In Wednesday's first-round playoff matchup between Butler and Perry, the Perry Panthers stunned Butler by taking the lead in the final 16 seconds of the game, scoring off of two consecutive Butler turnovers. The Panthers defeated the Bulldogs by a final score of 65-62. The loss ends Butler's hopes of making a run at a state title, giving them a final record of 17-10, overall.
Early on in the game, each team made small runs that would eventually result in a 16-14 first quarter Perry lead. Don Coleman played a quiet role, tallying just four points, while teammate Ron Jones was very active on the boards, tallying six points.
The second quarter was also basket-for-basket until late in the quarter when Perry ended the half on a 7-1 run to take a 37-29 halftime lead. Coleman took three trips to the free throw line in the quarter, hitting five out of six. The story in the second quarter was Perry Sophomore point-guard, KJ Smith, who tallied 11 second quarter points, including three trey balls. Perry took the lead and the momentum into the locker room.
The third quarter was a different story.
Evans came out of the locker room playing like a newly inspired basketball team. They were verbally communicating much more than the first half, and playing with fire. They used a full-court press to swarm Perry and force turnovers, leading to a flurry of transition baskets. The Bulldogs outscored the Panthers, 15-7 in the quarter, holding Perry to just two made field-goals (the rest of the points coming from the free throw line). Coleman and Jones combined for 10 of Butler's 15 points, as Leverett was responsible for the rest.
Butler had tied the game, 44-44 after three quarters and seemingly had all the momentum.
The momentum stayed with Butler, as Coleman took a rebound coast-to-coast to get a bucket plus the the foul, putting Butler up 10 (54-44) with 5:30 remaining in the game. I am guilty of thinking the game was 'over' at this point. Back came Perry on a 9-3 run, cutting the Butler lead to 56-53 with 2:10 remaining.
Butler led 62-59 with 1:29 remaining and thats where Perry went on a stunning 6-0 run to end the game.
Perry got two buckets at the free throw line, cutting the lead to 62-60 with 33 seconds remaining. After that, Butler turned the ball over two consecutive times (see video above) to end the game, resulting in five Perry points.
The Bulldogs were led by Don Coleman with 19 points, while Ron Jones tallied 18 points. The Panthers were led by KJ Smith with 22 points.
Watch the highlight video above to see how Butler lost the game from their two late costly turnovers.