Trib HSSN Top 20 Stories of 2020: Butler boys basketball ends title drought

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Friday, December 18, 2020 | 5:44 PM


The most unique year in our lifetime is coming to an end. With so many mass starts and stops, highs and lows, just about all walks of life were affected by the coronavirus in 2020.

High school sports were no different. The first two and a half months of the year were carefree and business as usual. Then the final nine and a half months were greatly affected by the pandemic, whether scholastic contests were played or not.

Trib HSSN will close out the year with a daily countdown and a look back at the top 20 WPIAL stories from the year 2020.

No. 16 – An Overdue Golden Storm

Twenty-nine years ago, George H.W. Bush was President, “The Silence of the Lambs” swept at the Oscars, and the New Kids on the Block played at Super Bowl XXV, a game won by the New York Giants when Scott Norwood’s potential game-winning kick went wide right. Minimum wage was raised to $4.25 an hour and Butler defeated Hempfield, 79-54, to win the school’s fourth WPIAL boys basketball championship and the first since 1915.

Fast forward to the final day of February 2020 and the Golden Tornado are golden again.

Nearly 30 years after their most recent crown and after two lost title games in the last three years, Butler finally was back on top of the district mountain with a 70-61 victory over Mt. Lebanon in the Class 6A boys basketball finals.

The third time was a charm for senior Ethan Morton and Butler. The Purdue recruit, one of the top boys basketball players in the district this century, lost in the WPIAL finals to Pine-Richland as a freshman and fell to Mt. Lebanon a year earlier in the championship game.

However, after two incredible comeback wins over Peters Township in the district quarterfinals and Upper St. Clair in the semifinals, Morton and the Golden Tornado would not be denied in the rematch against the Blue Devils.

Sophomore sensation Drew Carney led Butler with 24 points, including four 3-pointers. Morton scored 20 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and had two blocked shots.

The magical postseason run for Butler continued in the PIAA playoffs with incredible come-from-behind victories over Central Dauphin and Upper St. Clair again before the season was ended by the pandemic before the state quarterfinals.

For his great senior season, Morton was named the Trib HSSN boys basketball player of the year.

No. 17 – Lots of Mercy for Central Valley Foes

No. 18 – Swimming Sweep…Again

No. 19 – Fabulous Freshmen

No. 20 – Golden Knights of the Tennis Court

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