Butterfield is Chargers’ marathon man
Not long after Tyler Butterfield broke the national marathon record at the Commonwealth Games, another Butterfield is proving to be Bermuda basketball's marathon man.
The Devonshire Chargers go into tonight's Winter League final against Somerset Tsunamis on the back of Alex Butterfield's 29 points in their 63-37 win over Hamilton Parish Rockets in the semi-final on Monday.
Butterfield almost took up permanent residence underneath the basket at Bermuda College two days ago to lead the Chargers to victory and he explained that long-distance running helps him get open in the paint and cover the whole court.
“It's just knowing how to move on the court, spacing and my speed,” Butterfield said. “I do a lot of running as well, so I think my fitness is better than some of the other players.
“I do a lot of long-distance, I ran the Bermuda Marathon, so out here is just like a warm-up for me. I'm having fun out here.”
It was almost as if Butterfield was invisible to defenders on Monday, and his penchant for getting put-backs on offensive rebounds served his team well.
“They call those garbage points,” Butterfield said of his ability to score off the glass. “Some guys will be sleeping and they think they have it, I sneak in and that's two easy points.”
The Chargers have been the dominant team in the Winter League, sponsored by One, this season, and their team-first positive outlook is a big reason for their season, Butterfield says.
“Our manager, Calvert Lee, has had a philosophy of positivity,” he said. “This whole season, when we have huddles, we don't even talk about plays. He just talks about staying positive, not arguing with each other, not arguing with the refs, so that mentality has helped us a lot, as far as keeping a positive attitude.”
Butterfield also paid tribute to point guard Kevin Stephens and the rest of his team-mates. Stephens himself is chasing a double, having been instrumental in guiding Falcons to the Atlantic Vision Care Elite City League title last December.
“Today and throughout the season, Kevin has been our team leader,” Butterfield said. “Normally the point guard is the floor general. Without him, I wouldn't have points, because he distributes the ball to everybody, so he's been very instrumental. Everybody's played different roles to help us be where we are today.”
Defence is also key to the Chargers, Butterfield said. Indeed, they held the Rockets to only 13 points in the second half of their semi-final win.
“Our player-coach, Junior Warner, has been very adamant about defence and not slacking,” Butterfield said. “If he sees us slacking, he immediately gets on us because he knows that's crucial to our success as well, being aggressive on the defensive side.”
The Tsunamis reached the final after beating Warwick Rimrockers 52-43, with both teams having 11-5 records in the regular season. Dean Jones was an all-round force for Somerset in the semi-final, registering a double-double with 17 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and three blocks on Monday night.
The Chargers and Tsunamis take each other on in the final at Bermuda College tonight. with the opening tip set for 7.30pm.