Even a toddler eating pumpkin pie with his bare hands could not have been as sloppy as Friday night's Thomson-Butler boys' basketball game.
The two teams spent most of the evening topping each other's offensive futility before last year's state runner up Butler found the strength for a 6-2 run to end the game and survive with a 44-39 victory.
Thomson's Brian Massey, center, tries to take a shot against Butler defenders (L-R) Antuanne Kerr and Benton Harris during basketball action at Butler High School Friday evening.
Photo by by Michael Holohan/Morris News Service
"I don't know how to describe it," Butler coach Rob Johnson said after watching his squad commit 33 turnovers in the victory. "I've never been involved in an uglier game."
Butler's problem was its inability to hold onto the ball, often hurling questionable passes that were snatched away by a quicker Thomson team. Thomson's problem was its woeful shooting, with many of those off-target shots being rebounded by a taller Butler squad.
The result, as Johnson said, was ugly.
"Our offense was terrible," Butler junior forward Brenton Harris said. "When they pressed us, I guess it just shocked us and we couldn't get open."
Thomson couldn't seem to take advantage of the Butler miscues. Butler committed 17 turnovers in the first half, yet led 21-11 at the break, mainly because Thomson missed 24 of its first 27 shots.
During one first-half stretch, Butler threw the ball away on five straight possessions, but Thomson responded with only four points. Butler then went on a 7-0 run to take its 10-point halftime lead.
Thomson coach Michael Thomas felt the poor offense was at least partially due to inconsistent officiating.
"I think that got both teams out of rhythm," Coach Thomas said. "You never get a feel for the game because they won't let the game progress the way it should."
Thomson hung around in the second half after Terry Hill scored 10 straight points to cut the Butler deficit to 25-23. Thomson then went 5:26 without scoring, but Butler had trouble extending its lead because of careless ball handling.
"I told them I bet we had to set a school record for turnovers," Coach Johnson said.
In the girls' game, Shakia Bouttry scored 11 points to help Thomson down Butler 50-35. Adrienne Stuckey led Butler with 13.
Against Harlem on Dec. 4, the Thomson boys thrashed the neighboring Bulldogs 84-47 behind a 26 point performance from Terry Hill and an 18 point showing from Dan Ivey. The Lady Bulldogs lost to Harlem 49-38.
"We dug ourselves a hole in the first quarter," said girls Coach Eric Rogers. He added that the win over Butler the night before took its toll on his team's stamina.
Thomson's opening game of the season was successful for the guys with a 54-40 win over Elbert County on Nov. 30. The Lady Bulldogs fell in their opener in Elberton 60-42.