Boys Basketball: Isaiah Butler keys Elgin victory
By Patrick Z. McGavin For Sun-Times Media December 8, 2013 7:18PM
Elgin's Isaiah Butler lifts a shot during Sunday's game against Carmel at the Ridgewood Shootout in Norridge. | Michael Jarecki/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 10, 2014 6:29AM
Isaiah Butler plays with a freedom and swagger. It is not cocky. It is what he does to get himself motivated.
The Elgin guard scored a game-high 23 points and converted a crucial layup in the closing seconds to withstand Carmel’s late rally as the Maroons edged the previously undefeated Corsairs 64-63 in the Ridgewood Shootout on Sunday in Norridge.
Butler scored 10 points in the second half.
“I got hyped out there,” the athletic wing guard said. “When I’m hyped, the rest of the team see how into the game I am, and they get hyped too, because I’m a team leader.”
The game was marked by sharp runs by both teams. Elgin hits its first five shots and led by as man as seven points in the first quarter. Carmel answered by scoring the first eight points of the second quarter in leading by as many as nine points.
Butler scored 13 points in the first half as Elgin cut the deficit to 30-28 at the break.
Butler and senior forward Desmond Sanders keyed the upset victory for the Maroons (2-4). Sanders buried a three-pointer from the right wing that forced the game’s final tie at 42 late in the third quarter. Butler put Elgin up 44-42 with a drive to close out the quarter.
Elgin’s quickness proved too difficult for the taller Corsairs (6-1) to handle. Butler scored on a beautiful baseline floater as the Maroons scored the opening six points of the fourth quarter.
With Carmel making its own run behind 6-10 senior John George (15 points, 14 rebounds),
Sanders scored on consecutive drives midway through the fourth quarter.
“We just wanted to win,” Sanders said. “We needed this win and get this upset. I felt like I had a little bit more quickness than the Carmel defender and we could get to the basket. The big thing was just needed to come in with a lot of confidence and play with no fear.”
Carmel guard Nickai Poyser (12 points) converted a three-point play as part of a Corsairs’ run that pulled Carmel within 58-57 with 45 seconds remaining. Elgin broke the press and Butler scored on a twisting, driving layup in traffic to provide the Maroons some breathing space.
Elgin converted 10-of-11 free throws in the final quarter. Senior guard Ryan Sitter (12 points), the son of Elgin coach Mike Sitter, coldly stepped to the line and made two straight for a four-point margin with 4.5 seconds remaining.
Michael Barr, a 6-6 forward, added 15 points and seven rebounds for Carmel. Sophomore guard Christopher Duff Jr. scored 12 of his 13 points in the first half. Senior guard Billy Kirby contributed eight points on two late three-pointers.
“We didn’t have the effort we needed today,” Carmel coach Tim Bowen said. “They did a much better job of controlling tempo, using their speed to score in transition in the second quarter when they were down and then slowing the ball up and waiting for a good shot in the third quarter.
“We had too many one-pass and shot possessions and that hurt us.”