PURPLES LOOK FOR AN EDGE IN ANTICIPATION OF SHOWDOWN WITH GATORS
It was an uneven performance but effective just the same.
Bowling Green High School senior Turner Buttry hit six of seven 3-pointers, finishing with 32 points on Tuesday night as the Purples knocked off visiting North Hardin 78-65.
The Purples (23-4) have one more game before next week’s KHSAA 14th District Tournament, and a knockout game in the semifinals against crosstown rival Greenwood on Wednesday night at Warren Central High School.
The Trojans had no answer for Buttry, however. The 6-foot Eastern Kentucky signee found his range from the wing and kept the Purples on the attack as BGHS won its 10th consecutive game. The Purples haven’t lost since dropping a 72-71 decision to Greenwood on January 21 on the Gators’ home floor.
Bowling Green will travel to Louisville on Thursday to square off with Evangel Christian, the Purples’ first opponent of the season last November. BGHS coach DG Sherrill will be looking for improved execution in that game as the Purples struggled to put North Hardin away on Tuesday night on their home court.
North Hardin dropped to 9-15 on the season.
“I thought we looked a little bit distracted tonight,” Sherrill said. “It looks like our focus is moving toward the district tournament, which is understandable. Let’s give North Hardin some credit, too. They hit nine 3s, and they hit some timely 3s, to keep it relatively close.”
In fact, the top three teams in the district — Bowling Green, Greenwood and Warren Central — are all unbeaten at home this season. Warren Central will open tournament play on Tuesday against either Warren East or South Warren.
“I think we’re looking forward to (next) Wednesday,” Buttry said. “We’ve had some good practices and stayed pretty healthy. We know that Greenwood doesn’t respect us … I don’t want my senior year to end this soon, and I know the other guys feel that way, too.”
The Purples are a young team, with five sophomores and freshmen assuming key roles with the team, but Sherrill can count on his three seniors — Buttry, guard Curtis Lin and forward Brad Gurley.
“These are three of the highest character seniors I’ve ever coached,” Sherrill said. “They’ve embraced their roles, they’ve embraced this young team.”
Sophomore forward Mason Ritter was an effective low-post presence for the Purples, finishing with 14 points and six rebounds. BGHS sophomore Elijah Starks had a game-high 12 rebounds, while MJ Wardlow and Deuce Bailey added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
“Mason Ritter took a step forward tonight,” Sherrill said. “Sometimes we have to remind him that he’s 6-foot-7 … He’s really improved his footwork and made a lot of progress.”
Ritter and Bailey said Sherrill will be looking for a better defensive performance when the Purples travel to play Evangel Christian on Thursday night.
“We can score, on offense. That’s not the issue,” Ritter said. “We’ve just got to play better defensively.”
Starks said the Purples understand what’s in front of them.
“We really want to focus on ourselves, in practice,” he said. “We want to be extra prepared for Greenwood.”