Russellville built a 13-4 lead early at Butler County only to see it disappear to a 19-15 Bears' lead at the end of the first quarter. After a hard-fought second quarter, Russellville retook the lead 31-30 to end the first half.
The second half started in electrifying fashion, Josh Kennedy stole the ball from Butler star Nathan Ross and finished with a powerful dunk. After a defensive stand Jerrell Mayo hit a short jumper to maintain momentum. Donnie Bigbee then posted up and finished strong to extend the Panther run to six straight.
Jordan Hinton hit an opportunistic 3-pointer from the corner to give the Panthers a double digit lead at 40-30. Butler big man Jonathan Bates answered with a short jumper, which awakened the Butler County fans. This was short lived, as Kennedy stole the ball and dunked to take the crowd out of the game and regain momentum for the Panthers. He followed that with a layup after the Panther defense forced another turnover.
Ross then drove hard and drew a foul from Kennedy. After hitting only one from the line, Russellville capitalized on the opportunity to outrun the Bears down court, which resulted in another dunk, this time by Jerrell Mayo. This extended the lead to 15 (48-33).
The Panthers cruised from there, ending the third 52-36, and eventually winning 71-51.
“It was a tale of a to halves,” Coach Dennis Pardue commented. “We beat them earlier this year and when you travel anywhere to play a team it's always harder. In the first half, we had 12 turnovers, we weren't catching or finishing, and our defense lacked intensity. In the second half we only had 5 turnovers, and we held them to 21 second half points.”
Mayo led the Panthers with 17, Bigbee had 14, and Meacham and Kennedy had 12 each. Leading scorers for Butler were Ross with 30 and Bates with 11.
Score by quarters: 1) BCHS 19-15 2) RHS 31-30 3) RHS 52-36 Final) Russellville 71, Butler 51
BCHS (51) Nathan Ross 30, Jonathan Bates 11, Marcus Harrison 4, Jake Martin 2, Dakota Tyree 2, Evan Scharlow 2, Simmons, Keown, Jennings, Jackson, J. Tyree, Robbie Phelps, Cannon
RHS (71) Jerrell Mayo 17, Donnie Bigbee 14, Josh Kennedy 12, Tyler Meacham 12, Jordan Hinton 8, Justin Rust 4, Jamarcus Gordon 4, Allen, Benton, Cage