Ethan Morton, No. 1 Butler outlast Peters Township in double-overtime barnburner
Saturday, February 22, 2020 | 3:10 PM
It took four quarters, two overtimes and 32 points and a buzzer beater from Ethan Morton for No. 1 Butler to finally escape a tough No. 9 Peters Township (14-10) team, but escape they did in a 78-76 victory in the quarterfinals of the WPIAL Class 6A boys basketball playoffs.
After tallying just 10 points prior to the fourth quarter, Morton took over and put forth a Herculean effort to give the Golden Tornado (18-4) the edge in a back-and-forth WPIAL playoff classic. Of Morton’s 32 points, none was bigger than his shotput of a layup in traffic that found net and tied the game at 68-68 just as the buzzer sounded, sending the game into a second overtime.
“He doesn’t want to go home yet,” Butler coach Matt Clement said. “He’s not ready to go off to Purdue yet. You could tell in his eyes. It wasn’t an easy shot. There was a double clutch, and he threw it up. He missed a few this game that he never ever misses, so maybe this one just evened it out.”
While Morton helped carry his team during the fourth quarter and overtime periods, sophomore Devin Carney shouldered a considerable amount of the scoring burden for Butler in the early goings of the contest. Carney finished with 22 points on the game, including four 3-pointers. Mason Montag also chipped in nine points.
For Clement, the tough battle that his team received from Peters Township was not unexpected. It took everything that his team had to come out with the victory, and for that, he says he’s relieved to move on to the WPIAL semifinals.
“I was more worried about this game than maybe any other game I coached in the last 11 years,” Butler head coach Matt Clement said. “One, because the coach (Peters Township’s Gary Goga) in the other locker room is a really good coach. Two, we’re not used to being the ‘hunted’. We knew we’d have hard games. We took Peters seriously and knew it would be a tough game. But we did a good job of keeping our stuff together. And we did enough to come out with the win.”
For Peters Township, senior Colin Cote poured it in from everywhere on the floor, including hitting three shots from long range to lead his team with 27 points. His brother, Gavin Cote, also contributed significantly in the scoring department with 12 points of his own.
Senior Connor Duane also excelled from the point guard position, draining four 3-pointers, running the Indians offense and scoring 17 points.
Sam Petrarca was a catalyst for Peters Township late in the contest, attacking the rim with success and scoring 11 of his 21 points in the two overtime frames.
None of it was enough, however, as Peters Township fell just short of its upset bid against the top-seeded team in WPIAL Class 6A. For Goga, though, the outcome does nothing to diminish the pride that he feels for his team.
“What a game,” Goga said. “I’m so proud of them. I told them that I don’t know if I’ve ever been prouder of a team. A lot of plays made and both teams kept stepping up. I’ve been coaching in the WPIAL for 22 years and I’ve never seen a game like that. It was really just a great game.”
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