Butler senior Demetrius McReynolds went on another scoring spree against Western, leading the Bears to a 62-44 victory in a 22nd District Tournament semifinal Wednesday night at Doss.
While McReynolds will graduate this spring, district rivals will have to worry about one of his teammates, sophomore William Johnson, for the next two seasons. McReynolds muscled his way to 20 of his 25 points and 9 of his 13 rebounds in the first half as Butler extended its winning streak to nine games while advancing to Friday’s 7:30 p.m. final against Doss.
Johnson scored 12 of his 20 points in the second half, when McReynolds played more of a passing role. “I was dishing it off then,” he said after recording five assists for the 21-7 Bears, who rank 17th statewide in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings.
Regardless of the outcome on the district final, both Butler and Doss (19-9) will advance to next week’s Sixth Region Tournament at Valley’s new gym.
Asked how important the district final is, McReynolds said, “It means a lot to us. We’ve won the district three straight years. We want to be the first Butler team to win it four straight times.”
It was Butler’s second win over Western this month. The Bears walloped the Warriors 77-45 on Feb. 8 at Butler, when McReynolds scored 30 points.
“We didn’t come out knocking down shots like we did the first time we played them,” Butler coach Shawn Purlee said. “I told the kids it wouldn’t be like the last time, but I wasn’t worried.”
Purlee was pleased with how McReynolds and Johnson played.
“When Demetrius plays aggressively he’s a load (to handle),” Purlee said. “Both Demetrius and William are 6 feet 2 and 200 pounds, and when they don’t settle for 3s they can play well.”
Western (9-13) entered the game fresh off a 59-56 upset of No. 11 Fairdale. The Warriors jumped out to an 8-2 lead on a three-point basket by point guard Jamel Clay, a two-pointer by Clay and a three by Kittrell Withers, but that lead quickly evaporated.
Butler went on a 12-0 run, led 35-25 at halftime and never lost the lead in the second half.
“McReynolds played like he didn’t want this to be his last game,” Western coach Terrence Moorman said. “Our effort was better than the last time against Butler, but the difference in the game was them making shots and us not making shots.”
Western…15 10 12 7 — 44
Butler…18 17 14 13 — 62
Western (9-13) — Clay 11, Brown 11, P. Moore 6, Withers 7, Harris 2, McCraw 5, Crumes 2.
Butler (21-7) — McReynolds 25, Johnson 20, Farrell 10, Harbin 4, Blanks 3.
3-point goals: Brown 2, Clay, Withers; McReynolds 3, Farrell 2, Johnson.