Defense prevails


Butler's defense never rests. 
Friday night, it couldn't afford to. 
The Golden Tornado sank only seven field goals all evening, but limited Seneca Valley to three through the first three quarters and posted a 31-25 Section 3_AAAA girls basketball victory. 

“We've played a lot of games like this all year,” Butler coach Dorothea Epps said.” We're not a team that's going to score 60 points. We know we have to hold the opposition down to win.” 

Butler (13-9, 9-3) finished in second place in the section. The Lady Raiders (8-12, 4-8) were eliminated from playoff contention with this Friday night loss. 
Seneca Valley was shut out in the third, but still trailed only 16-11 entering the final period. The halftime score was 11-11. 
Seneca Valley never led in the second half. The Raiders used a 9-0 run to assume an 11-7 lead with 2:58 left in the first half. 
“I never felt like we were out of this game,” SV coach Rob Lombardo said. “We missed a bunch of layups in the first half. If we make half of them, we're up six or eight points at halftime. 
“We held North Allegheny to 40 points and they're our section champion. Butler finished second and we held them to 31. I'll put our defense up against anyone's.” 

Paige Montrose came off the bench to score six points in the final quarter and was the Raiders' leading scorer. Abbie Trzeciak had seven rebounds, Montrose five in a losing cause. 
Butler had the game's only double-digit scorer in Mackenzie O'Donnell. She scored eight of her 12 points in the fourth quarter after rarely touching the ball in the first half. 
“We moved her around a little more in the second half, but Mac was posting up strong early in this game,” Epps said. “She was getting shoved around in there and we weren't getting calls on that.” 
“We denied her the ball and she still beat us late. That's why she's one of the best players in the section,” Lombardo said of O'Donnell. “She's a go-to player offensively. Every team in this section has one of those but us.” 
O'Donnell had nine rebounds and Cait Baxter grabbed seven for the Golden Tornado. 
“We get pumped up to play defense, especially when the score was as low as tonight,” O'Donnell said. “It shows we're doing the job on that end of the court.” 
The teams combined to sink eight of 48 shots from the field through the first three quarters. 
Kaitlyn Eagle is the lone senior on SV's roster. The Raiders have two non-section games remaining. 
“I feel badly for Kaitlyn that we're not in the playoffs and I was hoping we could use a playoff game — even if we're one and done — to let our younger players experience it,” Lombardo said. 
“Had we gotten the lead at any point in the second half, we were going to hold the ball. I'd have taken a 13-11 win. We just needed a win.” 
Epps lauded the effort of the visiting Raiders. 
“They came at us hard and never quit. They needed this game and were determined to get it,” she said. “We didn't finish our plays offensively very well, but our defense held us in.” 
Kaityln Eagle 0-8 0-0 0, Jane Vandrak 1-4 0-0 2, Meghan Hess 1-5 0-0 3, Katie Brown 0-2 0-0 0, Hanna Parey 2-3 0-0 5, Paige Montrose 3-6 0-2 6, Lexus Lambert 1-2 2-2 5, Melissa Carter 0-1 2-2 2, Abbie Trzeciak 1-7 0-0 2, Alexa Sisko 0-3 0-0 0. Totals: 9-41 4-6 25. 
Alyssa DiPippa 1-2 3-5 5, Natalie Barkus 2-7 0-0 5, Mackenzie O'Donnell 2-5 8-10 12, Sam Marak 0-2 2-7 2, Morgan Pfabe 0-0 0-0 0, Cait Baxter 1-6 3-4 5, Kaylynn Callihan 0-1 0-0 0, Julia Baxter 1-2 0-0 2.
Totals: 7-25 16-25 31. 
Seneca Valley 2 9 0 14—25 
Butler7 4 5 15—31 
3-point goals: Hess, Pare, Lambert; Barkus 
JV: Butler, 36-29 (SV: Melissa Carter 13; B: Alyssa DiPippa 10, Julia Baxter 8)