Grizzlies Unable to Keep Up With Cowley

Ethan Denton

On Monday night at the Power Plant, there was plenty of excitement in the air as the Butler Grizzlies hosted the 15th ranked Cowley Tigers in the final home game of the regular season. 

Butler was hoping to avenge a 113-93 loss in Arkansas City to the Tigers earlier this month, but despite a valiant effort, they were not able to get enough defensive stops in the second half and make enough shots to keep up with the run-and-gun Tigers, who won going away 94-81.

“We didn’t finish around the basket and we didn’t guard the three-point line very well,” Butler head coach Kyle Fisher said. 

The Grizzlies were able to draw fouls and get to the line where they outscored the Tigers by 17 points. But Cowley countered with a relentless barrage of outside shots. The Tigers made 16 of 34 three-point shots while Butler only converted 4 of 19 from deep. Overall, the Grizzlies only shot 38% from the field, ten percentage points lower than their season average.

Early on, it was the visitors who were confounded on the offensive end. Butler led 6-0 nearly three minutes in before the Tigers, who score over 100 points on a regular basis, got on the board.

The Grizzlies led 14-6 before Cowley went on a 17-2 run to go in front. Butler shook off the run and stayed close despite their shooting woes, thanks to their defense.

“I thought we actually guarded them really well in the first half and played them pretty even,” Fisher said. “I think when we had them in the half court we guarded them just fine, but it’s hard to beat anybody if they’re going to make 16 out of 34 threes.”

The Tigers kept the Grizzlies at bay to start the second half. Butler was trying to come back and go ahead while at the same time trying to stay under control and avoid a back-breaking run by Cowley.

Down 56-49, the Grizzlies were able to hit Cowley with a 10-3 run, capped by a Noah Thomasson layup to knot the score at 59. But the Tigers responded immediately with a three from Cevin Clark to go back in front, and Cowley would not trail again.

Shawn Hopkins led Butler with 22 points. Four Grizzlies scored in double figures including Karrington Davis with 15, Donyae McCaskill with 13 and Treylon Payne had 10.

Butler is now 16-5 overall and 14-5 in the KJCCC. The regular season wraps up with a trip to Coffeyville on Wednesday, and it will be coach Fisher’s second trip back to his old coaching home, serving as the Red Ravens’ top assistant under legendary coach Jay Herkelman.

“We just gotta get rested,” Fisher said about his team. “You play in a fast-paced, lot of possessions game like this, a lot of wear and tear, the first thing we have to do is get off our feet and get our bodies right because it’s going to be a physical game. A lot slower-paced, which is better for us and our style of play.”