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Knight, Butler women take down Tabor JV

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette
Butler's Skyla Knight (1) goes up for a jumper in the first half against Tabor College Junior Varsity on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2020. The Grizzlies beat Tabor JV at the Power Plant in El Dorado, Kansas.

EL DORADO—When they say Butler had not played anyone in 324 days, they were serious. 

The women's team had not scrimmaged against another team since they beat Barton in March 2020. It would have been the right storm for a let down. Except, Butler really showed why this team may be special this season.

"I was as nervous as I have ever been before a game," Butler Head Coach Mike Helmer said. "They've played 10-11 games and our first one since Dodge, it could have went really bad. 

Despite the sloppy first half, Butler beat Tabor JV 64-34.

Butler has now won seven straight games dating back to Feb. 12, 2020.

Butler forced 28 turnovers, including 15 in the first half. The defensive aggressiveness of Skyla Knight was a big help. She had six steals for Butler. 

Carissa Beck hit a three to give Butler a 13-4 lead out of the first quarter, capping off a 9-0 run.

While Tabor JV would respond with a mini-run of their own, Butler would then charge out on a 13-0 run over the next five minutes. A large portion of that run would be fueled by Knight. She had four points, one assists and two steals during the run. 

"I think we settled down and we were able to play a little more our game," Helmer said. "We're going to be a better shooting team this season."

In all, Knight finished with 12 points, four rebounds, three asissts and six steals.

"She's [Knight] so athletic," Helmer said.

Butler led 30-16 at the break.

The Grizzlies used a 12-2 run to push their lead over the 20-point threshold. Tamara Nard had a three-point play that brought the bench to their feet and Paris Mullins showed off her handles as she had an impressive layup in the run. 

Butler's defense was the winner on the night. They held Tabor JV to 26.5 percent shooting from the floor and 10.5 percent from three.

Nard would finish with 14 points, three steals and two assists. 

In all, Butler would have nine players who would score, seven would get at least five points.

After their 15 first half turnovers, Butler settled down and only had nine in the second half. 

"We're better than we showed tonight," Knight said. "We can be a lot better."

Butler is back on the court on Wednesday, Jan. 27 against Colby in their Jayhawk season opener. 

"We tried to get teams to play us," Helmer said. "We're hoping to get a game on Saturday, when the men's team plays Hesston, but we'll go in and study film and get ready for Colby."

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.