NORTH AUGUSTA — As Butler continued making mistakes, North Augusta’s lead got further out of reach.
The Butler girls basketball team struggled with turnovers, some unforced and some from defensive pressure, as the Yellow Jackets went up comfortably in the third quarter and beat the Bulldogs, 56-42, Monday night in the third annual SC vs. GA Thanksgiving Classic at North Augusta High School.
“If anyone watches us play, I want them to say, ‘North Augusta is a great defensive team,’ ” Yellow Jackets coach Jared Adamson said.
Though Marian Ware outmuscled opponents inside early to score Butler’s first five points in the game, the Lady Jackets routinely went to the line early or scored on fast-break chances. North Augusta held Butler without a third-quarter field goal for more than six minutes.
The Lady Jackets often took advantage of the turnovers, with Teanda Cunningham converting one blunder into a layup to begin the second quarter.
The basket came during an 11-2 North Augusta run, and though Ware and Walnatia Wright helped Butler go inside to cut the deficit down to two at 19-17, the swarming North Augusta defense forced Butler to settle for outside shots in the second half.
North Augusta’s Mallory Stone and Cunningham led the early charge, as the two combined for 16 points in the first quarter and finished with 28 points total in the game.
Seven different Yellow Jackets got a field goal, showcasing the depth Adamson thought he would have entering the season.
Trying to survive stretches of following one turnover with another, Butler was periodically successful inside, but missed chances near the hoop hindered any comeback hopes.
Wright and Jewel Sturgis did assist a small fourth-quarter run to shrink what was once a 22-point hole down to 12, but the Bulldogs got no closer.
“Once we get on the same page, I think we’ll be OK,” Butler coach Keisha Stewart said. “We hope to improve as the season goes on.”