DODGE CITY, KANSAS ― A lob from Tony Hutson to Mekkel Murray with 1.3 seconds remaining sank the Butler Grizzlies in their first Region VI Championship Game since 2010.
Grehlon Easter’s attempt as the time expired rimmed off as the Coffeyville Red Ravens win the 2020 Region VI Championship.
Butler falls 83-81 in a game that felt much like Monday’s game against Colby but in the end, the difference is Coffeyville finished at the end and Colby never did.
It wasn’t without it’s theatrics.
Butler trailed by eight with 6:49 remaining and Javaunte Hawkins went to the court after a rough play. He left after bleeding from the chin and Butler made their final push as their leading scorer went to the locker room to get patched up.
During the short time Hawkins was out the Grizzlies made their move. Marque English had an and-one to cut the deficit to five. Juwan White hit a three and it was Easter’s layup that tied the game with 4:26 remaining to get Butler back even at 70-all.
Hawkins capped of a 13-0 comeback with 3:36 remaining to give Butler a 75-70 lead.
Tylor Perry hit a three at the top of the key and Larry White followed it up with one of his own, bringing the Red Ravens within 77-76 with 2:54 remaining.
Butler’s offense struggled down the stretch, going 1-of-3 with two turnovers over the final 2:19 of the game.
Manny Crump gave Coffeyville the lead for good with two free throws with 2:07 remaining.
Butler controlled much of the first half, going up 31-21 with 8:34 remaining in the first half, capping off a 12-4 run. However Coffeyville had the early narrative of coming back as they did time and time again. They used a 10-0 run to even the game but Juwan White hit a jumper at the end of the first half, as Butler led 44-39 at the break.
With 1.9 seconds left, Coffeyville ran a lob play to Murray from Hutson on what had to be the perfect pass on the play, giving the Red Ravens an 83-81 lead with 1.3 seconds remaining.
English put the ball in the Grizzlies’ front court with 0.9 seconds remaining, giving Butler their last shot. Easter’s shot just rimmed off.
Hawkins finished with 25 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 5-of-6 from three-point range. Juwan White had 11 points. Shawn Hopkins had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Butler and Easter finished with 15 points on 4-of-10 shooting.
Butler finishes the regular season 25-8 on the year. They now await an at large bid to the 2020 NJCAA National Tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas.
The odds may be against Butler with Coffeyville, an unranked and the fifth-seeded team in the tournament wins an automatic bid. 24 teams make the national tournament, with eight being at large teams. Butler was ranked 22nd in the final NJCAA Top 25 poll.