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Butler rallies Archbishop Carroll past La Salle

SPRINGFIELD >> Keyon Butler knew he had to redeem himself.

The Archbishop Carroll senior had just missed a 3-pointer with about 1:20 left in a tie game and wanted to make up for it. Butler, a senior forward, did that and more, scoring five clutch points in the final 55 seconds to lead the Patriots to a needed win on the road at La Salle Friday night.

Butler notched nine of his 13 points for the game in the final frame as Carroll erased an Explorers lead and rallied for a 57-54 victory.

“I probably made a mistake with time management but I know, shots are going to go in, shots aren’t going to go in, I just have keep playing with the same mentality,” Butler said. “I’m looking to attack, take care of the ball. Me personality, it was my motor to bounce back and make up for it and then go to the free throw line and hit some free throws.”

Carroll’s (7-4, 1-1 PCL) defense was suffocating in the first half and the Patriots were able to build a nine-point lead at the half while keeping La Salle’s (9-3, 2-1) offense under clamps. The Explorers shot just 2-of-13 in the second quarter and went scoreless over the final 6:33 of the first half with Carroll building a 28-19 edge.

Butler attributed it to communication but added that the coaches prepared the Patriots players for La Salle’s eventual run in the second half.

“We were just being too deliberate with our offense and they were just switching everything,” Explorers coach Joe Dempsey said. “They had 10 days really without a game so they were very prepared for us.”

Carroll coach Paul Romanczuk said his team is going to get sick of hearing the word “resilient” by the end of the season, but it’s the best one to describe this group. As expected, La Salle got going in the second half and the Explorers’ shooters started knocking down 3-pointers.

Romanczuk felt his team continued to play good defense after halftime, even with the Explorers knocking down shots.

“We did a good job pressuring and running them off the 3-point line in the first half,” Romanczuk said. “I’m the first one to tell our guys we’re not doing a good job defensively but (La Salle) just hit some really difficult, contested threes. I don’t know that there was maybe more than one that was uncontested, credit to them, they’re a good shooting team and a confident shooting team.”

La Salle buried six of its eight 3-pointers after halftime and hit four in the third quarter as it rallied within three of the Patriots at 38-35. Three more treys in the first 2:30 of the final frame put La Salle up 44-40 on Sean Simon’s long-range jumper.

“We wrestled the lead back and lost so that’s what’s more disappointing,” Explorers coach Joe Dempsey said. “We had a four-point lead and a couple plays don’t go our way. They’re a good team, everybody’s saying ‘Carroll’s not that strong’ but they are a really good team. They have a lot of nice pieces.”

AJ Hoggard did the heavy lifting for Carroll in the first three quarters and finished with a game-high 20 points. The sophomore, who is drawing plenty of major college attention, didn’t turn the ball over and had the entirety of his deep well of offensive skills working, driving to the hoop, hitting threes and scoring in between.

Butler had four points in the first half and a quiet third quarter, but the senior feels like he’s at his best after halftime. After Hoggard buried a trey with 3:58 left to cut La Salle’s lead to 46-45, Luke House put the Patriots up on a tough runner and Butler made it a three-point game with a stickback after Hoggard wasn’t able to finish.

“That’s my craft, I feel if there’s anything coming off the board, I can get it,” Butler said. “I’m kind of a second half guy. When the team needs that energy, that’s the boost I’m going to give them to get over that hump.”

La Salle came back to knot the game at 51-51 on Zach Crisler’s traditional three-point play. Crisler, the talented 6-foot-9 junior, led the Explorers with 19 points and also had eight rebounds and was the guy La Salle went to after Butler’s missed 3-pointer late in the fourth.

Crisler got inside, but he was contested by Butler and Devon Ferraro, with Butler coming down with the rebound and immediately getting fouled. At the line, he knocked down both and after Carroll got a stop, Hoggard threw a lead pass to Butler down the other end.

The senior expected to get fouled, but went for a shot-fake anyway and got more than he expected. La Salle’s defender grabbed the rim on the fake, then fouled Butler, giving the Carroll senior a basket and an extra free throw, which he hit for a 56-51 lead with 30 seconds left.

“I’ll go to war with that kid every single game, he’s undersized in there but he battles guys who are 6-8, 6-9, 6-10 and gives us everything he has,” Romanczuk said. “He’s an energy guy, a great teammate and I don’t think he’s ever had a bad day. He is as positive as it gets.”

La Salle did not have junior Konrad Kiszka in the second half due to a health issue, but Dempsey was optimistic the forward would be alright quickly. Otherwise, aside from coming up short, the Explorers coach saw a lot of positives.

“I’m encouraged, if the guys play that way every night, we’re going to get our share of games,” Dempsey said. “We’ll see where it all shakes out. The guys played tough, we played pretty good defense and it came down to a couple plays, as this league often does.”

ARCHBISHOP CARROLL 57, LA SALLE 54
ARCHBISHOP CARROLL  15 13 10 19 – 57

LA SALLE 13 6 16 19 – 54
Archbishop Carroll: AJ Hoggard 8 2-3 20, Keyon Butler 5 3-3 13, Devon Ferraro 1 0-0 2, Justin Anderson 6 0-0 13, Luke House 2 1-2 5, Ny’Mare Litte 2 0-0 0. Nonscoring: Shawn Johnson, Tairi Ketner. Totals: 24 6-8 57.
La Salle: Zach Crisler 8 1-1 19, Allen Powell 3 0-0 9, Sean Simon 2 0-0 6, Konrad Kiszka 1 0-0 2, Matt McMahon 3 0-0 9, Khalil Diarrah 1 4-4 6, Titus Beard 1 1-1 3. Nonscoring: Marvin Harrison Jr, Jack Rothenberg. Totals: 19 6-6 54.
3-pointers: AC – Hoggard 2, Anderson; L – McMahon 3, Powell 3, Crisler 2, Simon 2.

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