Butler holds off Garden City on the road in 71-67 win

Butler holds off Garden City on the road in 71-67 win

GARDEN CITY, Kan. – The Butler women survived another road contest in western Kansas, holding off Garden City 71-67 at Dennis Perryman Athletic Complex on Saturday evening.

Butler never trailed in the second half, despite Garden City tying the game once and getting within a point on two other occasions.

The Grizzlies started well offensively, leading 7-0 and pushing the lead to 19-7 after Nia Roberts hit a 3-pointer followed by a basket by Amari Dennis with 15:26 to play in the half.

After a Jurnee Reid basket with 14:20 to play, the Grizzlies led 21-10, but would give up a 14-1 run to Garden City over the next four minutes, as Garden went ahead 24-22. 

Butler would trail 28-27 before getting four straight points from Brayden Byrd and a bucket from Amari Dennis to go up 33-28 with 3:37 left in the half. The Grizzlies would lead 37-30 with 1:18 left, but gave up the final four points of the period and saw the lead shrink to 37-34 at the half.

The Butler women then started hot again in the second half, going on an 11-3 run to start the period. A basket by Ashley Gibson put the Grizzlies up 48-37 with 16:04 to play. Garden City would once again chip away at Butler's lead and came all the way back to tie the game 55-55 with 6:36 to play. Butler regained the lead and pushed the lead back to five points twice, the latest at 67-62 after a pair of free throws by Amari Dennis with 1:35 to play.

Butler struggled at the free throw line down the stretch, making just two of next six attempts. Garden City cut the lead to 69-67 and had the ball with 12.8 seconds to go, but Amari Dennis drew a charging foul with 5.9 seconds left and Ashley Gibson made two free throws to seal the win. 

Amari Dennis led Butler with a career-high 23 points, 14 of them in the first half. She also had six rebounds to lead Butler. Ashley Gibson had 13 points, while Jurnee Reid had nine.

The Grizzlies are now 17-5 overall and 7-2 in Jayhawk West Conference play. Butler remains in third place in the conference standings, one game behind Seward County. The Grizzlies are now off for a week before playing a home game next Saturday against No. 1 Hutchinson.