March 3rd, 2020

Holy Cross Falls to Butler First Round of Region


Ed Peak

Staff Writer

Holy Cross Falls to Butler First Round of Region
Holy Cross Falls to Butler First Round of Region/ photo by Ed Peak

Mary Mathews stood outside the Holy Cross dressing room trying to be as composed as possible. Mathews, a 6-foot-1 junior center, had a frustrated look on her face. Her eyes were red and she was disappointed. 

Host Butler 46, Holy Cross 11 in a quarterfinal game of the Sixth Region Tournament, Monday night.  Mathews did everything she could to help her Cougars teammates but it was in vain. Mathews had seven points and battled the bigger quicker Bears on the inside.


"It was difficult always knowing where everybody was on the short corners and getting around them, especially when they passed it out to their shooters," said Mathews. "I tried to fight my hardest to get through it. They are a great team. It was really hard to push through. I just tried to put my full effort in it."


No matter how hard Holy Cross tried they were no match for the Associated Press' third ranked Bears. 


The Cougars fell behind 17-0 and 34-5 at halftime. Butler led 43-7 with five minutes in the third quarter and the mercy rule was put into effect as the clock stopped only on timeouts and shooting fouls.


"Butler is a great program, we knew coming in that we didn't match up great," said assistant coach Kendall Hammerstrom, who helped head coach Olivia Schum who gave birth to her first child three weeks ago.


"We tried to slow the game down and play at our pace," said Hammerstrom. "We just couldn't put the ball in the ball in the hole. They (Butler) did a great job of stopping us from letting us go where we wanted to go. They were disciplined, well coached, they moved the ball really well."


Junior guards Tiarra East and Dynastee White led Butler (27-4) with 12 points each. Leslie Baxter and Chardrea Satori added six points each. The Bears advance to play defending regional champion, Mercy, a 62-24 winner over North Bullitt, Thursday at 6 p.m.


Butler beat Mercy 57-54 on January 17. Mercy edged Butler 46-43 in last seasons regional championship.


"We put a really huge premium on the defensive end of the floor in our program," said Butler coach Wyatt Foust. "Our kids take a lot of pride in trying to hold teams to their lowest point total of the season. That's something they check in on after the game. When you get that kind of buy in you can guard actions well, high post, handoffs. 

"I just thought our team was tremendous tonight, closing windows when they opened for them. Our guards were really active with their hands and feet. We were locked in. It's regional tournament time and we played like it."


Holy Cross (15-14) turned the ball over 24 times and were able to get off only 20 field goal attempts.


"It was really hard with the amount of pressure they put on us," said Mathews. "They were aggressive and it was hard to get through. We improved this year. I loved this team. I'm really, really sad that was the last game."


Mathews gave high praise to Butler. "They were in the top three teams we played. They are really, really tough and quick. It was hard to remain calm and work through it."




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