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By Colin Harris | Staff Writer
In an early season battle for the top spot in the Portage Trail Conference's County Division, the Southeast girls rode a hot second-quarter effort on their way to a 68-45 victory over the visiting Garfield G-Men on Wednesday.
With the win, Southeast ups its record to 6-1 overall and 5-0 inside the County Division, while Garfield drops to 2-5 overall and 2-2 in division play.
"I'm really happy with the way our girls played tonight against a good Garfield team," Southeast head coach Bob Dunn said. "We knew this would be a big game and we played well."
After a back-and-forth first quarter that saw 10 lead changes, Southeast blew the game open with a 20-8 second quarter.
Madison Dunn scored six points to lead the way in the period, but it became a true team effort as six different Pirates players scored. The result was a narrow 18-14 lead after one quarter turning into a more comfortable 38-22 cushion by halftime.
Turnovers hampered the G-Men offense all game, totaling 23 in the game against only five for Southeast, but it handcuffed Garfield most especially in the game's decisive second quarter.
In total, Garfield committed 10 turnovers in the period -- compared to zero for Southeast -- and the Pirates took full advantage with multiple easy layups in transition.
"I'm really happy with the way the girls communicated out on the court -- particularly defensively," Dunn said.
When the Pirates weren't turning turnovers into easy points, it was junior Brittany Butcher who was the answer in the halfcourt set because of her outside shooting abilities.
Butcher followed up her 27-point performance on Saturday in a win over Mogadore with a game-high 22 points on Wednesday. The sharp-shooting junior knocked down six 3-pointers to lead all scorers.
Once again, Butcher was the Pirates' one-two scoring punch alongside senior teammate Shayna White, who had 15 points and a game-best 13 rebounds.
"Brittany has worked really hard on her shot from last season," Dunn said. "She's at the point where, if we can get her the ball and she has her feet set, she has a good chance of making that shot."
Garfield did a better job maintaining possession during a competitive second half, but the hole dug during the second quarter was too much to overcome.
Garfield head coach Aaron Gilbert said the combination of Butcher and White was too much for his young team to handle.
"Southeast is a really tough team because they have a good inside-outside combination," Gilbert said. "If you commit to trying to stop White, then Butcher and (senior guard) Katelyn McCullough can hurt you outside."
The G-Men were led offensively by senior guard Jackie Tabor, who finished with 11 points. Freshman Alicia Witte finished with nine points to go along with four rebounds.