Butler’s Bulldogs turned perseverance into a winning strategy.
The Bulldogs, No. 10 in the Sweet 16, were aggressive on both ends of the floor in a 69-58 nonconference win against Berry Academy on Wednesday despite inconsistency and foul difficulty. The main thing, however, was to maintain the initiative, which they did throughout to improve to 3-2.
“We needed a big win like that, especially going into the conference,” Bulldogs coach Myron Lowery said. “It’s a very good night.”
The Bulldogs made it possible with quickness, especially the backcourt of Raequan Scott and Orlando Robinson, which combined for 39 points. Scott, who led all scorers with 22 points, and Robinson, who added 17, consistently beat the defense to the lane and broke free in transition for easy baskets to set the pace. Artur Labinowicz complemented the attack with 14 points, most of them inside.
“(Berry) made it tough to run certain things as far as plays and things like that,” Lowery said. “A lot of it was being in the right spot and the right position. That was a toughness win.”
Matthew Powell and Jamarius Burton led No. 11 Berry Academy (4-1) with 13 and 12 points respectively, but the Cardinals struggled to find an offensive rhythm. The Cardinals trailed by as many as 16 points in the second half before closing to within 63-58 on a Chandler Murray three-pointer with 33.1 seconds left.
“They created offense with their defense, they turned the pressure up and we knew it was coming,” Lowery said. “We just didn’t handle it well at times.”
Berry Academy won the girls’ game 54-44 after holding off a fourth-quarter Butler Rally. The No. 10 Cardinals (5-1) were paced by Rashika White’s 18 points while Anika Riley and Paris Hatchett added 12 and 11 respectively. Berry Academy led by as many as 17 points in the second half, but No. 6 Butler (4-1) climbed to within 47-40 with a pair of three-pointers. That was as close as the Bulldogs would get, though, with Berry Academy regaining the initiative late.
Butler’s Kobe Leigh led all scorers with 20 points while teammate Fairen Sutton tossed in 13.