3-pointers, clutch free throws lift Butler over North Hills


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Butler's David Tompkins (35) drives to the basket between North Hills defenders Sam Tovissi (24) and Danny White (22) Friday night. The Golden Tornado posted a 66-51 victory in their section opener.
Dave Prelosky/Butler Eagle




BUTLER TWP — Butler welcomed back an old friend Friday night.
The outside shot.
The Golden Tornado — struggling from the perimeter in their first three games — sank seven treys and canned 23 of 24 free throws in defeating North Hills, 66-51, in a mutual Section 3-AAAA boys basketball opener in the Butler gym.
“This is the way we've been shooting all summer and in preseason,” Butler coach Matt Clement said. “This is what I've been expecting to see.
“Cody West and Luke Hartung have the potential to be the two best outside shooters I've had in my three years here. If teams are going to throw everything but the kitchen sink at Nate (Snodgrass), those guys have to be open.”
They were — and they delivered.
West hit three of his four 3-pointers in the second quarter, helping the Tornado build a 40-28 lead by halftime. Hartung's second trey of the game gave Butler a 47-32 advantage midway through the third quarter.
Butler's lead peaked at 18 (52-34) on a three-point play by David Tompkins with 3:07 left in the third quarter.
“West's shooting pretty much took us out of our zone and they were beating us to the basket,” North Hills coach Buzz Gabos said.
Tompkins had seven points and seven rebounds for Butler (3-1, 1-0).
“David played a nuts and bolts kind of game,” Clement said. “He battled hard on the boards and took three charges in the first quarter.
“Those charges can have a double effect. You get the turnover and you get fouls called on the other team.”
Fouls are nothing new to North Hills (2-3, 0-1).
“We've been in foul trouble in every game but one so far this year,” Gabos said.
Alex Wright fouled out with 1:34 to play for North Hills. Three other Indian starters finished the game with four fouls each, including 6-foot-8 center Steve Hearty, who managed only six points and five rebounds on the night.
“Luke Tincha did a great job this week in practice, simulating Hearty,” said Clement. “There's 22 guys in this locker room and they all play a role.”
The Tornado had a 56-44 lead with 5:25 left when they decided to run clock. After controlling the ball for more than a minute, Snodgrass was fouled and missed the front end of a one-and-one with 4:17 to play.
The errant free throw was Butler's only one all night. Wright scored a layup on the other end and the Indians regained possession with more than 3 minutes left.
“We missed a 3-pointer that could have cut it to seven,” Gabos said. “We were in the game at that point. But we had to deny Snodgrass the ball.”
They didn't and the game was over.
Butler's senior point guard finished with 25 points, seven rebounds and three assists. He was 16 of 17 at the line, 8 of 9 in the fourth quarter.
“We didn't force him to be a scorer. We put him at the line and let him shoot free throws,” Gabos said. “With that kid, you just can't do that.”
West and Jake Hilliard contributed 12 points each for Butler. The Tornado held a 28-23 edge in rebounding.
“We feel like we're in better condition than most teams, so when Coach sees they're tired, we run clock,” Snodgrass said.
“We need our outside shooting and free throws because with Bobby (Swartwout) gone, we're not going to be as productive inside. If we're going to win the section, we need our outside shooting.”
Sam Tovissi paced North Hills with 16 points. Joel Pepmeyer had 10 points and eight boards while Wright scored 10 points.
“This was a good team win, just what we needed before heading to Shaler on Tuesday,” Clement said.

Cory O'Malley 0-1 0-0 0, Tom Gavin 0-0 0-0 0, Mike Sieber 1-2 0-0 2, Bryce Henny 1-4 0-4 2, Alex Wright 4-14 2-2 10, Sam Tovissi 5-9 4-6 16, Mark McIntyre 0-0 0-0 0, Joel Pepmeyer 5-9 0-0 10, Steve Hearty 1-4 4-4 6, Danny White 2-3 0-0 5. Totals: 19-46 10-16 51.
Nate Snodgrass 4-9 16-17 25, Cody West 4-9 0-0 12, Trevor Wideman 1-3 0-0 2, Jake Hilliard 5-8 2-2 12, Dom Pusateri 0-0 0-0 0, Luke Hartung 2-4 0-0 6, Matt Baranchak 0-3 2-2 2, David Tompkins 2-3 3-3 7, Keenan Krause 0-0 0-0 0, Zach Pilarcik 0-1 0-0 0, Arum Krause 0-0 0-0 0, Luke Tincha 0-0 0-0 0, Lucas Wesolek 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 18-41 23-24 66.
North Hills 6 22 12 11—51
Butler 12 28 14 12—66
3-point goals:
North Hills 3 (Tovissi 2, White); Butler 7 (Snodgrass, West 4, Hartung 2).
Junior varsity: Butler, 52-47 (B: Lucas Wesolek 10, NH: Tanner Bergman 10)