Callihan’s treys spark Butler, 50-39


BUTLER TWP — Kalynn Callihan spotted up for a 3-pointer from the left wing, received a crisp pass from Mackenzie O’Donnell from the post and fired up a shot. 

Thirty seconds later, the sophomore guard on the Butler girls basketball team did it again. 

And just like that, the Golden Tornado were up 6-0. 
Callihan went on to make three more 3-pointers — all of them daggers into the comeback hopes of Pine-Richland — as Butler ousted the Rams at home 50-39 Thursday night. 

With Callihan’s sharp shooting, Cait Baxter slashing to the rim and O’Donnell’s sometimes-dominating presence inside, the Golden Tornado may have their own “Big Three.” 
“With the tandem of (O’Donnell) and Cait, then you throw in Callihan,” said Butler coach Dorothea Epps, “that loosens things up some.” 
The trio combined for 41 of the 50 points scored by Butler (5-7, 1-1). 

The Tornado came into the game averaging 41 points per game as a team. 
That, though, changed early as Butler closed the first quarter on a 9-0 run to take an 18-9 lead. 

O’Donnell had nine points and eight rebounds in the first eight minutes of the game. 
“The plan was not to let (O’Donnell) touch the ball,” said first-year Pine-Richland coach Cliff Foster, a Knoch graduate. “When we scouted her, every time she touched the ball, whether she shoots it or not, good things happened. 
She’s just one of those girls,” Foster added. “She may be the best big girl in Quad-A of the WPIAL when you look at it.”

The Rams (4-6, 2-2) adjusted, however, bracketing O’Donnell. The plan worked as the senior scored just four more points the rest of the game. 
What Foster didn’t expect was the emergence of Callihan. 
“We wanted them to take some of the shots they took, but they made them,” Foster said. “That was in the scouting report: let them let them fly. I didn’t think they’d have the green light that they did.” 
Callihan definitely has gotten the green light as of late. She missed the Bethel Park game because of illness, but has grown more and more as the season has gone along into a dangerous shooter and a tenacious defender. 

“I’ll do anything to help the team out,” Callihan said. “I just want to pitch in where I can.” 
Callihan hit two more big 3-pointers in the third quarter, the first putting a stop to a Pine-Richland run that trimmed the Butler lead to four and the second putting the Tornado back up by eight. 
She said the first 11 games of this season and the playing time she received as a freshman has given her the confidence to perform like she did against the Rams. 
“I’ve learned a lot actually — the game, the speed,” Callihan said. “It was good that I got in last year because it helped calm the nerves. I’m a lot less nervous this year.” 
The first section win of the season should do wonders for the Golden Tornado nerves as well. 
“In our section, it’s kind of like, ‘Who’s going to go get it? It’s a jumble already,” said Epps of Section 3-AAAA, which just a few games into league play doesn’t have an unbeaten team. “All the teams are vying to get into those top four spots. I don’t see a really dominating team, so every night, it’s a battle.” 
Morgan Marek 0-1 0-0 0, Marisa Hombosky 2-7 3-4 7, Julia Frazier 0-4 0-0 0, Chelsea Rourke 4-12 3-4 11, Kaitlyn Jenkins 2-4 0-3 4, Abbey Kalin 1-1 0-0 2, Amanda Reba 0-0 0-0 0, Kati Altman 1-3 1-2 3, Maria Battaglia 1-2 0-0 2, Caitlin McMaster 4-10 0-0 10. Totals: 15-44 7-13 39. 
Natalie Barkus 1-2 2-2 4, Mackenzie O’Donnell 4-12 5-6 13, Sam Marak 0-2 1-4 1, Morgan Pfabe 1-7 1-3 4, Cait Baxter 4-7 5-5 13, Kalynn Callihan 5-13 0-0 15, Lauren Bresnahan 0-0 0-0 0, Noel Pfabe 0-0 0-0 0.
Totals: 15-43 14-20 50. 
Pine-Richland 9 6 11 13—39 
Butler18 6 9 17—50 
3-point goals: Pine-Richland 2 (McMaster 2). Butler 6 (Callihan 5, M. Pfabe) 

JV: Butler 38-25