Senior Kyle Butler, who had 18 points and a team-high four assists, admitted that Danville’s 38-36 victory in overtime over Normal West on Friday night was a boost for the Vikings (10-16).
“It all started with Friday’s win over them,’’ he said. “I feel that gave us a lot of confidence coming into tonight’s game.’’
And that confidence turned into the best shooting night for the Vikings this season.
Not only did Smith and Butler combine for 45 points, but the senior duo was also an amazing 15-of-22 from the field and the Vikings finished the night making 70 percent (21-of-30) of their shots.
“That’s putting the ball in the hole,’’ said Houpt, who is well-known for his shooting ability. “I knew we shot it well, I didn’t know we shot it that well. We had a shootaround before we left Danville — and we will be doing that from here on out.’’
But, how can anyone explain a team making 7-of-12 from 3-point range?
“We always knew we could shoot,’’ said Butler, who had three of his team’s 3-pointers. “It was just a matter of it clicking at the right time. Hopefully, we will continue shooting like that.’’
Houpt pointed out that Butler does more than just shoot the ball well for Danville.
“I can’t say enough about his poise,’’ he said. “He came out and shot it real well to get us started, but he really carries a heavy load for us. He doesn’t have eye-popping stats, but what he does against pressure, getting us into our offense is quietly spectacular.’’
Butler and Smith combined for 28 points in the first half as Danville had a 37-21 lead at the break.
“It was a great start, but we knew we were not going to blow them out,’’ Houpt said. “With their style of basketball will always keep them close. We needed that cushion. We needed to have a lead while we learn how to close out a game in a tournament atmosphere.’’