(Fort Scott Community College photo/Lauren York-Keegan)
Fort Scott (0-4) took just its third lead of the night -- its first since the 7 1/2-minute mark of the first half -- when Desean Miles hit a bank shot with 1:47 remaining in the contest, making it 53-52.
But Sean Osler put Butler back in front just seconds later. Then Grizzly sophomore Zac Bargen made the key defensive play of the night when he drew a charge on Julian Mills with just over a minute remaining. That led to a basket by Justin Simmons to put the Grizzlies (2-2) up 56-53. Butler added some free throws before Miles scored the last basket with 11 seconds to go.
"We're going to fight. We're going to be competitive," Fort Scott head coach Michael Cook said. "But I think being down 10 (early in the second half) kind of takes the life out of you in that when when you're fighting back, you lose all your energy."
The 'Hounds made their charge at the free-throw line but might have won had they done even better than 14-of-24 from the charity stripe in the second half.
"Our offense puts us in the position to score on the free-throw line," Cook said. "We just have to knock them down."
Butler held a 14-6 lead with 11:53 left in the first half. But Miles came off the bench and scored 11 straight 'Hound points to put Fort Scott up 17-16 with 7:30 to go.
Butler had the margin back up to eight, 27-19, with 2;35 left. Miles made a free throw and Derrick Thomas drove for a basket to bring FSCC within 5 at the break.
Simmons helped the Grizzlies get up by 8 or 9 a couple of times early in the second half before he got into foul trouble. Butler held a 47-38 lead with 9:02 left in the contest.
Fort Scott scored the next 8 on 5 free throws and a Danner 3-pointer to get within 47-46. Bargen converted a 3-point play for the Grizzlies to make it a 4-point game.
Mills made a pair of free throws with 4:08 to go but also missed a pair less than a minute later. However, Miles scored in transition off a Mills steal and then hit the banker to put the 'Hounds ahead.
Miles finished with 22 points to lead all scorers, making 7 of 10 shots from the field. But he was also Fort Scott's only double-figure scorer. Danner was the next-highest scorer with 7.
Bargen led Butler with 14 points while Simmons and Osler added 13 each. Those three combined to make 16 of 30 field-goal attempts.
Fort Scott shot 36 percent from the field, making 16 of 45 field-goal attempts and 5 of 13 3-point tries. Butler shot 40 percent on 26 of 65 and made only 3 of 21 triples.
"I thought we played great defense," Cook said. "Things in the box score you're not going to see are like Sheldon Hayes, who was a presence in the lane just taking up space. We didn't get much scoring from Tony (McGilveary) tonight (2 points on 1-of-10) but he had 12 rebounds, so he found a way to help us. We just couldn't get shots to fall."
Butler won the battle of the boards, 43-38, and also committed 14 turnovers to Fort Scott's 18. Mills had 4 steals and 4 assists for the Greyhounds.
The Greyhounds will play in a classic at Coffeyville this weekend. Friday, they will face State Fair from Sedalia, Mo. Saturday, they will line up against the Arkansas Tech junior varsity. Both games will tip off at 5 p.m.
BUTLER: Williams 3-8 0-1 6, Bernbeck 1-2 0-0 2, Cornelius 0-3 0-0 0, Lindhorst 0-6 0-0 0, Simmons 6-11 0-0 13, Osler 5-8 2-3 13, Watson 2-3 0-0 4, Harper 2-6 0-0 4, Bargen 5-11 3-7 14, Victoria 2-7 0-0 4. TOTALS: 26-65 5-11 60.
FORT SCOTT: Green 0-2 0-0 0, Miles 7-10 6-10 22, Millls 1-5 4-8 6, McGilveary 1-10 3-4 5, Danner 2-5 1-3 7, Nickerson 0-1 0-0 0, Walton 1-4 2-2 5, Thomas 3-5 0-0 6, Hayes 1-3 2-4 4. TOTALS: 16-45 18-32 55.
Halftime: Butler, 27-22.
Three-point field goals: Butler 3-21 (Osler 1-3, Simmons 1-5, Bargen 1-5, Bernbeck 0-1, Cornelius 0-2, Lindhorst 0-5), Fort Scott 5-13 (Miles 2-3, Danner 2-5, Walton 1-2, Green 0-1, McGilveary 0-1, Thomas 0-2).
Total fouls: Butler 23, Fort Scott 15. Fouled out: Simmons, Mills. Technical fouls: Simmons.
Rebounds: Butler 43 (Harper 9, Victoria 9), Fort Scott 38 (McGilveary 12). Assists: Butler 9 (Williams 3), Fort Scott 7 (Mills 4). Turnovers: Butler 14, Fort Scott 18. Steals: Butler 8 (Lindhorst 3), Fort Scott 7 (Mills 4). Blocked shots: Butler 2 (Harper, Victoria), Fort Scott 1 (Hayes).