George Butts’ 547th career victory will have to wait, but after 27 seasons as a head basketball coach, Butts understands the value of patience.
In his regular-season debut as Flagler Palm Coast High School’s girls basketball coach, the Bulldogs fell to visiting Jacksonville Episcopal 38-36 on Monday, Nov. 27.
I'm happy with my group. I’ll take this game as a teaching measure.”
— GEORGE BUTTS, FPC girls basketball coach
“I'm happy with my group,” Butts said. “I’ll take this game as a teaching measure.”
Butts won 515 games at Atlantic High School, where the gym now bears his name. After retiring from the Volusia County School District, Butts coached the past two years at Calvary Christian in Ormond Beach, improving his career record to 546-187.
The Bulldogs (0-1) did not score a point in the first quarter against Episcopal (2-1) but outscored the Eagles 16-8 in the second quarter to trail by one at halftime and then forged a tie at 27-27 heading into the fourth quarter.
“We’re a fairly young team,” said sophomore guard Alexandria Connerton, who led FPC with 12 points. “When our emotions got high, coach kept us calm and under control and got us focusing on details.”
But after taking a 34-29 lead midway through the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs were outscored 9-0 until FPC senior Kaley Mack broke the drought by hitting two free throws with less than a second remaining.
FPC converted just 5 of 13 free throw attempts, while Episcopal forward Zara Griffith hit 16 of 18 from the line on the way to a game-high 18 points.
“We made some mental mistakes down the stretch, and free throws hurt us, but we’re going to be OK,” Butts said.
Freshman guard Ava Works added 11 points for the Bulldogs, who will try to get into the win column when they host Longwood Lyman at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1.
“We’re still getting used to the new program,” Connerton said. “We played hard in this game. We just made little mistakes that we need to correct.”