Top-ranked Latrobe routs Penn-Trafford as Butler hits milestone
Latrobe is wearing white hoodies with their snappy pinstripe pants in warmups this season.
It’s a slightly different look for a boys basketball team that continues to play with the same old swagger.
The top-ranked Wildcats sunk their hooks into visiting Penn-Trafford in the second quarter Friday night and never let go, punctuating senior Bryce Butler’s milestone game with an 87-51 victory in Section 3-6A.
Butler, needing 22 points for 1,000 in his career hit the number on the dot with a 3-pointer from the left wing with 7 minutes, 34 seconds remaining and the Wildcats comfortably ahead.
Getting their sixth straight win was priority No. 1; Butler’s milestone was a nice and-1 as the team inched closer to a section title and playoff berth.
“We wanted to make sure we came out and played as hard as we could and took care of business,” said Butler, a West Liberty recruit who scored 11 in each half. “If it happened, it happened. It’s very humbling. I owe a lot to my teammates.”
Senior Reed Fenton scored a game-high 25 points for the Wildcats (14-2, 7-0), who staged another track meet and improved to 6-0 at home this season, winning at “the Den” for the 50th time in the last 58 games.
Latrobe still has not lost to a WPIAL opponent since last year’s playoffs.
Penn-Trafford (9-7, 4-3), which started the season 4-0, tried to run with the Wildcats early. But that proved detrimental.
“It kind of went their way early,” said Penn-Trafford senior guard Kevin Stinelli, who was limited in the first half before finishing with a team-high 17 points and five 3-pointers. “Once it turns into a game like that here, it’s all them. Butler and Fenton are just really good players.”
After the Warriors went ahead, 7-4, the Wildcats ended the opening quarter on a 21-5 surge.
Sophomore Ryan Sickenberger scored eight of his 10 points in the first quarter for Latrobe.
Fenton, a Lehigh commit, went on his own, personal 15-point run, hitting a 3 to beat the first-quarter buzzer before a dunk and another 3 helped Latrobe build a 37-19 lead.
Butler hit a 3 to make it 45-19 during an NBA-like first half for the Wildcats.
“It was great to see Bryce get it tonight, at home,” Latrobe coach Brad Wetzel said of the milestone. “His teammates were genuinely excited for him because of how unselfish he is. We didn’t make a concerted effort to get it for him, necessarily, but it was nice to get up and for him to get it here; His dad (assistant Eric Butler) can’t make our next game. There was so much happiness tonight on our home floor.”
Despite a close third quarter in which Latrobe outscored the Warriors, 18-14, the Wildcats took an anticlimactic 29-point margin into the fourth.
Stinelli scored nine in the third, finally getting free for some looks after drawing face-guards most of the night.
“(Senior Alex Bisignani) did a great job on defense tonight,” Wetzel said. “That’s what some people don’t realize about us is how some of our guys have taken it to another gear on defense. We brought in (sophomore) Drew Clair and he was like flypaper, too. They have accepted their assignments.”
Senior forward Trent Holler, one of 12 players to score for Latrobe, connected inside to stretch it to 77-47. Fenton capped a three-point play, junior Ethan Jacquet hit a 3 and junior Donnie Shimko scored on a drive to make it a 37-point advantage.
Before the extra cushioning, Latrobe drew up a play for Butler after a timeout, and he finished with a splash. His 3 allowed him to join his brother, Austin, and Fenton as other 1,000-plus scorers at Latrobe.
Holler finished with seven points.
Junior Zach Rocco and senior Luke Fabac each had eight for Penn-Trafford, and senior Chris Abreu chipped in seven, all in the first half.
Bill Beckner is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bill at [email protected] or via Twitter @BillBeckner.