VANDALIA — After a dramatic win over Versailles on Tuesday, and a potential league title on the line next Tuesday versus Sidney, Troy came to the SAC on Friday night hoping to catch the Aviators either resting on their laurels or looking ahead.
Neither happened and, despite a sluggish start on offense the Aviators seized control of the game midway through the first quarter and never looked back en route to a 65-29 win over the Trojans. The win lifted the Aviators to 18-2 overall and 11-2 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division, one game ahead of Sidney (14-6 all, 10-3 GWOC North) with two games to play.
“Coming off the big Versailles win on Tuesday, and then looking to the Sidney game for the league title on Tuesday, we needed to focus om this game fast,” said Butler head coach DJ Wyrick.
Prior to the game, the Aviators honored seniors Max Schega, Hunter O’Cull, Sutton Skapik, Leland Skapik, Kort Justice, Zach Landis, and Manager Yonaton Andebrhan.
“We have a great group – that’s the crazy part about this group that we spend so much time together and the kids love each other,”said Wyrick. “We did our senior night talk over at the church tonight and to listen to them talk about each other this is a a special group. You don’t find this very often and it’s really cool to be part of.”
Troy took an early 4-0 lead but a basket and free throw by Michael Kreill got the Aviators on the board. Bryant Johnson gave the Aviators a lead they would never relinquish on a steal and layup. That was followed by a steal by Kreill leading to a basket by Justice that gave the Aviators a 7-0 rum and lead of 7-4 that forced Troy to call time.
Kreill had two more baskets to end the quarter to keep the Aviators on top 13-7 at the end of the first quarter.
Seniors Sutton Skapik and Justice removed any doubt about the outcome of the contest as they led the Aviators on an 18-2 run to open the second quarter. Justice hit four straight threes as Butler built a 34-11 halftime lead.
“It was special,” said Justice. “I started out a little slow but my guys kept giving it to me and told me to shoot it, and that’s all the confidence I need.”
Justice returned to Butler for his senior year after transferring to Miamisburg the previous to seasons.
“I just love this city,” he said. “I couldn’t stay away any more. Being away from these guys was hard. It is a blessing to be back here.”
Justice led all scorers with 24 points while Bryant Johnson had 11, Kreill 9, Ryan Wertz 7, and Braedon Norman 5.
The teams basically traded baskets in the third period with Troy cutting into the lead by 3 at 44-24. Butler outscored the Trojans 21-5 over the final eight minutes to set the final score.
The win sets up a showdown on Tuesday evening when they host Sidney (14-6, 10-3). A Butler win would give them the GWOC North Division champions outright. Butler defeated Sidney in their first meeting by a score of 58-51.
Reach Darrell Wacker at (937) 84-8983 or @VandaliaDrummer.