Michael Kreill is wired different.
An outstanding basketball talent at Butler High School, the three-year starting guard and Aviators’ leading scorer gets a charge out of shutting down the other team’s best player. That makes him a dual difference-maker in a second straight top-shelf season.
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“I love to get to guard the best player every time,” said Kreill following Butler’s impressive 68-53 second-half blitz of host Fairborn on Friday night. “That’s what I love about basketball.”
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It’s also why he won over Butler coach Darren Wyrick long ago. Besides, the 6-foot-1 guard can fill it up, too.
Kreill was at his two-way best against Fairborn, going for a career-high 30 points, including 21 in the decisive second half. He also was tasked with shadowing Fairborn’s high-scoring guard, senior Shaunn Monroe, and passed that test, too.
The Greater Western Ohio Conference’s third-leading scorer (26.5 points), Monroe was limited to a season-low 10 points, including just one after halftime. Trailing by just two at the break, Fairborn had no chance with Monroe all but shut out afterward.
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“If he has a fault it’s that he’s the ultimate team player,” Wyrick said of Kreill, the son of former Butler coach Jeff Kreill. “He tries to get his teammates involved. He guards the best player on the other team and he’s supposed to score our points, too. He wants to do that and he embraces that role.”
Wyrick switched out Kreill with emerging sophomore Tyler Montague on Butler’s prevent defense in the second quarter and the impact was immediate.
Butler was 19-4 last season, but finished 1-2. That included a loss to Sidney that cost Butler an outright GWOC American North title and an upset loss to Fairmont in a postseason opener letdown. Bettering that run is the new goal.
“We know we’ve got something special going on,” Kreill said. “We’ve always got something to prove.”
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Butler won its third straight, improved to 9-1 overall and 5-1 in the GWOC American North. Fairborn, 6-3 and 3-1 in the GWOC American South, had its five-game win streak snapped.
Senior Bryant Johnson added 13 points for Butler and Montague a career-high 12.
Joe Nickel led Fairborn with 16 points. Otis Person, Tylen Eatmon and Monroe all had 10 points.
Butler is at Stebbins on Tuesday and at mighty Trotwood-Madison (6-1) the following Friday.
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This is the first season for Fairborn coach Billy Harchick, a 2006 Fairborn grad and the Skyhawks former girls varsity coach. Harchick made the switch after longtime Fairborn boys coach Nathan Chivington left to succeed Kevin Higgins at Lebanon. Harchick previously was a JV coach under Chivington.
“This is my dream job,” Harchick said. “We started out hot and we look to continue that. The kids are buying in. We’re running a new system with new kids and they’re buying in.”
Chaminade Julienne 68, Fenwick 63, double OT: Jack Nauseef had 23 points, six steals and hit a layup to force OT as the visiting Eagles (9-1) overcame a 10-point deficit to go 4-0 in the Greater Catholic League Co-Ed North. CJ's Milton Gage added 17 points and Larry Turner seven OT points.
C.J. Napier poured in 27 points for Fenwick (6-3, 2-1).
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Trotwood-Madison 109, Piqua 41: Amari Davis totaled 26 points and Malachi Mathews 19 for the visiting Rams (6-1, 4-0). Zach Tillman had 12 points for Piqua (3-6, 1-5). It was the third time Trotwood hit triple digits. The Rams are averaging 96.8 points. Trotwood is at Thurgood Marshall on Saturday night.
Monroe 63, Brookville 56: The visiting Blue Devils suffered their first loss despite Wade Turner's 27 points. Brookville (9-1) fell to 4-1 in the Southwestern Buckeye League Southwestern Division.
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Sidney 72, West Carrollton 55: Andre Gordon had 22 points and Ratez Roberts 16 to lead the visiting Yellow Jackets. Sidney (8-1, 6-0) holds a one-game lead over Butler in the GWOC American North. Ryan Brown had 13 points for West Carrollton (2-9).
Dunbar 78, Thurgood Marshall 74: Eric Smyth scored 18 points and Brice Smith 17 to go with 12 rebounds in leading the Wolverines in a City League showdown.
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