Devin Carney’s buzzer-beating 3 lifts Butler past Penn-Trafford in OT

Friday, March 5, 2021 | 10:19 PM

Ten times Butler’s Devin Carney had taken a shot from behind the arc Friday night and nine of them had missed. In fact, a potential winner at the end of regulation bounced hard off the rim.

“One thing about my crew,” Butler coach Matt Clement said, “is they put the last shot behind them really quick.”

Given a second chance in overtime, Carney dashed No. 4 Penn-Trafford’s playoff hopes with a deep, buzzer-beating 3-pointer that earned No. 5 Butler a wild 58-55 victory in the WPIAL Class 6A quarterfinals.

Carney finished 2 for 11 from the arc and was well-defended on the winning shot.

“I kind of shot it, walked away and then I saw it,” said Carney, who had raced from end to end with about 5 seconds left.

“I said, ‘Yep, that’s in.’ ”

It was a heart-wrenching shot to watch for Penn-Trafford, which just tied the score seconds earlier.

The Warriors used an aggressive inbounds play to spring sophomore Josh Kapcin for a driving layup with 12 seconds left. Go back to the fourth quarter, and the Warriors also celebrated a tying 3-pointer by junior Nick Crum near the end of regulation.

But the final shot belonged to Butler.

“We knew what we had up against us,” Penn-Trafford coach Doug Kelly said. “Just a really good scoring team. Tough kids. I thought it was a good matchup for us. It ended up being a great high school basketball game.”

Defending champion Butler advances to face No. 1 Upper St. Clair in the semifinals Tuesday.

Kapcin scored a game-high 25 points for Penn-Trafford (13-6), and Ben Myers added 10.

Carney finished with 21 points for Butler (12-8), and Mattix Clement had 18. The Golden Tornado finished 8 for 27 from beyond the arc with three 3s by Mattix Clement. Penn-Trafford focused its defense on disrupting Carney, a 30-point scorer who went 8 for 24 from the field but made a few down the stretch.

“My man’s a scoring machine,” Kelly said of Carney, “and they’ve got the other guy that can knock down from the volleyball line. That extends our defense. We haven’t played anybody really that you have to extend out that far on multiple guys.”

The teams were tied after one, Butler led 29-26 at half and Penn-Trafford was ahead 38-37 after three. The fourth quarter and overtime were electric.

The Warriors led 46-45 with less that a minute left in the fourth when Carney made a jumper with 48 seconds left to take a one-point lead. He added two free throws with 15.5 second left to lead 49-46.

But Butler was slow to set up defensively, so Penn-Trafford rushed the ball down floor and Crum made a tying 3 that forced overtime.

“I told the guys before the game, if you can’t match Penn-Trafford’s energy, you will lose this game,” Clement said. “I watched it on film. Anybody I talked to said they’re just energy. … They out-energy people, and they’ve been doing it all season long.”

Trailing by one point late in overtime, Penn-Trafford had possession and was working for a go-ahead shot when Butler stole the ball. Mattix Clement was fouled with 11.6 seconds left and made one of two free throws to lead 55-53.

Now down two, Penn-Trafford called timeout with 9.6 seconds left and drew up the inbounds play that led to Kapcin’s tying layup.

As the clock ticked, Carney took an inbounds pass and raced toward the other end. Butler had a timeout left but didn’t want to let Penn-Trafford set up defensively.

“I looked at the clock. There was about 5 seconds left,” Carney said. “I was going to shoot a regular shot, but the guy was in front of me, so I shot with one hand.

“It went in.”

Chris Harlan is a TribLive reporter covering sports. He joined the Trib in 2009 after seven years as a reporter at the Beaver County Times. He can be reached at

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