OAKWOOD — The Butler Lady Aviators traveled to Oakwood on Saturday afternoon but the Jills proved to be Grinch as the Aviators struggled offensively and fell 55-44.
The non-conference loss left Butler 4-4 overall and headed to Franklin (5-2) on Wednesday. Franklin has won four straight games.
The iron wasn’t kind to Butler from the beginning on Saturday. Abbie Schoenherr got the Aviators on the board with a three-pointer with 4:42 to play in the first quarter, but the Aviators wouldn’t score again for another three minutes. Shoenherr and a pair of free throws by Megan Allen got the Aviators within 3 at 10-7 at the end of the first period.
The Aviators were in catch-up mode all afternoon.
Oakwood scored the first five points of the second quarter to lead 15-7, and free throws by Jacie Dalton and a three by Willow Knight got Butler withing 3 at 15-12. But as would be the case the entire game, every time Butler made a run Oakwood responded with one of their own to keep Butler at arm’s length.
Tyree Fletcher got a put back off an offensive rebound and then hit a free throw on Butler’s next possession before Knight hit a three with 1:22 left to get the Aviators to within 3 at 21-18. Knight, who led Butler with 14 points, narrowly missed tying the game as her three-pointer at the buzzer was just short.
After Oakwood hit a pair of free throws to open the second half, Knight again connected from three to get the Aviators to withing two at 23-21 but that was as close as Butler would get the rest of the game.
Lauren Hapgood, who leads the Jills in scoring, dominated the third quarter while scoring 11 points as Oakwood eased out to a 38-29 advantage. Butler got four three pointers in the fourth period – two by Dalton and one each by Schoenherr and Knight – but were unable to close the gap.
Fletcher did not play in the second half for undisclosed reasons. Her absence, coupled with limited second-half playing time for Maddie Mitchell due to an injury, left the Aviators with a lineup with limited varsity experience.
Reach by Darrell Wacker at (937) 684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.