Mentally tough Thomson prevails over Butler

Thomson 68, Butler 60



With his veteran players often finishing his sentences in huddles, Thomson coach Michael Thomas knew they were on the same wavelength when it came to their halftime lead against Butler: It wasn’t safe.

The Thomson boys basketball team, up as many as 15 points, withstood a charge from Butler, winning 68-60 Wednesday night at Josey in the quarterfinals of the Region 3-AAA Tournament.

With the result, Thomson is assured of a state playoff appearance and Butler – the region champion a year ago and a state finalist – saw its season end.

“This team has been mentally tough for a while now,” Thomas said. “If you’re with me for four years, you have to be mentally tough.”

Ronkeem Sallywhite, who made back-to-back 3-pointers in the second quarter to stretch Thomson’s lead to 29-16, led all players with 23 points.

But Anthony Moss put in perhaps the biggest field goal of the game when he scored on a layup after a Butler turnover near midcourt with his team up only 60-58.

Moss’ basket came after Butler’s Jeff Menefee drilled a long 3-pointer as part of a 16-7 run. Menefee and teammate Jeff Archie both connected on three 3-pointers and combined for 25 points.

Though Butler did remain close on Dan Lambert’s two free throws to make it 64-60, two important rebounds fell into Thomson’s hands.

First, after Butler missed a crucial shot, Jamontae Beard came down with a defensive rebound and called a timeout.

After Butler fouled and Sallywhite missed two free throws – a rarity on a night when he made his first eight attempts – Dwayne Williams grabbed the second huge board following the second clank. Williams hit two foul shots after getting fouled.

Williams then punctuated Thomson’s win with a slam right before the buzzer.

“It was a lack of execution,” Butler coach Cervantes Boddy said. “This time of the year, it’s about who wants it more. They wanted it more than we did.”



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