By Camden McFarland
The Girard Trojans boys’ and girls’ basketball teams kicked off their season with a home game against the Labette County High School Grizzlies last night.
During the girls’ game, Coach Brad Herlocker introduced a new mix of 11 players on his varsity roster who all experienced playing time against the Grizzlies.
Initially, both teams came out slow offensively and did not produce many points. Girard put up six points in the first quarter while holding Labette County to 15.
Unfortunately, the Grizzlies increased their pace to earn a steady stream of points while the Lady Trojans struggled to find their way to the basket.
Throughout the game, Girard’s veteran varsity leader Sydnee Crain accumulated much of the team’s offense as she scored 16 of the team’s total 31 points.
With numerous young varsity players on the court this year for Girard, an adjustment period is to be expected. These girls showed the potential to be a solid team as they learn to work together.
Regarding the first game of the season, Coach Herlocker said, “Tonight was a rough draw against a very good Labette team. They were more experienced, more aggressive and executed their plan. For us, the effort was there but we played scared and did not execute what we wanted to do. That had a lot to do with Labette’s defense.
“There’s no time to feel sorry for ourselves so we will have to take the good, learn from the bad and keep pushing forward!”
The Lady Trojans ended up falling to Labette County with a score of 57-31.
Prior to the boys’ game, there was a sense of uneasiness and doubt on how well the new young squad would perform. However, this feeling was quickly diminished as the Trojans came out with an unexpected fire and aggressiveness toward the Grizzlies.
In the first quarter, Labette County dominated the court on both sides by scoring 17 points while holding Girard to six.
Roles changed drastically in the second quarter, as Girard put up 22 additional points, 17 of which were from junior Caleb Muia. The Grizzlies were only able to score 10 points before the end of the first half.
Both teams came out with an increased urgency in the second half and focused more on defense. From there on out, it was a battle to see who could penetrate the other’s defense.
Girard was able to score 10 points in the third quarter while Labette County earned 13 to maintain the lead and bring the score to 38-40 entering the fourth quarter.
As the fourth quarter winded down, defense played a critical role on both sides. Each team managed to score nine, but Girard needed more than that to take the lead and their fight never waivered.
With less than three seconds left, the Trojans managed to make two strong attempts to either tie the 47-49 game and head into overtime or seal the victory with a three-pointer.
Unfortunately, the Trojans just did not have enough time to capitalize and the final score remained at 47-49 in Labette County’s favor.
Nevertheless, this new squad’s impressive performance hints at a successful season as they work out flaws.
The most impressive individual performance from Girard last night undoubtedly came from Muia, who ended the game with 29 points and 14 rebounds with two dunks.
Regarding the game, Coach Rod Wescott said, “The thing I was pleased with the most was the heart our kids showed. It took a little bit to get to game speed but I thought our kids responded well. We figured some things out as the game went on. We came up a little bit short, but we’ve got some good things to look forward to ahead of us.”
The Trojans will be on the road next Friday in hopes of redeeming themselves against the Baxter Springs Lions.