XENIA — Visiting Vandalia Butler hit on scoring runs whenever the host Xenia Buccaneers would try to keep Tuesday night’s boys high school basketball game close, and the Aviators gradually pulled away for a 57-43 win.
Butler junior guard Tyler Montague scored a quiet 18 points top lead all scorers. He’s the Miami Valley League’s second leading scorer with a 16.3 points-per-game average, and made his 18-point night look easy. Teammate Cooper Justice finished with 10 points, Quinton Hall scored nine points, and two other Butler players scored two points each in the win.
Butler, now 12-9 overall and 10-7 in the MVL Miami division and in a tie for second place, has now won three of its last four games, and five of its last seven. The Aviators wrap up their regular season against Miami division winners Tippecanoe on Friday, Feb. 14.
The Aviators held a 15-12 lead after one quarter of play, and reeled off an 11-2 run to close out the half. That run, with scores from Montague, 6-foot-6 center Connor Buchanan, Justice and Matthew Beverly established a 31-20 Butler lead at the break.
A Dylan Hoosier jump shot with 5:37 to play in the third pulled the Bucs within nine points at 35-26, but an 8-1 Aves mini run put Butler back out in front 43-27.
For Xenia (4-16, 3-14 MVL Valley), Shawn Thigpen led the team in scoring with nine points. Hoosier and Matthew Caupp both finished with six points, Cameron McFarland scored five points, Isaiah Hoyt, Kevin Johnson and Gavin Earhart each scored four points, Zack Gaither scored three, and Alex Sparks added two.
Vandalia outscored Xenia from behind the 3-point arc, 12 points to three. The Aves also shot better from the free-throw line. Vandalia converted 9 of 11 free throws (45 percent). Xenia hit six of 17 tries (26 percent).
The Buccaneers will conclude the regular season with a 7:30 p.m. game on Friday, Feb. 14 against MVL and county foe Fairborn at the Baker Middle School gymnasium, in Fairborn.
The varsity game didn’t get under way until after 8 p.m., due to a single overtime freshman game, double overtime junior varsity contest, and a brief recognition of 10 Xenia High School winter sports senior athletes and cheerleaders.
Xenia players Cameron McFarland, Alex Sparks and Gavin Gerhardt were among those recognized.
In the JV contest, the Buccaneers’ Kenji Ward hit a pair of free throws with 8.1 seconds left to give Xenia a 69-67 double-overtime win.
Those two winning points were the only points Ward scored in the game.