Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Butler's Season Seems Familiar Golden Tornado Has Similar Look to 2011

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Butler's Season Seems Familiar Golden Tornado Has Similar Look to 2011

Article excerpt

Last season's run to the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinals and PIAA quarterfinals was special for the Butler Area boys basketball team.

Coach Matt Clement believes this Golden Tornado roster has the potential to do it again.

"I think we have the team to be even better than we have been over the past three years," Clement said.

That might raise some eyebrows from the coach of a team that is a rather pedestrian 8-7 following Tuesday's tough 49-48 overtime loss at Seneca Valley. But guess what? Butler was only 8-6 after 14 games last season.

The Golden Tornado nudged its way into the playoffs, caught fire at the right time and was a postseason darling.

It's early, but Butler has shown some flashes of brilliance this season. A win against WPIAL Class AAAA No. 3 North Allegheny two weeks ago, for instance.

With the memory of last season still fresh in everyone's minds, the Golden Tornado can be confident in the fact if it can find some consistency the next month, anything is possible.

"It helps our confidence a lot knowing last year we were struggling and we came through it," senior point guard Nate Snodgrass said. "But it doesn't matter what happened last year -- we have to make a change this year. Practice harder and show the determination and the defense to get where we were last year when we caught fire at the end of the season."

Butler was anything but sharp in the week following the upset win at North Allegheny. The Golden Tornado allowed an average of 81 points in consecutive losses to Franklin Regional and Central Catholic last week.

Clement said his team can't afford such defensive lapses as the season progresses.

"I don't feel good about where we've been defensively," he said. "I feel like our losses have been bad losses -- not to bad teams, it was just that we weren't too competitive in them defensively. If you're playing well enough defensively, you might lose to [quality] teams, but you're not losing by 30. That's one thing that bothers me right now.

"The win against NA was a big win, but we responded probably the worst way we could respond. That's the battle we're fighting right now, but the kids are concentrating and the bottom line is we're right in the middle of the section race. …

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