Three takeaways from Butler's 68-46 win over Independence

Butler outscored Indy CC 35-22 in the second half.

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette
Butler's Skyla Knight (1) drives by Independence CC's Delani Harris (14) in the first half in Saturday's game at Independence CC. Knight scored 18 points as Butler won 68-46.

INDEPENDENCE, Kansas—The ninth-ranked Butler Grizzlies beat the Independence Pirates 68-46 for their 16th straight win on Saturday afternoon. Paris Mullins finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds in the win for the Grizzlies.

Pick your poison

Butler has done an excellent job of spreading the wealth all season and it showed on Saturday afternoon. Butler had seven players score at least five points. 

“I’ve said it before, I think we’re the deepest team in the nation,” Butler Head Coach Mike Helmer said. “We have so many different ways we can attack you.”

It shows how dangerous the Grizzlies can be. While one night it may be Skyla Knight, who had 18 points. It may be Syncere Harrod (six points) or Tamara Nard (five points).

Whether you had one minute or 30 minutes, it felt as if anyone could score for the Grizzlies. 

“We had three starters in foul trouble in the first half,” Helmer said. “Then, the back ups came in and extended the lead.”

Perimeter Defense

Helmer said it last week, this is the best perimeter defense they’ve had in his tenure at Butler. They came into the game second nationally (18.2 percent) and it carried through the game. They held Indy CC to only 4 of 20 in the first half and 1 of 11 in the first half.

“Playing in this league where you play a good team every night,” sophomore Paris Mullins said. “It always has you ready to play defense every night.”

The defense presents a difficult time for opposing offenses with their size on the inside and their length on the outside. It feels as if you’re having to play a perfect game to beat Butler.

“We pride ourselves on turning our defense into offense,” Mullins said. 

Butler held to 22.6 percent shooting for the game and forced 29 turnovers on the night.

Rebounding

The Grizzlies made it a point to look out for No. 15 on independence and it paid off. The Grizzlies limited to Rapaluchi Ngorka to “only” nine rebounds on the afternoon. She had been averaging 12.8 per game coming into the game. 

“We were really worried about No. 15 coming in,” Helmer said. “She is putting up some of the best rebounding numbers I’ve ever seen.”

Butler stepped up as they outrebounded Independence by nine and heled Ngorka to only two in the second half.

That started with Mullins and the other post players. The trio (Nard, Mullins and Nero) all had a combined 18 rebounds on the night. 

“Rebound, rebound, rebound,” Mullins said. “Coach is always preaching about grabbing the rebounds.”

Next up

Butler will host Neosho County on Wednesday night at the Power Plant. They swept the season series last year and every time they’ve met since the 2001-02 season. It’s a streak of 25 consecutive games. 

“It’s one game at a time,” Helmer said. “It’s one game at a time and one day at a time for us.”

Neosho County is 3-6 (2-5 Jayhawk) with wins over Pratt and Allen  this season. They were handed a tough loss to Cowley on Saturday afternoon.

Charles Chaney has been the Sports Editor for the Butler County Times-Gazette since Aug. 2019. You can reach him at cchaney@butlercountytimesgazette.com or on Twitter at @ChuckChaneyBCTG.