BUTLER TWP — Seneca Valley is headed to the WPIAL girls basketball playoffs.
Butler is not, but the Golden Tornado treated their Section 1-6A finale against the Raiders as if it were a playoff game and gave SV all it could handle.
The Golden Tornado outscored their rival 15-6 in the fourth quarter to force overtime before the Raiders won the extra period and survived in a 53-50 decision at Butler High School Thursday night.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game and we couldn't just come in here and expect to win,” said Raiders' sophomore forward Olivia West. “We had to be the more physical team tonight.”
West gave the Raiders (15-6, 9-5) a lead just five seconds into overtime after scoring off a pass from Jaden Davinsizer.
Butler (7-14, 4-10) answered with Ali Altman's bucket at the other end, but the Tornado would not score again until a pair of free throws from Emma Monteleone with less than a second left.
In between, SV received a basket from Maddie Karchut and free throws from three different players to take a 53-48 lead.
“It was a nice comeback, but I told the girls that living on nice comebacks is for the eighth grade,” said Butler coach Mark Maier. “You can't do it at this level.”
“I'm just proud of our girls for pulling this one out on a hostile floor,” said SV coach Dorothea Epps. “You have to give credit to Butler, though. They came at us hard in that fourth quarter and we had to withstand that rush.”
It was a period that began with the Raiders leading 40-31, but Butler's press forced five turnovers and Altman scored eight of her team-high 18 points in the quarter to spur Butler's rally.
Down 46-44, Butler's Hailey Metzger missed a 3-point attempt, but was fouled going after the rebound and hit both free throws to tie the game with 1:03 remaining.
The Raiders held the ball for the final shot, but Karchut's jumper was short, forcing overtime.
Butler fell behind for good with 2:06 left in overtime. SV then played keep-away, limiting possessions for the Golden Tornado.
“Both teams probably had 80 possessions in this game and it's easy to go back and second-guess them to death,” said Maier. “Things just snowballed on us (in overtime). Seneca gets a basket and we come down and can't answer and they start hitting free throws.”
Karchut was a major thorn in Butler's side, scoring 24 points and pulling down 13 rebounds. Jaden Davinsizer added 16 points for the Raiders, including three treys that helped the Raiders lead 30-18 at halftime.
“(Karchut) just keeps getting better and better,” said Epps. “She gets double- and triple-teamed and finds another player who's open. She wasn't feeling that great tonight and had to gut it out.”
Altman added eight boards for Butler.
“This was a game against our county rival,” said Maier. “They beat us by 13 points (59-46) down at their place earlier and it would have been nice to hand them a loss as they entered the playoffs.
“It was a great effort. We just have to get over the hump.”
Both teams play Monday, with Butler closing its season at home against Hampton and Seneca Valley traveling to Peters Township.
SENECA VALLEY 53
Olivia West 3 3-10 9, Maddie Karchut 10 4-8 24, Jess Bickart 1 1-2 3, Jaden Davinsizer 3 7-8 16, Haley Cramer 0 1-2 1, Morgan Sinan 0 0-0 0, Kaitlyn Wolfe 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17 16-30 53.
Sarayne Forbes 3 1-1 8, Macklin Hanley 2 0-0 4, Emma Monteleone 1 3-5 6, Makenna Maier 1 6-6 9, Ali Altman 7 4-4 18, Hailey Metzger 1 2-2 5, Aubree Tack 0 0-2 0, Maisy Gibson 0 0-0 0, Anna Michalek 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15 16-20 50.
Seneca Valley 14 16 10 6 7 — 53
Butler7 11 13 15 4 — 50
3-point goals: Seneca Valley 3 (Davinsizer 3); Butler 4 (Maier, Metzger, Monteleone, Forbes).
Monday: Seneca Valley at Peters Township; Hampton at Butler