Tornado girls drop Pine-Richland


Butler coach Dorothea Epps had an uneasy feeling about Monday's game against Pine-Richland. 
She sensed a letdown was possible, but in the end, her team wouldn't allow it, sinking all eight of its free-throw attempts down the stretch in a 38-32 Section 3-AAAA victory. 
“We were coming off a big win (32-31 over Oakland Catholic in overtime Saturday) and we had a day to get ready,” said Epps. “I could tell at practice we didn't look sharp. 
“It's a tough section. Every team will come at you, especially on the road,” she added. 
The Tornado (10-9, 6-3) — which sits in second place in the section behind North Allegheny (15-2, 8-1) and ahead of Oakland Catholic (7-11, 6-4) — had their hands full with the Rams, who stayed close, but were limited to 11 second-half points. 
“Dorothea switched up a chaotic trapping zone and our girls panicked,” Pine-Richland coach Cliff Foster said. “Twenty turnovers in the second half after just three or four in the first half. 
That's been our issue,” he added. “A lot of our girls are inexperienced.”

The Tornado broke a 10-all tie when Cait Baxter and Mackenzie O'Donnell scored the final two baskets of the first quarter and Kalynn Callihan opened the second quarter with a layup to give Butler a 16-10 lead with 7:37 remaining before halftime. 

The Rams, however, outscored Butler 11-0 the rest of the frame — capped by a 3-pointer from Marisa Hombosky and a pair of free throws and score by Maria Battaglia — to open up a 21-16 lead. 

“We felt we needed to speed up, to come out and trap them,” Epps said. “That we got turnovers was great, although not a lot of them we turned into points.” 
Butler assumed control in the second half thanks to its defense, but the Tornado still had trouble pulling away. 
Butler opened the third quarter with scores by O'Donnell and Callihan within the first minute of play, then O'Donnell added two free throws in four attempts to give Butler a 22-21 lead with 4:34 left. 
A pair of Caitlin McMaster free throws less than one minute later reverted the lead back to the Rams (5-15, 2-8). 
The teams were tied at 28 with less than four minutes remaining, before Natalie Barkus gave Butler the lead for good on a putback with 3:35 remaining. 

O'Donnell missed all three of her free-throw attempts in the Tornado's next two possessions, but O'Donnell, Sam Marak and Baxter each drained two free throws apiece on the next three trips down to open up a 36-28 advantage with 1:02 to play to seal the win. 

“This team is getting mentally tough,” Epps said of her squad. “You can't go to sleep with any team in this section. (Pine-Richland's) girls played hard. Cliff has them going in the right direction.” 
“We had some young kids give us some good minutes,” said Foster, who used 11 different players in the first half. “There are so many kids and you're trying to find the right combinations. There's value to that.” 
O'Donnell led all scorers with 15 points, while the Rams received a team-high 10 points from Battaglia. 
Natalie Barkus 2 0-0 5, Mackenzie O'Donnell 4 7-12 15, Sam Marak 1 2-2 4, Cait Baxter 2 4-5 8, Kalynn Callihan 2 0-0 4, Morgan Pfabe 0 0-0 0, Alyssa DiPippa 0 2-2 2, Lauren Bresnahan 0 0-0 0.
Totals: 11 15-21 38. 
Marisa Hombosky 2 0-0 6, Chelsea Rourke 0 2-4 2, Kati Altman 0 0-0 0, Maria Battaglia 3 4-4 10, Caitlin McMaster 1 4-4 6, Kaitlyn Jenkins 1 0-0 2, Julia Frazier 0 3-4 3, Hannah Fassler 0 0-0 0, Angie Sporrer 0 0-0 0, Abbey Kalin 1 1-2 3, Morgan Marek 0 0-0 0. Totals: 8 14-18 32. 
Butler 14 2 12 10—38 
Pine-Richland10 11 4 7—32 
3-point goals: Butler 1 (Barkus); Pine-Richland 2 (Hombosky 2) 

JV: Butler, 34-21