By: Aaron Pyle
After a clean sweep in the Girard’s previous matchup, Feb.5, against the Columbus Titans, the Trojans were back in action Tuesday, Feb. 12 as they faced the Frontenac Raiders.
For the Lady Trojans in last game, Girard narrowly escaped the Titans 43-39 maintaining their undefeated CNC record of 8-0. Tuesday, Girard (12-3, 8-0) met once again with Raiders (8-9, 5-4) where the Lady Trojans were able to escape 58-54 in their previous meeting.
The first half was neck and neck as neither team was willing to let up defensively. Frontenac became able to take advantage of turnovers turning them into transition baskets. A buzzer-beating three at the end of the first quarter provided needed energy for the Trojans as they would get back into the game after a slow start.
Frontenac’s aggressive attack defensively continued to give the Lady Trojans problems with Girard looking to find their answer offensively. Senior Kalyn Flaharty and sophomore Jaada Valley ability to get good looks inside trimmed down the Raider lead as Girard trailed 25-20 at the half.
The Lady Trojans captured their first lead of the game to start the third off key baskets inside the paint from the tandem of Valley/Flaharty. Frontenac quickly responded taking back their lead and holding onto it until the final buzzer. Girard made efforts to get back into the game trailing by only four points midway through the fourth quarter. But the Raiders offense kicked it in at the right time defeating the Lady Trojans 56-45.
The loss comes off as Girard’s first CNC league loss of the season (12-4, 8-1).
“There were times where it wasn’t so much that we played terrible, they just played that good,” said Coach Brad Herlocker. “At the end of the day, too many offensive rebounds…you play a good team and you can’t give away those extra opportunities.”
Seniors Flaharty and Gabbi Sands made key efforts in the loss as both players finished the game with 9 points leading the Lady Trojans in scoring.
For the boys, they come off an easy 57-39 victory over the Columbus Titans, Feb. 5.
Tuesday night, the Trojans (13-2, 7-1) once again met with the Frontenac Raiders (7-10, 3-6) where Girard was the 60-47 victor in their last meeting.
Senior Caleb Muia sat out the first quarter for the Trojans which paid dividends as Frontenac was able to take advantage of holding Girard to only eight points. All eight of the points would come from senior Dillon Collins.
Muia returned into the game as well as Ryder Worrell who hasn’t seen the court since his injury Jan. 11 against the Raiders. Girard’s continued to remain cold in the second half as looks that are usually automatic weren’t going in. A buzzer-beating three at the half would give the Trojans needed momentum as they trailed 21-25.
Both offenses remained slow throughout the second half, but Girard was able to get back into the game off hot shooting from Muia, Worrell, and Troike.
With a put-back late in the fourth from Muia, Girard was able to take the lead for the first-time giving Frontenac the ball with one minute left. The Raiders tied up the game with a layup as Girard had one last shot to win the game. The Trojans ended up missing a floater as both teams headed to overtime.
In the first overtime, neither team was willing to let up as both squads exchanged baskets back and forth. Muia would make a clutch free throw putting Girard up by three with less than 10 seconds remaining. Frontenac then drove down the court sinking a buzzer-beating three sending the game to a second overtime with the score being 45-45.
There wasn’t much scoring in the second overtime as it became a defensive battle throughout. Collins sunk a huge three-point shot early in the overtime. Muia stole the ball on the next possession sinking one of his two free throws putting the Trojans up by four. Frontenac wasn’t ready to back down yet though as they would tie the game back up sending it to a third overtime.
In triple OT, Troike and Muia pushed the lead to four points early but once again the Raiders found their way back into the game off open layups and key free throws. Doherty would barely miss a fadeaway shot which would win the game. But, in an instant classic, both teams were headed to a fourth overtime.
From there, Girard’s defense prevailed as the Trojans made key free throws which ultimately sealed the deal as Girard (14-2, 8-1) went on to win 60-57 over the Raiders (7-11, 3-7).
“We gutted it out, had several opportunities early that we didn’t take advantage of and we are fortunate because the ball could have easily bounced the other way…both teams played their tails off,” said Coach Rod Wescott.
Girard had three players in double-digits for the night; Muia (20), Worrell (13), and Collins (11). Including key effort plays from Evan Troike who finished with 8 points.
The Trojans are set to face the Baxter Springs Lions in their next contest, Feb. 15, in a highly-anticipated CNC matchup.