Harding has career night leading Butler to win with 17-point performance

Harding has career night leading Butler to win with 17-point performance

The Butler Grizzlies snapped a two game skid and collected their first victory of the 2022 calendar year, coming from behind to defeat the Colby Trojans, 56-48, in front of a packed house at the Power Plant on Monday.

The Grizzlies were led offensively by Jaila Harding, who finished with a season high 17 points on an efficient 6-11 night from the field, as she was the only Grizzlies player to reach double figures. 

The Grizzlies had to deal with plenty of adversity. They trailed much of the first half, going into the locker room with a six point deficit after scoring just nine points in the second quarter. The Grizzlies took over in the fourth quarter. Tied at 39 at the end of the third, the Grizzlies would outscore the Trojans 17-9, ending the game on an 11-3 run to secure the win.

The Grizzlies outshot the Trojans, though neither team shot the ball well. Butler finished at 36 percent from the field and never really found their range from three point range, hitting just three shots from deep on the night. The Grizzlies made up for it from the charity stripe, taking 27 trips to the line and making 17, including several key shots to ice the game late in the fourth quarter.  The Grizzlies dominated inside, scoring 28 points in the paint, also putting in seven second chance points.

Butler was stellar defensively as well. Despite a hot start to the game, the Trojans shot just 31% from the field. The Grizzlies also forced 25 Trojan turnovers, led by Jada Knight's three steals. Butler also held the slim edge in the rebounding battle, ending with 30. Three Grizzlies players led the way on the glass, as Ashton Conley, MeKayla Furman, and Mallory Cowman all finished with five boards. The Grizzlies also held Colby to just twelve points in the paint.

The much needed victory improves the Grizzlies record to 13-4 on the year and 8-4 in conference play. Butler also got back to winning ways at home, improving to 8-1 on the year in El Dorado after dropping their first home game of the year against Independence on Saturday. The Grizzlies will look to build their winning streak on Wednesday when they travel to Seward to face the Saints.