VANDALIA – After a sluggish start on offense, the Butler Aviators found themselves staring at a 10-point deficit early in the second quarter and seemingly with no offensive rhythm.
Butler went on a 13-1 run closed the first half, however, and a basket by Quentin Glover at the buzzer sent the Aviators to the locker room leading 16-14. They never trailed again as the Aviators pulled away for a 41-24 win in the season opener for both teams.
Butler opened up an insurmountable margin early in the third quarter thanks to a pair of three pointers by Tyler Burley opened the second half and forced the Braves to call time trailing 23-14. Burley led the Aviators in scoring with 14 points.
“It’s exciting that we have a football player coming out and being our leading scorer tonight,” said head coach DJ Wyrick.
The Aviators struggled to score early on. Butler was charged with four offensive fouls in the game’s first 12 minutes.
“We were pressing a bit playing in front of a big crowd for the first time,” Wyrick said. “Their pressure bothered us. One of our keys to the game was to get open like men and we didn’t do that early on. We have to get better offensively.”
A three pointer by Shawnee cut Butler’s lead to 25-20 with 3:00 to play in the third period, but that was as close as they would get the rest of the way. The Aviators led 30-20 after three quarters and outscored the Braves 11-4 in the fourth period to set the final score.
Glover scored nine for the Aviators and Miles Joiner, who still isn’t fully recovered from an injury suffered during football season, added six.
“Quentin is a man down low,” said Wyrick. “There hasn’t been a team all year that’s been able to handle him. When he gets it down low he’s usually going to score. Miles will be fine – he pressed a bit tonight instead of letting it come to him.”
Butler will return to action on Friday, Dec. 9 when they travel to Piqua.
“We have athletes on the floor,” Wyrick said. “I think we can push the pace a bit and still stay under control. We can guard, and have the ability to rebound. They played their butts off defensively.”
Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.