VANDALIA — The Butler Lady Aviators returned to conference play on Wednesday as the Fairborn Skyhawks traveled to the Student Activities Center. Butler came into the game short-handed with Jacie Dalton out with an injury and starter Maddie Mitchell a game-time scratch.
Forced also to deal with the extended absence of starter Willow Knight due to first-half foul trouble, the young Aviators held the Skyhawks at bay before finally pulling away late for a 37-24 win.
Butler improved to 6-5 overall and 4-1 in the GWOC North while Fairborn fell to 4-8 overall and 3-3 in league play.
The Aviators were led by Tyree Fletcher with 13 points and Abbie Schoenherr with 11.
Fletcher scored the first four points for Butler as they took an early 4-3 lead. Megan Allen also scored and Natalie Maurer hit a pair of free throws before Fletcher scored again late to give the Aviators a 10-8 lead after the first quarter.
Rachel Burton grabbed an offensive rebound to fuel an 8-2 run for the Aviators to open the second period but Fairborn scored the last six points of the quarter to trail 18-16 at half.
Fairborn took its only lead at 19-18 after a basket by Evelyn Oktavec but Schoenherr answered immediately with Butler’s only three-pointer of the game. Knight scored to give Butler a 4 point lead and Fairborn could get no closer in the third period.
The Aviators methodically pulled away in the final quarter and ended the game on an 8-0 run with five points coming from Schoenherr and a pair of free throws by Knight.
The Aviators will return to action on Saturday when they host Stebbins at 1 p.m. at the SAC.
Reach Darrell Wacker at (937) 684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.