January 5th, 2019

DeSales loses a tough one to Butler 65-61

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Ed Peak

Staff Writer


DeSales loses a tough one to Butler 65-61
DeSales vs Butler tip off/ photo by Ed Peak

Let's start with the bad news. DeSales' losing streak reached three games Friday night. Despite a hard fought effort 22nd District rival host Butler edged the Colts 65-61. It was the second loss to their rivals in less than a week.

Butler (13-3) beat DeSales 62-42 in the championship game of the Ashland Invitational Tournament, last Saturday. It's possible Butler and DeSales could play in the Louisville Invitational Tournament January 16.

Butler is the top seed in the tournament while the Colts are No. 8.

The good news is DeSales (10-5) improved over its performance of a week ago. Although the Colts fell behind be as many as 11 points in the first half, DeSales made a game of it and actually led late in the fourth quarter.

"We had a shot," said first year DeSales coach Damien Anderson. "We came out in the third quarter and played with the energy I was hoping we'd start the game with and played a lot better. We just played a tougher second half and got stops rather than taking the ball out of the net every time."

Butler junior Trey Minter, who led the Bears with 29 points, hit the first basket of the third quarter for a 37-26 lead. But when DeSales senior guard Hunter Brooks hit a three as time expired in the quarter the Colts were within 48-45.

In the fourth quarter Butler spurted to a 53-47 lead with 6:30, but eight straight points by DeSales gave the Colts a 55-53 lead on a basket by junior guard Logan Lautzenheiser off a pass from Matthew Ruckreigle with 3:40.

Ruckreigle, who led DeSales with 23 points, again gave DeSales the lead with a short jumper in the lane, and two more free throws with1:45 for a 61-58 lead.

But Butler didn't fold as Minter, who came up with big plays all night drove for a layup was fouled and made the free throw with 1:33 to tie the game.

Both teams had opportunities as Brewer and Ruckreigle missed shots and Butler's Jordan Lamb missed. Butler called a timeout with 36 seconds and held the ball until Minter tried to split two DeSales defenders and Antione Johnson was called for the foul with 3.9 seconds.

Minter, who was 11 of 16 from the field which included three of six three-point baskets made both free throws for a 63-61 lead. DeSales tried a long pass that Johnson and Butler's Yusef Chandler-Westbrooks went for. The ball was knocked away and Ruckreigle was called for his fifth foul with 1.8 seconds. Chandler-Westbrooks made both free throws.

Ruckreigle thought it was DeSales defense that helped them get back in the game. "It starts with our defense and we started playing together, finding each other for open shots," said Ruckreigle. "It always starts with our defense. It's always that."

Brewer added 14 points, 10 in the second half while Johnson and Jonathan Jones added eight points each.

"We made tough plays on the second half rather than taking the easy way out," said Anderson. "Our offense didn't look very good in the first half because we were going against their set defense the whole time. When we get stops we can push it and play with a little more pace and that's really what we want to do."

DeSales next plays in the 2-A State Tournament at Marion County, Tuesday night. If they win they would play Friday. The Colts were scheduled to play at St. Xavier, Tuesday. But Anderson said they are waiting for St. X to find an open date.

Anderson was happy with Ruckreigle and Jones. "He (Ruckreigle) plays hard all the time. For his size he's a great rebounder. He fights for the ball and he can finish well.

"Johnny Jones played an excellent game for us," said Anderson. "He's kind of the perfect roll player for us. He does his job and does it well. He always does the little things."

With a lot to take over the next two months Anderson is hoping DeSales can catch the magic they had during their seven game winning streak.

"I said early in the year, October, that by January, I think we'll be starting to get pretty good. I think we're on the right track for that. Just execution and getting to know everything about me and what we are trying to teach."

Ruckreigle said he's looking forward to the future. "It's a good feeling knowing we can get back to playing the way we were playing. We just got to confine that the next couple games. We'll learn from it, we always do."

 

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