Survive and advance. It was the name of the game for the Butler women on Thursday against Allen County in the first round of the Region VI playoffs at the Power Plant.
Despite facing a team that suited up just six players, the fifth-seeded Grizzlies trailed after one quarter and had to pull away in the second half to claim a 72-53 victory over the 12th-seeded Red Devils.
With the win, Butler (24-7) advances to the quarterfinals at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Hartman Arena in Park City. Butler will play fourth-seeded Seward (23-7), which advanced by beating Pratt by an 86-56 score on Thursday.
Allen County started the game with a 3-pointer and led 5-0 before Butler scored on a layup by Imari Bell with 7:25 left in the opening quarter.
Allen doubled up Butler on a jumper by Ashley Sally that made it 12-6 with 1:11 left in the first quarter and still led by that margin until Nakylia Carter hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it 14-11 at the break.
Butler then outscored Allen County 26-9 in the second quarter. Butler would take the lead on a layup by Nia Roberts with seven minutes left in the half that made it an 18-17 game.
The Grizzlies pushed the lead to 14 points at the half when Eledria Franklin nailed a 3-pointer with four second left in the first half, making it a 37-23 game.
Butler would lead 56-40 after three quarters and pushed the final margin to 19 late in the game.
Nakylia Carter led Butler with 19 points, tying her season high. Eledria Franklin scored 14, which is also a season best and marks her first game in double figures in a Butler uniform. Imari Bell scored 11 and Raven Prince scored 10 for Butler. Haley Wilson scored 21 and Ashley Sally had 16 for Allen County.