MINT HILL, NC – The Butler Bulldogs rolled into the Ravens Nest and plucked the home team’s feathers in convincing fashion to take over the top spot in 4A Conference 59 competition. Both clubs are now 7-2 in the conference, but the victory gives the Dawgs an advantage if they can continue their winning ways. The Dawgs have now won 5 straight and seem to be playing their best basketball at the right time as we head down the stretch of the regular season.
Butler took charge of this basketball game early on, however, both teams appeared to be on edge and the shooting was cold with the Bulldogs taking an 8-6 lead after the first period. The teams battled under the boards, pushed the ball up and down the court, but missed many scoring opportunities. Perhaps initially the importance of the outcome of this game had an impact on the player’s performance.
During the second period, the frantic pace continued, the clubs exchanged baskets both scoring just 10 points by the intermission. The Dawgs Bryson Heath led the charge for the visitors scoring on two jump shots in the opening period and a key 3-pointer in the second stanza. While no particular player on the Ravens seemed ready to take command offensively with only Jaden Lyles contributing 6 points in the first half. The Dawgs led only 18-16 in the unexpected low-scoring contest for first place.
In the second half, the teams appeared to calm down and settled into the game at hand. Especially the Bulldogs as they opened up a 34-26 advantage over the Ravens. Peyton Scott, Zion Mcduffie, and Ty Black began to make their mark. While Lyles and Javares Green countered for Rocky River.
In the final period, the Dawgs stopped any momentum the Ravens would try to muster. Also, the Ravens were their biggest enemy getting tagged with two technical fouls as the game became a little chippie in the final 5 minutes with Butler ahead 42-30. When Will Ham drilled a 3-pointer to get the Ravens to within 9 points and 4:18 remaining, the Dawgs called for a timeout ahead 44-35. They took possession and Mcduffie promptly responded with a 3-pointer to extend the lead to double digits. The Ravens were now in another gear frantically trying to catch up, however, they were unable to recover from any previous deficit as they played from behind the entire basketball game. With 2:08 remaining the Ravens were called for their second technical, Ty Black swished the free throws and took the wind out of any comeback by Rocky River.
The Dawgs had a nice balanced attack with Peyton Scott scoring 14 points along with teammate Ty Black 14, Mcduffie 13, and Heath 13. While Jaden Lyles led all scorers with 18 points followed by Javares Green with 14 for the Ravens.