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Butler girls bow to Kiski Area, 55-47, at Armstrong Tip-Off Tournament

Game One
Avery Maier is boxed out by Kiski Area's Rikiya Garcia-Broaden during a free-throw attempt
Butler's Avery Maier, middle, is boxed out by Kiski Area's Rikiya Garcia-Broaden, left, during a free-throw attempt at the Armstrong Tip-Off Tournament in Manor Township Friday afternoon. The Golden Tornado fell short in a 55-47 decision. Jared Todhunter/Special to the Eagle

MANOR TWP, Armstrong County — Butler’s Mark Maier would rather have watched his girls hoops team throw the ball up from another zip code than the Friday afternoon alternative.

In their season-opener at the Armstrong Tip-Off Tournament, the Golden Tornado gave the ball away 22 times against Kiski Area, allowing the Cavaliers to bucket 20 points off turnovers in a 55-47 win.

“We’re a pretty good shooting team, and every turnover is a missed shot,” Maier said. “It’s a shot we didn’t take, so it’s a miss. I tell the girls, ‘I’d rather shoot from half court than turn it over.’”

After battling back from as much as eight down late in the third quarter, Butler (0-1) squandered a 41-38 advantage by gifting their opponents a few giveaways that led to easy baskets on the other end.

“Sometimes live-ball turnovers turn into 1-on-0 fast breaks — and that’s what it was,” Maier said. “We were up early fourth and they closed the game (with a) 17-6 run. In there was two or three breakaway layups. ... Teams who get easier shots — make-able shots — win.”

The scoreboard was level with 4:49 to go, but consecutive giveaways ensued, leading to fast break scores by Gianna DeVito and Zoe Holm that gave Kiski Area (1-0) a permanent hold.

“We knew they were tired,” Cavaliers coach Dave Williamson said. “We were breaking them down a little bit and they just couldn’t get back on defense. I think they were exhausting all their efforts on the offensive end and they gave us some breakaway layups.”

Junior swingman Amelia McMichael finished with 18 points for Butler, 13 of which in the third frame as her side chipped away at a deficit.

“It hurt her getting two quick (fouls) in the first quarter,” Maier said of McMichael. “A lot of coaches sit their players with two fouls in the first half — they sit until the third quarter — but I didn’t want to do that. She figured out how to play with a little bit of foul trouble, didn’t get any cheap-Os in that second quarter, but was able to get in there and play.”

Kiski Area started off shooting 1-for-12 (8.3%) in the contest’s initial 5:50.

“I think we missed four or five uncontested layups,” Williamson said. “That hurts. But, I trust my team. Basketball is a game of runs. We knew we just had to dial in a little bit. ... We started getting stops on the defensive end, then we settled into the game.”

Butler raced out to a 12-3 edge — including two treys by senior Jessica Chwalik — before four miscues afforded the Cavaliers the chance to go on a 10-0 charge that ran into the early second quarter.

The Golden Tornado shot 16-for-44 (36.3%) from the floor on the day, including a 6-for-21 effort from distance (28.5%). They had 17 offensive boards as compared to Kiski Area’s eight. Still, Butler could only cash in on fewer than half of those second tries.

“If we think we were better than them — and ‘Boy, they got us on an unlucky day’ — we’ve got a chance to prove it next week,” Maier said.

Kiski Area 55

Abbie Johns 7 2-6 19, Gianna DeVito 6 1-2 13, Rikiya Garcia-Broaden 5 0-4 11, Zoe Holm 4 0-0 9, Cora Coleman 1 1-2 3. Totals: 23 4-14 55.

Butler 47

Amelia McMichael 6 3-4 18, Jessica Chwalik 3 1-3 10, Sydney Patterson 2 2-2 6, Avery Maier 2 0-2 5, Cameryn Booher 1 2-2 4, Malina McElroy 1 0-0 2, Ashton Huff 1 0-1 2. Totals: 16 9-14 47.

Kiski Area 11 11 16 16 — 55

Butler 12 16 17 8 — 47

3-point goals: Butler 6 (McMichael 3, Chwalik 2, Maier), Kiski Area 5 (Johns 3, Holm, Garcia-Broaden)

Butler head coach Mark Maier talks to the Golden Tornado’s girls basketball team
Butler head coach Mark Maier (center) talks to the Golden Tornado’s girls basketball team during the game against Kiski Area at the Armstrong Tip-Off Tournament in Manor Township Friday afternoon. Butler fell short in a 55-47 decision. Jared Todhunter/Special to the Eagle
Butler’s Amelia McMichael sets for a free throw
Butler’s Amelia McMichael sets for a free throw against Kiski Area at the Armstrong Tip-Off Tournament in Manor Township Friday afternoon. The Golden Tornado fell short in a 55-47 decision. Jared Todhunter/Special to the Eagle
Butler's Sydney Patterson drives towards the basket
Butler's Sydney Patterson drives towards the basket against Kiski Area at the Armstrong Tip-Off Tournament in Manor Township Friday afternoon. The Golden Tornado fell short in a 55-47 decision. Jared Todhunter/Special to the Eagle
Butler's Cameryn Booher attempts a shot against Kiski Area's Cora Coleman
Butler's Cameryn Booher, right, attempts a shot against Kiski Area's Cora Coleman, left, at the Armstrong Tip-Off Tournament in Kittanning Friday afternoon. The Golden Tornado fell short in a 55-47 decision. Jared Todhunter/Special to the Eagle
Butler's Ashton Huff defends against Kiski Area
Butler's Ashton Huff (22) defends against Kiski Area at the Armstrong Tip-Off Tournament in Manor Township Friday afternoon. The Golden Tornado fell short in a 55-47 decision. Jared Todhunter/Special to the Eagle

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