Wallace Eclipses 1,000 Career Points as Grizzlies Fall at No. 1 Hutchinson

Photo Credit: Gunner Daugherty
Photo Credit: Gunner Daugherty

HUTCHINSON, Kan. – The No. 21 Butler Grizzlies put up a good fight but ultimately came up short at the Hutchinson Sports Arena, falling to the Hutchinson Blue Dragons 71-65 on Saturday afternoon.

Butler (19-6, 13-6 KJCCC) lost its second consecutive game after falling 72-63 in overtime to No. 16 Dodge City on the road Wednesday. Hutchinson (25-0, 19-0) remains undefeated on the season. The Blue Dragons swept the regular season from the Grizzlies after Butler won both meetings a season ago.

Grizzly sophomore forward Freddie Wallace eclipsed 1,000 points career points at Butler as she finished with 15 points in the game. She now has 1,010 points in 56 games played across her two seasons in El Dorado. This season she is averaging 19.2 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per game.

The game was intense from the start as per usual with the two rivals. Butler jumped on the Blue Dragons quickly, taking an 18-10 lead after the first quarter. Trailing 5-4, Butler went on an 11-0 run that spanned 4:20 of the first quarter and saw them go ahead 15-5. Randi Harding hit two threes in the stretch. She was the focal point of Butler's offense all evening totaling 21 points, shooting 4-9 from deep. She also added four rebounds, three assists and no turnovers.

The game went to halftime with Butler leading 33-26 after a back-and-forth first half.

Hutchinson was able to outscore Butler 45-32 in the second half to remain undefeated and claim the 71-65 win. The first quarter was the only period that Butler outscored Hutch.

Butler went into the fourth quarter with a 48-46 lead but it dissipated quickly. Following a Harding three at the 8:02 mark that made it 52-51 Hutch, the Blue Dragon's Journey Armstead and Kiki Smith knocked down consecutive threes to jump out to a 58-51 lead, one they did not relinquish for the final 7:04 in the game.

Butler got it back to a one-point game, 66-65, with 25 seconds left following a layup from Harding. The Grizzlies had to foul Hutch on the next possession with the shot clock dark and they sent Smith to the line who converted both free throws to put Hutch ahead 68-65.

The Grizzlies took a timeout and on the next possession Harding had a good look for a corner three but it rimmed out and Hailey Jackson of Hutch pulled the rebound down as the Blue Dragons were able to close it out from there.

Both teams shot around 40% from the field with Butler at 39.3% (22-56) and Hutchinson at 41.3% (19-36). Hutchinson shot 38 free throws (27-38) compared to Butler's 27 (17-27). Butler outrebounded the Blue Dragons 36-29 and outscored them in the paint 30-24. Butler turned it over 19 times and Hutch 20.

Smith finished with a game-high 29 points for the Blue Dragons. Armstead had 15points, five rebounds and four assists.

The Grizzlies are back in action on Wednesday, Feb. 21st at the Power Plant as Colby visits for a 5:30 p.m. tip.