LEXINGTON, Ky. – If there were any concerns about the Butler High School girls basketball team after a season-opening loss to Male, the Bearettes are well on their way to putting them to rest.
On Friday, Butler completed an impressive run through the prestigious Traditional Bank Holiday Classic, beating Manual 62-50 in the championship game at Lexington Catholic.
No. 1 in the state in The Courier-Journal’s preseason poll of coaches and the defending state champion, Butler (9-1) has won nine straight since falling to Male 68-62 on Nov. 29.
“I think it humbled us a little bit and helped us realize we have to bring it every single game,” senior guard Bre Torrens said. “That’s what we’ve been trying to do since then.”
Indiana University signee Jaelynn Penn posted 18 points and five steals in the championship game and earned tournament MVP honors. Torrens and Tasia Jeffries both scored 10 points, and Molly Lockhart added nine points, five rebounds and three blocks.
Butler shot 54.3 percent (25 of 46), including 9 of 18 from 3-point range. Jeffries hit 3 of 7 3-point attempts.
“We shot the ball really well this week,” Torrens said. “Hopefully we can keep that up.”
Jaela Johnson scored 19 points to lead Manual, and sophomore Nila Blackford continued to show she could have a breakout season with 13 points and six rebounds.
No. 11 Manual (10-1) suffered its first loss of the season, but coach Jeff Sparks said he was impressed with his squad’s 4-1 mark in the tournament, including wins over No. 15 East Carter and No. 4 Sacred Heart.
“(Butler) is a great basketball team, and this was a tremendous opportunity to see where we are at against a team like that,” Sparks said. “I thought we competed well.”
The first half included eight lead changes before Butler closed it with a 13-4 run, capped by a Teri Goodlett 3-pointer that gave the Bearettes a 37-29 halftime edge.
Torrens started the second half with a 3-pointer before Manual battled back, pulling with 47-43 on Blackford’s 3-point play with 7:19 remaining.
But Penn scored five straight points and Jeffries nailed a 3-pointer during an 8-0 run that gave Butler a 55-43 lead with 5:45 left. Manual never got closer than 10 points the rest of the way.
“They shot the ball, and we missed a few rotations on our end that we’ll need to be better at down the road,” Sparks said. “We need to continue to improve our defense and figure out how to guard teams with great shooters like Butler has. This was a way for us to see what works and what doesn’t.”
Ryle 70, Sacred Heart 65: The Raiders (6-7) scored the final six points of overtime to beat the No. 4 Valkyries (7-2) in the third-place game.
Lauren Schwartz (22 points, nine rebounds), Maddie Scherr (21 points, eight rebounds) and Jaiden Douthit (18 points) had big games for the Raiders.
Grace Berger paced Sacred Heart with 24 points and 10 rebounds.
Manual 67, Sacred Heart 53: Johnson scored 30 points to lead the Crimsons over the Valkyries.
Blackford added 15 points and 14 rebounds for Manual, which outrebounded Sacred Heart 51-32 and scored 24 second-chance points to break the game open in the second half after leading 25-24 at halftime.
Erin Toller scored 16 points to lead Sacred Heart.
Butler 72, Ryle 45: Jeffries scored a game-high 20 points and Penn added 17 points, eight rebounds, four assists and four steals as the Bearettes whipped the Raiders. Juliet McGregor led Ryle with 16 points.
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and email@example.com.
MANUAL 14 15 11 10 – 50
BUTLER 18 19 7 18 – 62
MANUAL (10-1) – Jaela Johnson 19p; Tyonne Howard 7p, 4a; Jeanay Riley 3p; Aniah Griffin 3p, 6r; Tonysha Curry 5p; Nila Blackford 13p, 6r;
BUTLER (9-1) – Bre Torrens 10p, 6a, 5r; Tasia Jeffries 10p; Kiara Cain 6p; Jaelynn Penn 18p, 5s; Teri Goodlett 9p, 6a; Molly Lockhart 9p, 5r, 3b.
SACRED HEART 17 11 19 12 6 – 65
RYLE 15 15 17 12 11 – 70
SACRED HEART (7-2) – Cierra Scott 2p; Ashlee Harris 2p, 4a; Kiki Samsel 13p, 4s; Erin Toller 6p; Kia Sivils 14p, 7r; Kristen Clemons 4p; Grace Berger 24p, 10r.
RYLE (6-7) – Brie Crittendon 2p; Juliet McGregor 5p, 7r; Lauren Schwartz 22p, 9r, 3s; Madison Sturdivant 2p; Maddie Scherr 21p, 8r; Jaiden Douthit 18p.
SACRED HEART 14 10 11 18 – 53
MANUAL 15 10 17 25 – 67
SACRED HEART (7-1) – Destinee Marshall 2p; Ashlee Harris 7p; Kiki Samsel 3p; Erin Toller 16p; Kia Sivils 8p; Kristen Clemons 4p; Grace Berger 11p, 10r; Taylor Utter 2p.
MANUAL (10-0) – Jaela Johnson 30p; Tyonne Howard 6p, 3s; Aniah Griffin 10p; Tonysha Curry 6p, 13r, 4a, 3s; Nila Blackford 15p, 14r.
RYLE 10 15 12 8 – 45
BUTLER 20 14 14 24 – 72
RYLE (5-7) – Brie Crittendon 6p; Juliet McGregor 16p, 6r, 3s; Lauren Schwartz 12p, 6r; Madison Sturdivant 4p; Maddie Scherr 3p, 6r, 4a, 3s; Jaiden Douthit 4p.
BUTLER (8-1) – Bre Torrens 13p; Tasia Jeffries 20p; Jasmine Elder 2p; Kiara Cain 6p; Doneah Marshall 2p; Jaelynn Penn 17p, 8r, 4a, 4s; Teri Goodlett 11p; Molly Lockhart 1p, 8r.