By Camden McFarland
Last night was a special night for the Girard Trojans’ basketball teams as they hosted a Pink Out Night against the Liberal Bulldogs to support USD 248 pareducator Cindy Owen in her second fight with breast cancer.
Prior to the games, a chili feed and silent auction were provided as part of the fundraiser to assist with Cindy’s medical expenses.
In addition, over 700 Pink Out T-shirts were sold to raise funds. Students and community members wore the T-shirts for last night’s game as a way to spread breast cancer awareness and support Cindy during this battle. Players from both schools also wore the T-shirts during warm-ups.
From the start of the girls’ game, the matchup looked to be a close one as the Lady Trojans put up 17 points and held a one-point lead heading into the second quarter.
Liberal refused to lie down in the second quarter but couldn’t find a pace steady enough to surpass the Lady Trojans. Both teams scored 13 points before the half, and Girard maintained their one-point lead.
As the girls prepared for the second half in the locker rooms, the GHS Drum Line provided a special performance to those in attendance.
The third quarter revealed performances similar to the first half as Liberal and Girard remained neck and neck by each scoring 11 points.
Still leading by only one as they entered the fourth quarter, the Lady Trojans finally found a spark in them and made a run for the victory. Girard scored 16 additional points and only allowed the Bulldogs to score seven, bringing the final score to 57-47.
Senior Sydnee Crain led the team once again, but stepped her performance up another notch by scoring 24 points and collecting 12 rebounds, nine steals and five assists.
In regards to the win, Coach Brad Herlocker said, “The injuries keep mounting with Jaada Valley sidelined, but the girls all stepped up their game. It was a very evenly matched game through three quarters. The girls did a good job down the stretch and made the plays to come out with the win.
“Sydnee made great decisions tonight with the basketball on when to take and when to distribute the ball. I was pleased with our defense and we did a great job on the boards in the fourth quarter.”
Moving on to the boys’ game, Girard struggled initially as Liberal caught them off guard. In the first quarter, the Trojans only scored eight points and allowed Liberal to score 11.
Offensively, Girard picked up the pace in the second quarter and scored 16 points, but Liberal fought hard to get past the Trojans’ defense and also scored 16 points. Girard headed into the locker room at the half trailing 24-27.
During halftime of the boys’ game, Girard and Liberal’s girls’ teams gathered on the court with Cindy, her family, and the volunteers who had commandeered Pink Out Night’s activities.
Girard’s Crain and Jacey Murphy presented a $4000.00 check raised from T-Shirt fundraisers to Cindy. Additional funds from the silent auction and chili feed will also be donated to Cindy and her family.
The good vibes in the air must have affected the Trojans, as they entered the second half with an entirely new demeanor.
Girard wasted no time establishing their lead, scoring 22 points in the third quarter and only allowing 11 points.
As the Trojans entered the fourth quarter leading 46-38, they did everything but slow down. Girard scored an additional 20 points and only allowed Liberal to score 13 points, bringing the final score to 66-51.
After leading the team in scoring the last three games, junior Caleb Muia raised the bar a little higher by scoring 31 points.
Regarding the victory, Coach Rod Wescott said, “The guys had a great second half. They played with a lot of heart. I’m proud of their efforts tonight.”
The Trojans’ consecutive wins tonight moved both teams’ records to 3-1.
Girard will be on the road to Iola Monday, Dec. 18, to face the Mustangs in game five of the season.