Golden Tornado defense cracks Knoch in victory
BUTLER TWP — It's hard to score if you don't get a shot.
Just ask the Knoch girls basketball team.
The Butler defense was smothering and stifling Monday night, holding the Knights without a field goal attempt for a seven-minute span in the second half on the way to a 63-32 win.
"We're not going to see a defensive team like Butler all year," said Knoch coach Curt Vasas.
It's a good thing, too, as the Knights might have nightmares for weeks about this one.
After Knoch cut the Butler lead to 13-11 late in the first quarter, the Golden Tornado defense went to work, swirling like a cyclone as it sucked up every loose ball, errant pass and poor dribble.
By the time Knoch's Regina Robb attempted a twisting, off-balance shot that barely grazed the rim with 2:50 remaining in the second quarter for the Knights' first shot attempt since late in the first quarter, Butler had turned a two-point lead into a 31-13 lead.
The only two Knoch points came on free throws.
"Defense is always going to be our bread and butter," said Butler coach Dorothea Epps. "I challenged them because I knew this game was a trap-type game for us. I give (Knoch) a lot of credit. They came out fighting."
For Knoch (1-2), the game was more about gauging its progress.
Last year, the Knights struggled while breaking in young talent. This year, with that young group a year older and much wiser, Vasas is expecting a bounceback year.
Except for that seven-minute stretch, Vasas said his team played well.
"There were parts of the game I thought we played very well," Vasas said. "Obviously, there were times when we wish we would have executed better, but I think we got something out of tonight."
Mainly, a go-to player.
Laura Gray scored 20 of the Knights' 32 points and was the only consistent scoring threat for Knoch.
Meanwhile,Butler (3-0) was spreading the wealth.
Nine players scored at least one bucket for Butler, led by Jenna Manuel, who scored 14 points — including three 3-pointers.
Olivia Bresnahan showcased her all-around game with 14 points, four steals and several assists for the Golden Tornado.
Bresnahan was also a force on defense, an area the junior has put particular emphasis on this season.
"We've challenged her," Epps said. "She's never been a bad defender.She's been a good defender, but we want her to be a great defender. We'll keep after her about working on the defensive end."
With Butler's style of defense, depth is important and, three games into the season, it appears Epps has found some.
Sophomore Ali Sedwick came off the bench to score seven points and the Butler reserves played significant minutes and pitched in 20 points.
"(Depth) is huge," Epps said. "It's huge.