Fairfax Lake Braddock’s Natalie Butler was once a sophomore intimidated by playing basketball at the varsity level. Two years later, she has signed a letter of intent to play at Georgetown University and realized her size can make her the intimidator.
“I think the experience definitely helps,” Butler said recently. “I think sophomore year was definitely intimidating coming in, playing against older girls. Now, coming in, being 6 foot 4, you can be large and in charge. I’ve learned that my size can be an intimidation factor alone, whether I touch a basketball or not, so that’s definitely a confidence builder.”
The Lake Braddock girls’ basketball team came to Robinson Secondary School on Dec. 7 in search of its first win of the season. When the night was over, the Rams might have been wishing Butler was still a sophomore.
Butler scored 23 points and grabbed 23 rebounds, lifting the Bruins to a 43-25 victory on Friday night. After a slow start, Butler scored 10 of Lake Braddock’s 12 second-quarter points as the Bruins started to pull away. Lake Braddock led 19-11 at halftime and by as many as 20 points in the second half.
“That’s what we need for [Butler] to bring every night,” Lake Braddock Head Coach Leigh Janis said. “She controls the boards. We look to get [the ball] inside, but we did a good job working the inside-out, too. We had other kids score and knocking down threes and looking to drive. We feed off of her, but she did a great job finding her teammates as well.”
Junior guard Marcia Altman scored seven points for Lake Braddock. Junior guard Betsy Gallier scored six points, sophomore guard Christine McGrath finished with three points and senior forward McKenzie Hunter and senior guard Haley Strawderman each added two.
“I’ve learned that my size can be an intimidation factor alone, whether I touch a basketball or not, so that’s definitely a confidence builder.”
--- Lake Braddock senior Natalie Butler
Robinson entered the contest with a 2-0 record, but Lake Braddock held the Rams to a season-low 25 points. Senior forward Dhyamond Crenshaw led Robinson with seven points and sophomore guard Brigitte Gould scored six. Freshman guard Mary Katherine Mastaler had four points for the Rams, sophomore guard Leeah Betourd and junior guard Melanie Yumping each had three and freshman guard Kaitlin Luccarelli added two.
“I think [the Bruins] played great,” Janis said. “I’m very, very pleased with our defense and I think that really fueled our offense.”
Lake Braddock defeated Herndon, 52-34, on Tuesday to improve to 2-2. The Bruins will open Patriot District play at home against West Springfield at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 14.