TRUMBULL BOYS Butch leads Lakeview to victory
His goal and foul shot at the wire delivered the Bulldogs a win over Brookfield.
By CHUCK HOUSTEAU
BROOKFIELD -- At 5-foot-8, Lakeview's Phil Butch was the smallest player on the court, but he made Tuesday's biggest play to give the Bulldogs a stunning 53-52 come-from-behind victory over Brookfield.
With Lakeview (6-4, 5-2 Trumbull Athletic Conference) trailing 52-50, Butch drove the length of the court following a missed free throw by the Warriors with 7.3 seconds to go.
Butch put up a tough shot in the lane while being fouled as the buzzer sounded.
The ball dropped through the net to tie the score. With no time left, the junior point guard gave his team the win by putting in his free throw.
Came through: "I tried to stay focused and block out the crowd," said Butch of his game-winning foul shot. "I did what I had to do to knock in the game-winning shot."
Lakeview coach Larry Herholtz said that Butch earned the right to be at the line in that situation.
"Phil works hard every day," Herholtz said. "He earned that position. I would give him the ball at any moment or in any situation."
It never looked like there would be any chance for heroism on the part of the Lakeview team because the Bulldogs trailed the Warriors 42-33 at the start of the fourth quarter and still trailed by eight points, 48-40, with 1:18 left.
Defensive pressure: The Bulldogs applied intense defensive pressure in the final 78 seconds to give themselves a chance to win.
The key points came when Lakeview's Kevin Rigby was fouled on a 3-point shot and made all three free throws to make the score 48-43.
Rigby, who finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds, made two more free throws seconds later, but Brookfield scored on a free throw and a breakaway layup with 28 seconds left to give the Warriors a 51-47 lead.
Nero sets stage: Matt Nero's 3-pointer with 19.9 seconds left cut the lead to one and seconds later, when Brookfield's Drew Fisher missed the second of two free throw attempts, Butch brought home the victory.
"These kids never quit," Herholtz said. "These kids listen in practice and we go over these situations in practice, and tonight it paid off."
Brookfield coach Chris Fahndrich was at a loss for words.
"I don't really know what happened," said Fahndrich after watching his team come back from an early 12-4 deficit to take a seemingly commanding lead entering the final quarter.
"We couldn't put them away," Fahndrich said. "We made some turnovers, guys were out of position. We have to get better at executing in critical situations."
Brookfield (6-5, 2-5) made its run behind the scoring of juniors Julian Hayes and Ted Swogger, who scored 15 and 14 points, respectively. Senior Scott Stefan added 10 points.
Brandon Bakker led Lakeview in scoring with 17 points.