The Butler Grizzlies came back from down 17 points in the first half to take the lead in the third quarter, but ultimately could not hang on as the Cowley Tigers hung on to a 61-55 victory at the Power Plant on Monday night.
The Tigers were propelled by a hot start. Cowley made seven of their first nine shots and went 62% from the field in the first ten minutes, as they jumped out to a 24-11. They would extend it to 17 points with five minutes left in the first half and led by nine as the two teams headed into the locker room. Butler stormed back, however, outscoring Cowley 20-12 and going on a 9-0 run to take their first lead, but Cowley made just enough shots in the final stretch and they knocked down just enough free throws to escape with the victory.
Butler's Jaila Harding and Emily Mandamin teamed up to lead the Grizzlies offensively, as they both scored 17 points. They were the only two Butler players to hit double digits, and the team struggled offensively, shooting only 32% from the field. The Grizzlies did get 33 bench points, led by Mandamin's productive minutes, and 16 second chance points fueled by 14 offensive rebounds. The Grizzlies outrebounded the Tigers, finishing with 37, led by Cymirah Williams with four. Cameren Downs passed the ball incredibly well, as she would finish with 10 assists.
Defensively, the Grizzlies forced 16 turnovers, but they were plagued by turnovers on their end, as Cowley forced 19 and finished with 21 points off turnovers. The Grizzlies held Cowley to just four second chance points and did not give up any points to Cowley's bench. The Tigers won the game with their hot shooting, however, as four Cowley starters finished with double figures and the Tigers finished shooting 44% from the field.
It's the third straight loss for the Grizzlies, as they drop to 14-8 and 9-8 in conference play. Mike Helmer's squad will have to bounce back as they travel to Concordia on Wednesday to face the Cloud County Thunderbirds, before returning home on Saturday to welcome Barton to the Power Plant.