By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – Maybe you can’t build a basketball team around one player. But if you’re the boys squad from Plainville and junior Austin Butler is on your sidelines, you’re already in amazing shape.
He’s a huge building block to the future for the Blue Devils.
And some of that future is on display now and off a strong second half of the season, Butler has displayed a real presence on the court for Plainville.
That includes a couple of huge offensive explosions.
If the Blue Devils are going to have any long term success, it’s going to start with the talented Butler and if he can show some balance on both sides of the ball, watch out.
He already has all the tools on the offensive side of the ball and once Butler can match the defense with his offense, the sky is certainly the limit.
“If I can get that effort he does offensively on defense, it would be a tremendous thing,” said Plainville coach Marc Wesoly of Butler. “Sometimes, he kind of has those mental lapses where somebody takes an outside shot and he’s just kind of watching. He doesn’t realize how athletic he is (and he could) go in there and get a rebound.”
“But when he does, he goes in there, gets a rebound, and scores.”
Butler has been more than impressive on the offensive end and since the Blue Devils picked off Platt for its first win of the season, the junior sensation has been on a tear.
In the seven games, he played in since, concluding with 31 points against Bristol Central, Butler has pumped in 136 points for a neat average of 19.4 points-per-game.
He’s scored in double-figures in six of the seven contests and notched 20 or more points in four of those bouts.
In a home contest against Bulkeley earlier this season, Butler racked in 27. On Jan. 28 against Hall, he hit for 20.
The Feb. 7 victory over Bristol Eastern saw Butler skip in 21 points. One week later, he added the team season high of 31 against the Rams.
So, the offense is there and other coaches around the CCC South know Butler’s one of the primary studs to stop if you’re going to beat the Blue Devils.
And once Butler puts the entire package together, Plainville will be posting several victories along the way.
“He just needs to give the 30 minutes of (both parts of the game),” said Wesoly.
The Blue Devils are looking to finish up the season with a bit of a burst and expect a strong showing by Plainville until the final horn sounds on the season.
“We can’t quit,” said Wesoly. “That’s one thing we talked about. If we quit, that’s telling our seniors (we gave up). Shane (Pugliese) and (Eric) Fischer gave me four years of everything. I’m not going to quit and I’m going to make sure my boys don’t quit on them.”
NOTES…Plainville picked up its third win on Friday, Feb. 21 as the Blue Devils turned away Fermi, 57-50, in a road contest from Enfield.
Timmy Dixon wrangled up 16 points in the winning effort while Austin Butler punched home 10.
Mikal Salmon flipped in eight points. Matt Fiesta and Jayden Lococo each had six points. Debrion Hamilton netted five while Jalen Benoit added four points in the win.
The Falcons fell to 0-17 in the losing effort.