March 1st, 2011

Toppers Toppled By Faster Butler Team

Chris Jung

Senior Writer

Toppers Toppled By Faster Butler Team
photo by Chris Jung

Bears eliminate Presentation with 61-39 win in quarterfinals

When the high school girls Sixth Region Tournament pairings were drawn just four days ago, Presentation Academy Head Coach David Jackson immediately knew that his Toppers team would be up against a high-pressure defense from baseline to baseline when his squad drew Butler in the opening-round quarterfinals.

What he did not expect, however, was the efficiency within the Bears' offensive rebounding department.

And Tuesday evening at Atherton High School, Butler used 12 offensive boards in the first half alone to help build a 35-17 halftime lead over Pres, en route to a 63-41 quarterfinal win over Jackson and Co.

The loss ends Presentation's season after a 12-14 campaign in 2010-11.

Toppers junior guard Bailey Reeder had a game-high 20 points on 7-of-16 shooting in the losing effort. She also finished with six rebounds and two assists despite dealing with foul trouble the whole game.

Butler put four of its players in double-digit scoring, including Megan Cureton's team-high 13 points. Cureton also had five of Butler's 40 team rebounds, which was 14 more than the 23rd District runner-up Toppers.

When asked after the game if Butler was the best team in the region that he has seen or played against, the Pres head coach answered swiftly.

"Yes. That is the best team in the region," said Jackson. "Their defense alone was enough (tonight). They didn't shoot the ball extremely well, for them, so if they start shooting the ball, they can be really dangerous. They're just so much stronger than anyone else we've played."

Presentation did manage to hang around early and trailed by nine after Reeder banked in a 3-pointer just before the buzzer at the end of the first quarter.

But the Toppers' next points wouldn't come until the 3:22 mark in the second quarter on a Reeder free throw. By that point, Butler had already built a 29-11 lead and eventually took a 35-17 lead over Presentation into halftime.

The Bears methodically sustained its lead throughout the second half and built its largest advantage of the game - 30 points - when Cora Moore's 3-pointer dropped in with 5:18 to go in the game, making the score 59-29 in favor of Butler.

Besides Reeder, the next highest score for Pres was sophomore Peyton Andres, who had a perfect night shooting (3-of-3 FG and 2-of-2 FT) for eight points. Pres junior Shelby Adams pitched in six points and four boards.

Presentation, who never lost more than two games in a row this season, played better late in the season and has a lot of upside for next season, as the Toppers only lose one senior - Rachel Russ. In her final game as a Topper, Russ had two points and four rebounds, and left to a standing ovation after a substitution with 18 seconds to go.

"Down the stretch, we played much better than we had earlier in the year," said Jackson. "We played good teams and got some nice wins down the stretch. But it was the same thing that hurt us all year, which was lack of size, and really a lack of speed. I thought we'd shoot the ball better than we did this year, but we continued to work and got better and that's what you ask."

With the win, Butler advances to play Holy Cross in the Class Act Sixth Region Tournament semifinals on Thursday at Bellarmine University.


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