Grizzlies run past #11 Hutchinson with big 2nd half defensive effort

Grizzlies run past #11 Hutchinson with big 2nd half defensive effort

Story by Wyatt Ebersole

Another game in the Mike Helmer vs John Ontjes saga and the storied Butler vs Hutchinson rivalry, ended in favor of Helmer's Grizzlies Saturday afternoon when the 22nd ranked Butler Grizzlies Women's Basketball squad outscored the 11th ranked Hutch Blue Dragons 33-12 in the second half en route to a 55-40 victory. The win improves the Grizzlies to 10-1 on the season and they are now back tied for first in the Jayhawk Conference with Coffeyville and Cloud County who all have records of 5-1 in conference play. The loss for Hutchinson is their second-straight defeat and their third loss in the last four games. The Blue Dragons are now 9-3 on the season and 3-3 in conference play.

The Grizzlies got off to a much better start in Saturday's game than they did on Wednesday in Coffeyville. The Grizzlies' defense was solid, holding Hutchinson to just nine points in the first quarter on a below average 23.5% shooting mark. On the offensive side for the Grizzlies, it wasn't much better, but the Grizzlies put up 14 points with five different players scoring a basket in the first quarter. 

The Blue Dragons started to put things together in the second quarter. They would grab the lead midway through the quarter when a Mya Williams three made the game 19-18. The teams would a trade two baskets each before Hutch scored on three straight possessions to take a 28-22 lead into the locker room. Things weren't looking good for the Grizzlies as they were already down by six at the half and were shooting very poorly in the game, but Helmer's crew came out determined to fight back.

Freddie Wallace would find three quick lay ins for the Grizzlies and Jada Knight found one of her own and in three minutes the Hutch lead was down to one at 32-31. Wallace, who was huge all night for the Grizzlies, would make a free throw line jumper with 2:36 left in the quarter to give the Grizzlies the lead back at 36-35. Hutch would regain the lead with a late free throw and layup and it was a two-point 38-36 Blue Dragon lead heading into the final 10 minutes, still anybody's game.

The Grizzlies came out roaring out of the huddle. Kaylee Nero found a quick basket inside and then Freddie Wallace drove to the basket, made the lay in, got fouled, and converted the and-1 free throw to give Helmer's crew a 41-38 lead that they would not lose the rest of the way. There seemed to be a lid on Hutchinson's basket as the Blue Dragons could not do anything against the Grizzlies defense and the Grizzlies kept finding baskets inside and at the free throw line, slowly building their lead. Back-to-back layups by Kaylee Nero made the score 51-38 Grizzlies and that seemed to be what put the icing on the cake for the Grizzlies as they rolled the rest of the way to a 55-40 victory. The Grizzlies held Hutchinson scoreless for over 10 minutes and would have held them scoreless for the entire fourth quarter had Hutch not put in an uncontested layup as time expired 

The Grizzlies bounce-back from their loss against Coffeyville and pick up their first win over a ranked opponent this season. They will have another test on Wednesday when the 9-2 Dodge City Conqs come to town for a 5:30 tipoff.

NOTES: Butler is now 33-59 against Hutch all-time and 17-29 in the Power Plant…Mike Helmer is now 4-24 against Hutchinson in his career and the last four matchups have been split 2-2…Butler is undefeated when Freddie Wallace scores double-digit points in a game…15 points in the largest margin of victory by Helmer against Hutch in his career…This win is the Grizzlies first win against a ranked opponent since February 11th, 2020 when the then 16th ranked Grizzlies routed 24th ranked Seward