Buttner, Inglima standouts in hoops | NevadaAppeal.com
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Buttner, Inglima standouts in hoops

Nevada Appeal Staff Reports

Charles Whisnand

Former Porterville College men’s basketball coach George Nessman, who led the school to the 2000 California state title, had a defensive policy known as “special rules.”

The special rules applied to an opposing player who could light it up. Whenever Nessman’s special rules applied, under no circumstances was that player to be allowed to shoot the ball.

It’s safe to say that special rules apply to Carson High graduate Ryan Buttner, a sophomore at Feather River Community College in Quincy. But while opponents have been doing everything to make sure that Buttner doesn’t shoot the ball, the former Senator standout has picked up where he left off as a freshman when he was named to the All-Golden Valley Conference first team last season.

Buttner, a three-point specialist who has improved his overall game this year, is not the only former Carson standout who is a star in Northern California community college basketball this season. His former teammate, Vince Inglima, who teamed with Buttner to lead Carson to the 2002 Sierra League title, has been a standout for Cabrillo in Aptos, Calif. In the latest NorCal rankings, Cabrillo (9-5) is rated No. 12 and Feather River is No. 15.

Feather River got off to a slow start this season, losing its first four games, but since has won six of its last seven. The Golden Eagles open defense of their Golden Valley Conference title this weekend at Shasta.

Buttner has been a key to Feather River’s turnaround, which included the title at the Consumnes River Tournament. Buttner hit 15 three-pointers in three games in the event on his way to being named to the all-tournament team. In the finals, Buttner scored 19 points as Feather River beat Delta, then ranked No. 2 in the state.

For the season, Buttner’s improved all-around game is shown through his statistics in which he’s averaging 18 points, six rebounds and three assists a game.

There’s more pressure on Buttner and the guards now since Feather River has lost two of its post players to injuries. “We don’t have a big inside presence now,” Buttner said.

Buttner had a simple explanation for Feather River’s 0-4 start. “We just weren’t putting it together,” he said. “We have all the pieces for a good team.”

He said the Golden Eagles have the ability to be one of NorCal’s four teams to advance to the State Final Eight to be held in March in San Diego. But as the defending conference champions, Buttner said every opponent will be fired up to play the Golden Eagles. “We’ve got to come out every night ready to play,” he said.

Since teams are guarding him closer, Buttner has been finding other ways to score. “People pretty much know I can shoot,” he said. “I can barely get open. I’ve been having to mix it up. I’ve been running all around just trying to get open.”

But Buttner’s strength is his quick release, which he said has become even quicker with work over the off season. “Over the off season, I put in a lot of work,” he said.

So Buttner has still been a three-point threat, hitting 54 threes and shooting 43 percent from behind the arc for the year.

Buttner, though, still has a sour taste in his mouth from the way last season ended. Inglima and Cabrillo came to Feather River and upset the Golden Eagles in the first round of the NorCal playoffs.

“I still think about that all the time,” he said. “We shouldn’t have lost like that. We shouldn’t have went out like that. Hopefully we’ll get them again this year.”

Inglima hasn’t really given him a hard time about last year’s playoff game, Buttner said. “He’s not too bad about it,” Buttner said. “He’s been pretty good about it. Vince is a real good guy. We’re still close.”

Buttner has been receiving interest at the Division I level. Among the schools who have shown interest are St. Mary’s, the University of San Diego, Oregon and national power Gonzaga.

“I’ll have a couple of options hopefully,” Buttner said. “I definitely want to keep playing.”

He said he was surprised to learn that Gonzaga was interested. “They said they’re going to be keeping their eye on me. I couldn’t believe it when I heard that.”

The chance to play for Gonzaga or Oregon would be “awesome,” Buttner said. “Either one of them I would love to play for,” he said.

Inglima could also have the chance to move on to the next level. Among the Division I schools showing interest in Inglima is Sacramento State, said Carson coach Bruce Barnes.

Inglima has been consistently scoring in double figures for Cabrillo. Inglima is coming off a performance on Tuesday in which he scored 18 points in Cabrillo’s 71-59 win over Skyline.

Among Inglima’s other highlights this season was making the all-tournament team at the Diablo Valley Tournament and scoring 19 points in an 83-68 win over Columbia, then NorCal’s No. 8 ranked team.

Charles Whisnand is the Nevada Appeal Sports Editor. Contact him at cwhisnand@nevadaappeal.com or 882-1214.