EL DORADO – For the second time in a row at home, the Butler women played well enough to have a late lead against an undefeated conference opponent, only to see the game slip away at the end in a 55-52 loss to Independence on Saturday.
Butler (5-4 overall, 2-4 conference) rode the hot shooting of Kyla Callins to an early lead and was up 14-6 after a 3-pointer by Raegan Sanchez with 3:03 left in the period. Callins led all scorers with eight points as Butler took a 16-10 lead after one quarter.
Callins would score again with 7:47 left in the second quarter and Butler once again led by eight at 18-10. However, Independence controlled the remainder of the quarter by outscoring the Grizzlies 16-3. Butler’s three points came on a shot by Sanchez that put the Grizzlies up 21-16 with 5:46 remaining in the half. Independence went on to score the final 10 points and led 26-21 at the break.
Butler opened the second half by scoring six straight points, taking the lead back at 27-26 with 8:38 left in the third quarter. Butler’s biggest lead of the second half came when Jalise Smallwood made a pair of free throws to make it a 36-33 game with 3:49 left in the third quarter. Independence battled back to take a 40-39 lead going to the fourth quarter.
The Grizzlies tied the contest at 41-all with two Ericka Mattingly foul shots, then Taylor Birch hit two charity shots to put Butler ahead 43-41 with 5:41 left. Independence answered with a 9-0 run to go up 50-43.
Butler had one more push, getting within a point after a Kyla Callins 3-pointer with 58 seconds remaining made the score 52-51. Butler had a shot to take the lead, but missed. Independence made a free throw, and Awreona Ransomhad a chance to tie the game with 13.9 seconds left, but made just 1-of-2 free throws to make the score 53-52. Butler fouled to put Independence at the line, where Mychaell Gray made both free throws.
The Grizzlies had a potential game-tying 3-pointer blocked as time expired.
Kyla Callins led Butler with 16 points as the only Grizzly to score in double figures. Morgan Littlewood scored nine points and Ericka Mattingly scored eight, while both players had eight rebounds apiece to lead the team in that category.
Butler will go on the road on Saturday to face Dodge City, then return home for two games to finish out the first semester – versus Hutchinson next Wednesday and against Cloud County on Dec. 9.