A state playoffs.
After Butler’s 72-55 second-round playoff win over the Berry Cardinals Thursday night at home, the Bulldogs will host Greensboro Northwest Guilford Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with a chance to make history.
Butler (23-5) fought off a stubborn effort by the Cardinals (21-8) by pulling away in the second half. Leading by only four points at the half, senior Orlando Robinson scored 17 of his game-high 19 points in the final two quarters. Senior Raequan Scott added 14 for the Bulldogs including four 3-pointers while sophomore D.J. Little added 13 for Butler.
What pleased Butler coach Myron Lowery most about his team’s performance Thursday? “Berry is very athletic and Maurice (Cardinals coach Jones) does a great job over there with them,” said Lowery. “They’ve got shooters and athletes all over the floor, so we knew there were a few matchups that we were a little concerned with. Overall we did a really good job, buckled down defensively in the second half and got some key stops when we needed to.”
Robinson and the Bulldogs are playing their best basketball of the season, having won 10 in a row dating back to the regular season. “We are getting better each and every day,” said Robinson. “In practice we work hard and complete a lot, and it’s carrying on.”
Tevin Heath led Berry with 18 points while Jamarius Burton and Jael Scott also finished in double digits with 13 and 12 respectively. The Cardinals season seemed to finish all too soon with senior contributors Chandler Murray, Jael Scott and Heath playing the final game of their careers.
In a 1A second-round state playoff game, the Queens Grant Stallions rolled 66-43 in a wire-to-wire win over Graham River Mill Thursday before the Butler- Berry game. Terron Dixon led Queens Grant (22-5) with 23 points as 12 different Stallions players scored.
“I liked that we came out and put together a complete game tonight,” said Queens Grant coach Jay Forsythe. “Our boys were focused and ready to make a run in this tournament. They’re believing and they’re pretty confident right now. I think we have a really good shot of competing on Saturday.”
The Stallions will play Winston-Salem Prep on Saturday at Butler High School at 6 p.m.
▪ Butler has won 10 straight and not lost since a 50-45 road loss to Independence on Jan. 19.
Three who mattered
Orlando Robinson: Bulldogs senior guard Orlando Robinson fueled Butler’s second-half run with 17 of his 19 game-high points in the final two quarters while going a perfect 7-of-7 from the free-throw line.
Gerrale Gates: Butler Sophomore center was a force underneath in both defensive and offensive rebounds while scoring nine points.
Tevin Heath: Berry senior forward closed a solid career with 18 points in his final game for the Cardinals.
They said it
“The bottom line is we’re going to be who we are. We have scouted extremely well, and we’re well-prepared right now so we feel good about that. We feel good that we’re at home and we’re prepared for the challenge.” – Butler coach Myron Lowery on the Bulldogs’ attempt to make history by winning Saturday and advancing to the fourth round of the state playoffs.