By LIONEL TIPTON
EL DORADO – Butler girls’s basketball coach Mike Helmer’s quest for a whole sport by his Grizzlies goes on.
Butler bought off to a sluggish begin Wednesday evening, capturing simply 28.1 p.c within the first half and falling behind Twenty first-ranked Dodge Metropolis, 32-23, on the break.
As soon as the fourth quarter arrived, the Grizzlies started to point out glimpses of the play that had earned them their present No. 23 rating, hitting 57 p.c of their pictures (eight of 14).
However by then, they have been trailing the Conquistadors, 55-40, and though they lower the deficit to 4 factors twice within the last 4 minutes, that might be as shut as they’d get in a 69-63 loss on the Energy Plant.
“One of many issues we talked about earlier than the sport is we’ve bought to study to play 4 quarters,” Helmer mentioned. “We haven’t carried out that this 12 months. Towards Hutch (a 55-40 upset Saturday of the then-No. 11 Blue Dragons), we did it (for) 2½ quarters, and that was adequate to win the sport. It was adequate (Saturday), however we’ve simply bought to study to start out enjoying 4 quarters.”
The loss was a rap within the mouth that Helmer hopes will function a wakeup name.
“(Assistant) coach (Abby) Fawcett mentioned it – our ‘womanhood’ bought challenged just a little bit, and we’ve bought to rise to the problem of the physicality of the sport,” he mentioned.
“It’s my job to fret in regards to the officiating; you’ll be able to’t do sure issues and be mentally weak. You’ve bought to be mentally robust. It’s not the most important individual that wins the battles; it’s the hardest.
“You’ve simply bought to have that can to stay your nostril in there and battle. We’ve bought to determine a option to get harder with that.”
Dodge Metropolis (10-2, 5-1) took benefit of the lackluster Butler begin, cleansing up the boards and holding a 22-14 edge at halftime.
“We bought simply destroyed within the first half of the sport,” Helmer mentioned. “They out-physicaled us, they outworked us, they outdid all the things.”
Butler (9-2, 5-2), struggling its first residence lack of the season, outscored Dodge within the last interval, 23-14. To Butler’s credit score, it outrebounded the Conqs within the second half, 22-16.
“(We’ve bought) rising pains proper now just a little bit,” Helmer mentioned. “Within the constructive, we confirmed everyone within the fourth (quarter) that we are able to compete with anyone. We’re 9-2 (and) each objective that we set from the start of the 12 months is all nonetheless there – we’ve by no means set a objective in my teaching profession to go undefeated. We might nonetheless win the league; we might nonetheless win the area; we might nonetheless go to nationals.
“We might nonetheless do all the things; we’ve simply bought to get higher on daily basis.”
Freshman Maycie James was hampered by foul hassle all through the sport and was restricted to simply 16 minutes, however she managed a double-double of 10 factors and 10 rebounds earlier than fouling out on a questionable charging name with 1:20 left within the sport.
“After that (name), I needed to flip round and kneel down and say just a few phrases to myself, as a result of I used to be about to get ‘T’d’ up on that one,” Helmer mentioned. “It’s simply a type of conditions the place she’s enjoying so properly for us with the foul state of affairs that she’s bought to discover a option to keep on the ground.”
Earlier than she left, James contributed eight factors to the Grizzlies’ fourth-quarter comeback. Seven of James’ rebounds got here within the second half.
“(Within the fourth quarter) we stopped fouling, stopped doing foolish issues,” Helmer mentioned. “We performed protection to the place they’d shoot robust pictures as an alternative of fouling them.
“They’re No. 1 within the nation in freethrow capturing. Within the first half, they have been 7 of 8. I advised them, if we foul them, we are able to’t beat them. That’s what occurred.”
Grizzlies 6-3 freshman put up Freddie Wallace had a really uncharacteristic evening. She completed far under her averages in factors and rebounds with seven factors – simply two within the second half – and two rebounds in 24 minutes. “That was the distinction between being a freshman and studying what an upperclassman seems to be like,” Helmer mentioned. “They’ve bought two youngsters there who’re juniors (COVID sophomores), and he or she’s bought to study to go round them, as a result of they’re greater and stronger as an alternative of attempting to go excessive. She’s bought to study to not get bullied in these conditions.”
Butler’s aims have been all specified by the pregame scouting report, Helmer mentioned.
“The ‘scout’ was we needed to win unfastened balls, we needed to win rebounds, and we needed to beat them from the free-throw line,” he mentioned. “We don’t shoot (free throws) in addition to they do, so we knew that in the event that they shot 20 free throws, we’d need to shoot 35. Every part we talked about form of went reverse.”
Helmer mentioned his crew isn’t one that may summon excellent play at will.
“Perhaps we really feel we’re just a little too good, that we are able to flip it on and off after we need,” he mentioned. “The fact of it’s, we are able to’t do this.
“I advised the ladies they’re pretty much as good as anybody we’ll see in our league,” Helmer mentioned. “They’re the actual deal.”
Dodge Metropolis used a big peak benefit – the Conqs have simply three of their 12 gamers smaller than 5-foot-9 – and expertise benefit (Dodge has 9 sophomores, 4 of whom are juniors utilizing a COVID 12 months) to construct a lead that reached 19 factors earlier than Butler started its livid comeback.
The benefit was particularly noticeable within the paint, as Dodge’s peak benefit helped it snag missed pictures for putbacks or Butler misses that started the Conqs’ transition sport.
“They’re large and bodily,” Helmer mentioned. “They’re not simply tall; they’re bodily robust.
“However that’s good for our ladies, as a result of they see what the subsequent stage might be like.”
The Conqs’ skilled international gamers – six are from outdoors the U.S., and all however one are both from Australia or New Zealand – confirmed a deft capturing contact that comes with worldwide expertise.
As a crew, Dodge transformed eight of 29 from behind the arc to Butler’s six of 21. That distinction may need supplied the six factors Dodge wanted for the victory. It hit 5 within the second half to Butler’s two.
The groups can have a rematch Feb. 8 in Dodge Metropolis, and Helmer mentioned he hopes by then the Grizzlies can have lowered their foul numbers.
“To me, that’s the distinction in (Wednesday’s) sport, as a result of that was our complete scouting report,” he mentioned. “We advised them you needed to guard them, however you needed to again up off the dribble, as a result of they’re going to do an excellent job of going to the outlet. They did these issues (Wednesday evening), and it actually brought on us some issues.”
Butler’s tough pre-holiday schedule will shut with a sport Saturday at Cloud County (9-3, 4-2), losers of two straight, then a house date subsequent Monday in opposition to Barton (10-2, 4-2), which pounded Cloud by 15 on the highway Wednesday evening.
“We had two big-point wins with Colby and Northwest Tech,” Helmer mentioned. “There’ll be no extra. The remainder of them might be in all probability (inside) 10-12 factors, somehow. The battle of your life each evening.”