The Bulldogs are one win away from the Southwestern 4A regular season championship
MATTHEWS, N.C. — In high school sports, experience is often invaluable. Whether it’s a senior quarterback, point guard, or goalkeeper, there’s rarely a good substitute for “having been there, done that.” Just don’t tell that to Myron Lowery, first-year head coach of the Butler Bulldogs.
“There’s a lot of talent on this team, and even though we’re young, they’ve bought in from day one. Just having them over the summer, I felt we had a good group, and we’d have a good season.”
With a roster that has only two seniors, Lowery is quick to point out his team is young, but they have plenty of experience.
“Rae’Quan [Scott] and Orlando [Robinson] have three years of varsity experience, and a lot of our other players have come off the bench in past years.”
Rae’Quan and Orlando give Butler one of the best backcourts in the region, and Lowery has a ton of confidence in his guard tandem.
“You’ve got to have good guards. Whether it’s high school, college, or pro level. They compliment each other really well and they do things together that you can tell is instinct.”
The Bulldogs’ 17-game winning streak was broken February 3, and many questioned how the Bulldogs would answer after being handed a loss for the first time in two months. For Scott, the loss was a good opportunity to hit the reset button mentally.
“I felt like before we reached the postseason, we needed something to make us work harder and keep us hungry. Nobody wants to lose, but in the long run it can be good for us. We don’t have that long streak in our heads or any of the extra pressure around school. We basically get to start over and keep working.”
Lowery’s team rebounded from the loss with a vengeance, steamrolling Porter Ridge 85-56. The Bulldogs had their biggest first half of the season, outscoring the Pirates 50-18. Senior Art Labinowicz told his teammates the Rocky River game wouldn’t define their season.
“I told everyone in the locker room, we’ve got to come out hungry to get this win. We came out strong in the first half, got up 50-18, and kept playing hard to finish and get the win. We have to stay hungry if we want to win in the playoffs.”
With a plethora of shooters and role players who always seem to find a way to make the clutch plays, Butler’s leadership is something that Lowery feels the entire team contributes, rather than a solitary voice.
“It’s been a collective group, to be quite honest, rather than a single voice. And I prefer that. Everyone’s thrown a little bit into the pot for us, and it’s been good.”
One of the those leaders is two-sport star Jay Gibbs. A star linebacker for the football team, Gibbs recently signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Western Carolina on a football scholarship. With the Bulldogs advancing in the state playoffs, Jay’s transition to basketball took some time, but his work ethic got him back in basketball shape in time for Butler’s conference season.
“It took me a while, definitely more than last year. I started getting into a flow midseason, and it was a challenge, but I’m definitely back in basketball shape now.”
Butler closes the regular season Thursday at Independence, with the Bulldogs eyeing a conference championship. A victory also gives Butler their first regular season sweep of the Patriots since 2011-12.