Butler Men rally from down 20 in the first half to shock the Cowley Tigers

Butler Men rally from down 20 in the first half to shock the Cowley Tigers

Story by Wyatt Ebersole

The Butler Men pulled off what seemed like an impossible task on Saturday afternoon when they rallied from a seemingly insurmountable 20 point first-half deficit to completely shock the Cowley Tigers in W.S Scott Auditorium in Ark City. The Grizzlies pick up their second straight win and are now 12-4 overall and 6-4 in the always stout Jayhawk Conference. With the win, the Grizzlies, at least for now, break their fourth-place tie with Garden City and move into a third-place tie with Cloud County in the Jayhawk Conference standings.

The game began as an early back-and-forth battle as neither side could create any separation from each other in the first 7 minutes of action. It was at this point that Cowley began to build their eventual 20-point lead. In under five minutes, the Tigers turned what was a 17-15 advantage into an 11-point 28-17 lead. Both sides slowed down over the next five minutes, but once again, it was Cowley breaking offensively and in seemingly the blink of an eye, it was 37-17 Tigers with 5:52 left. The Grizzlies managed to at least slow down the bleeding the rest of the half and had the deficit trimmed down to a much more manageable 12-points at 43-31 at the halftime break, but it was still going to be an uphill battle.  

The Grizzlies and Tigers again broke into a back-and-forth battle to start the second half and the Grizzlies hadn't made much progress into their deficit as they still trailed 55-65 with 10 minutes left to play. The teams continued to trade points over the next three minutes, but the Grizzlies managed to start swinging some momentum their way after an Isaiah Williams slam cut the Butler deficit down to seven. After another couple of minutes, the Grizzlies had grinded the deficit all the way down to just three points at 68-71 with 6:45 left to play. The Grizzlies would get a stop and found a tying basket when Javon Grant buried a three-pointer to make it 71 all. Cowley went a quick 6-1 run after burying two big threes, but Tahjae Hill broke that run with a huge stand-still corner three that he buried to cut the Cowley lead back to two. Hill then tied the game on the next possession with a couple of free throws. The Grizzlies would get a stop and took their first lead since early in the first half when Isaiah Williams got a put-back layup to give the Grizzlies a 79-77 lead with under three minutes left. The teams would trade a bucket each and then Grant added some free throws to put Butler up 83-80 with now under two minutes left. The Grizzly D again got a big stop that then led to a two-handed jam from Isaac Ondekane at the other end to give the Grizzlies a two-possession lead that they wouldn't relinquish. Cowley got some chances, but the Grizzly defense held strong and Butler took home the 87-81 comeback victory leaving the Tigers stunned on their home court.

The Grizzlies will battle for sole possession of fourth (or third) place in the Jayhawk Conference on Wednesday when they battle the Garden City Broncbusters. 

NOTES: Butler is 13-8 against Cowley since 2011, 4-0 against current Cowley coach Donnie Jackson, and are now 5-3 in the Kyle Fisher against the Tigers…This is the 4th time Kyle Fisher has coached a team to a victory after trailing by 15+ points in a game and the second time they have done that this season (Coffeyville)…Isaiah Williams 24 points was the most he's scored in a game this season and the second most any Grizzly has scored in a game this season (Rob Brown, 27 vs KCK)