Butler women set school record in 120-56 win over Neosho County

Ethan Denton
Butler's Tamara Nard (32) attempts a shot of Neosho County's Rajon Callahan (25) on Wednesday, March 3 at the Power Plant in El Dorado, Kansas. The Sophomore had 21 points in the record setting 120-56 win.

EL DORADO – It made no difference who was on the court for coach Butler Mike Helmer on Wednesday night when his team hosted Neosho County at the Power Plant.

The Grizzlies overwhelmed a short-handed and overmatched Panthers team from start to finish, at one point leading by as many as 71 points in a 120-56 victory.

The Grizzlies improved to 11-0 overall and 10-0 in the KJCCC. Neosho fell to 3-7 overall and 2-6 in league play. 

Butler also made history with the victory. The win was the program’s 26th consecutive over the Panthers, a streak that dates back to the 2001-02 season.

The 120 points scored is a new school record that had stood since 2014 when the Grizzlies scored 116 against Central Nebraska.

Butler was led by sophomore Tamara Nard, who scored 21 points on 9 of 13 shooting. Sophomore Skyla Knight poured in 18 points. In all, six Grizzlies scored in double figures and the bench production nearly kept pace with Neosho’s entire team. The reserves tallied a combined 53 points.

“Some people talk that we don’t have much of a run and gun style because we like to get inside and we don’t live and die by the three,” Helmer said. “We’re deep enough, we’re athletic enough. We want to run, we just have to play defense and get rebounds first.”

The Panthers meanwhile like to play a non-stop run-and-gun and look to fire three-pointers every chance they get. But Neosho struggled to keep pace early and their shooting woes only worsened as the game progressed.

Behind the scoring of Nard, Butler surged to a 28-13 lead after the first quarter. The Grizzlies got their bench involved and the lead continued to grow.

Twelve Grizzlies played in the first half and ten of them scored. Butler had a comfortable 57-30 lead at the half, and one would think the Grizzlies would have been content with that. Not so. They continued to run and started the second half on a 15-0 spurt. Butler went on to outscore the Panthers 31-7 in the third quarter, holding the visitors to a dismal 2 of 24 shooting.

“At halftime, that’s one of the things we talked about,” Helmer said. “Would you rather be in practice where I put you on the baseline, we’re just running with no ball and no fans or would you rather use this as an opportunity. We’re so deep, don’t be selfish. Just sprint until you can’t sprint anymore and we’ll get the next one in.”

The onslaught did not stop. Maddie Livingston’s three-pointer put Butler up 115-44 with 3:44 to play. 

The Grizzlies will put their unbeaten record to the test again this coming Saturday with a trip to Iola to take on Allen County. Helmer wants his team to stay consistent.

“What can we do to be the best version of our self each day?," Helmer asked. "Tonight, I didn’t think we scoreboard watched, we played hard from start to finish. I just challenged them in the locker room, are we going to play hard from start to finish in practice tomorrow?

"If we continue to do that, I think we can have a special year.”