The Butler Grizzlies jumped out to a 16-2 run and took a 15 point lead into the locker room before holding on despite a furious Garden City rally, as Mike Helmer's team moved on with a 49-40 win over the Broncbusters in the first round of the Region VI tournament in Garden City on Saturday evening.
The Grizzlies led by as many as 18, and they led for 37 minutes after the Broncbusters scored the first two points of the game. Butler was able to secure the victory in the second half despite getting outscored 28-22 in the final frame, using key defensive stops to propel them to victory.
Butler was led offensively by Syncere Harrod who finished with 11 points, going 4-8 from the field. Kaylee Nero provided a huge boost for the Grizzlies in the first half off the bench, hitting two key first quarter threes and finishing with 10 points. Butler finished shooting 39% from the field and were able to find 30 points in the paint. The Grizzlies shared the ball incredibly well, finishing with 14 assists, led by Cameren Downs who had six. Butler got key points from players on the bench, finishing with 19 bench points.
The Grizzlies were stifling defensively, holding Garden City to just 27%, and not allowing a single Broncbuster three. The Grizzlies forced 21 turnovers and were able to cash in 16 points off turnovers. Butler won the rebounding battle, 36-30, led by Cymirah Williams who finished with 10, and Butler was able to transition that into 13 second chance points.
The win keeps Butler's season alive. The win improves the Grizzlies' record to 18-12 on the year and moves them onto the quarterfinals of the Region VI tournament. They'll play the top seed in the tournament when they head to Independence to play the Pirates for the second time in a span of a week as they'll hope to get an upset that would send the Grizzlies to the semifinals in Salina.