Vikings plundered
Late free throws propel
Butler to section win

By John Enrietto
Eagle Sports Editor

PITTSBURGH — Central Catholic had momentum early — and had Butler scrambling late.
The Golden Tornado sank three free throws in the final 12 seconds, however, to hold off the host Vikings, 55-52, for a Section 3-AAAA boys basketball victory Friday night at Alumni Hall.
“Our backs were against the wall tonight, down 15-7 in the first quarter in a game we had to win in the toughest gym to play at in this section,”
Butler coach Matt Clement said. “I'm so proud of these kids that I want to cry.”
Central (6-6, 3-2) used a 13-0 run to grab that 15-7 lead with three minutes left in the opening quarter. But
Butler's Vinnie Schmidt came off the bench to stick back an offensive rebound for a score.
Jake Hilliard came off the bench to can two free throws and Cody Herald converted a steal into a layup to knot the score at 15 with 40 seconds left in the opening period.
“I made some lineup changes the past couple of games. I know the reasons and the kids know the reasons,” Clement said. “Nobody's sulking about it. Anyone who plays hard on this team is going to play. They all know that.”
Butler (6-6, 2-3) used 11 players in the first half alone.
A Schmidt layup with
2:08 left in the first half snapped a 24-24 tie and gave the Tornado the lead for good. A Zach Slater 3-pointer with 48 seconds to go hiked the lead to 29-24 at intermission.
“We had some early momentum, then turned the ball over on three straight possessions and they got back in it,” Vikings coach Chuck Crummie said.
Butler led by as many as 11 points (39-28) midway through the third quarter and had a nine-point advantage with 5:03 left in the game when Central began whittling away.
The Tornado led 52-47 when Bobby Swartwout missed the front end of a one-and-one with
1:02 remaining. Mike Anselmo drained his second trey of the night with 40 seconds left and the Vikings trailed by two.
The teams exchanged turnovers before Swartwout sank one of two free throws with 12 seconds left. The Vikings' Claude Scott drove to the basket for a layup with 4.8 seconds left to cut the gap to 53-52.
The Vikings had to foul Nate Snodgrass on
Butler's inbounds play. The junior point guard hit both free throws with 2.3 seconds left and Central's desperation toss from beyond halfcourt wasn't close at the buzzer.
“I knew those free throws would seal it because they had no time to get a 3,” Snodgrass said. “This is big for us. We couldn't afford to fall to 1-4 in the section.”
Schmidt, Hilliard and Slater each scored 11 points for
Butler, which had a 28-22 edge in rebounds. Swartwout had six caroms and Schmidt had five.
The Tornado had 17 turnovers to Central's 12.
“This was a physical, scrappy game and the intensity was pretty high,” Slater said. “We had to play to that level, especially here.
“Coach has been stressing defense in practices and, yeah, I responded to that. I saw it as a way for me to get on the floor.”
Lincoln Davis, averaging 19.5 points per game, scored 16 for Central. Anselmo had 10.

Nate Snodgrass 0-5 5-6 5, Trevor Wideman 1-1 0-0 3, Cody West 0-1 0-0 0, Cody Herald 2-2 0-0 5, Zach Slater 4-8 1-1 11, Jake Hilliard 3-6 4-4 11, Bill Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Vinnie Schmidt 5-6 1-2 11, David Tompkins 0-0 0-0 0, Bobby Swartwout 3-6 1-3 7, Matt Baranchak 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 19-38 12-16 55.
Christian Joiner 1-1 0-0 3, Eric Urda 1-3 0-0 2, Nolan Doyle 1-1 2-2 4, Christian Wasik 1-4 0-0 2, Mike Anselmo 4-9 0-0 10, Claude Scott 3-5 1-2 8, Lincoln Davis 7-19 2-7 16, David Urso 1-1 0-0 2, Justin Ford 1-1 0-0 2, Sam Calhoun 1-3 0-2 3, Joe Marchione 0-0 0-0 0, Brandon Farrell 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 21-47 5-14 52.
Butler 15 14 12 14—55
Central Catholic 15 9 13 15—52
3-point goals:
Butler 5 (Wideman, Slater 2, Hilliard, Herald); Central Catholic 5 (Joiner, Anselmo 2, Scott, Calhoun).