GREENVILLE – Vandalia-Butler played its best game of the season on Monday as the Aviators beat Greenville 56-38 in a Greater Western Ohio Conference girls basketball game.
“Best we’ve played yet,” Butler coach Molly Bardonaro said. “You know we’ve been working a lot on our defense. You know we had a lot of holes early on in the season, just different parts of our defensive game was lacking so that’s what most of our practices have been focusing on. The scoring will come. Baskets will come, but the defense we need to make big stops, and we did today. It’s finally starting to click.”
Monday marked the third consecutive game in which Butler held its opponent to fewer than 40 points, which coincides with a three-game winning streak for the Aviators. They also matched a season-high point total in Monday’s win with Tyree Fletcher, Willow Knight, Abbie Schoenherr and Jacie Dalton all reaching double-digit scoring.
“We were taking good shots,” Bardonaro said. “We’ve been working on reversing the ball, not settling for one pass and done type of shots, which we did. We’ve averaged more assists in the last three games than I can remember. We’re finally starting to learn each other, know where each other hits best from and seeing the open spots. I had four girls in double figures. I can’t complain with that. If we can do that in every game, we’re going to be tough to compete with.”
Butler led throughout Monday’s game, taking a 13-6 lead in the opening quarter. The Aviators extended their lead to 19-11 going into halftime.
“We can’t score 11 points in a half,” Greenville coach Rachel Kerns said. “We were lucky to even be in the game at the half. We just had way too many turnovers. Things that we had been doing well up until this game we just kind of let them go out the door. I think we ended up with 21 turnovers, and when you have 21 turnovers and you’re not shooting free throws it’s not a very good combination.”
To get back into the game, Kerns wanted her team to focus on getting to the free throw line. However, the Lady Wave were unable to accomplish that as they only took four foul shots all night while the Aviators took 32.
“Part of that 32 is skewed a little bit because we had to foul towards the end of the game, but they were much more aggressive going to the basket than what we were,” Kerns said. “At halftime, this was one of the first times that what we talked about we didn’t come out and do. Our main focus was finding a way to get to the free throw line, and we just didn’t do it.”
Butler increased its lead to 32-21 in the third quarter then hit its foul shots down the stretch to win by 18, 56-38.
Fletcher led Butler with a game-high 15 points on Monday. Also for the Aviators, Knight scored 11 points, Schoenherr scored 11, Dalton scored 10, Maddie Mitchell scored 4, Natalie Maurer scored 2, Gracie Price scored 2, and Caitlin Plummer scored 1.
Saki Nakamura led Greenville with 11 points. Also for the Lady Wave, Payton Brandenburg scored 10 points, Morgan Gilbert scored 7, Jada Garland scored 6, Addie Haupt scored 2, and Annie Hayes scored 2.
Butler improved to 3-2 overall and 2-0 in the GWOC with Monday’s win while Greenville fell to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the GWOC.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.