Grizzlies show depth as they cruise to opening night victory

Grizzlies show depth as they cruise to opening night victory

The 17th ranked Butler Grizzlies opened their 2021-22 campaign with a win, cruising to a 106-39 victory over the Bethany Swedes JV team at the Power Plant on Wednesday night.

The Grizzlies started strong, scoring the first 12 points of the game and never looked back. They ended the first quarter with a 27-7 lead. Nine different Grizzlies scored during the quarter, and the defense looked strong, forcing nine turnovers and holding Bethany to just 22% shooting from the floor.

The second quarter was more of the same, as Butler would go into the locker room with a 45-18 lead. Butler shot well, going 59% from the field. Ten Butler players would score in the half, with Kaylee Nero and Ashlei Kirven leading the way with eight each.

The Grizzlies would not let up in the second half, as the third quarter ended with Butler up by 52 points. Through three quarters, the Grizzlies had 10 steals and 30 points off turnovers. Ashlei Kirven would lead Butler in scoring through three quarters with 13 points, going 6-8 from the field.

All 12 players would score by the time the game was over, and Butler would combine for 65 bench points. The Grizzlies dominated the glass, out rebounding the Swedes 37-21, and combining for 12 offensive rebounds and 18 second half points. Ashlei Kervin came off the bench to lead all scorers with 17, and Cymirah Williams and Jalia Harding also scored in double digits, with 10 and 11 respectively.

"This is the deepest team I think we've had in all my years at Butler," 14th year head coach Mike Helmer said. "The crazy part is I'm still trying to learn how to rotate this team because we're that deep."

The Grizzlies start the year 1-0, and will look to continue the strong start on Monday as they host another NAIA team, with Tabor JV coming to the Power Plant.