By Camden McFarland
The Girard Trojans basketball teams both redeemed themselves last night in game two of the season against the Baxter Springs Lions.
Heading into the night, there was no doubt that Girard’s teams would be tested after the losses to Labette County High School in week one.
However, the adjustments made leading up to last night’s game proved to be effective for both boys and girls teams.
From the start of the girls’ game, the Lady Trojans played slow and Baxter caught them off guard in the first quarter. Girard scored 11 points in the first quarter but the Lions were close behind with 10 points.
This all changed in the second quarter, though, as the Lady Trojans started coming to life on both sides of the ball. Girard put up another 11 points before the end of the first half and only allowed the Lions to score seven.
The Lady Trojans entered the second half leading 22-17, and brought their momentum from the second quarter along with them.
Baxter could only manage to score four points in the third quarter as Girard’s defense began to lock down, and Girard enhanced their lead a little more by scoring eight points.
In the fourth quarter, the Lady Trojans stepped up their game yet again and scored 11 additional points while allowing Baxter to score only six. This brought the final score to 41-27.
Throughout the night Girard’s offense was led by senior Sydnee Crain, who scored 16 points.
Additional scorers included sophomore Brittley Bailey with six points, junior Jordanne Ferguson with two points, junior Kalyn Flaharty with two points, junior Gabbi Sands with five points, junior Kynzie Smith with two points and freshman Jaada Valley with eight points.
The performance shown by the Lady Trojans last night was much improved from week one, but there is still work to be done to further solidify the team’s consistency.
Regarding the victory, Coach Brad Herlocker said, “We played hesitant until midway through the second quarter, and then finally settled in and played basketball. We did a good job of applying pressure, hustling and turning defense into offense.
“With a good rotation of players going we were able to wear them down a little. We made a nice run to finish out the second quarter and the girls carried that momentum into the second half. Baxter has a nice ball club and they are well-coached so this was a nice win for us!”
To start off the boys’ game, the Trojans wasted no time taking the lead by scoring 14 points in the first quarter and holding Baxter to five.
Girard continued to get even more fired up in the second quarter and made another run of 17 points before the end of the first half. Baxter managed to earn 12 points before the end of the half but entered the locker room trailing 17-31.
Entering the third quarter, Girard led by 14 points but the Lions were not discouraged. The Trojans’ soon realized the fight was nowhere near finished after Baxter scored 16 points.
The Trojans scored eight points before the end of the third quarter, but Baxter had cut down their point deficit to six points with a score of 39-33.
With the realization of how close this game had become, both teams amped up the intensity in the fourth quarter to fight it out.
As the clock winded down, Baxter made one last effort to overtake the Trojans by scoring 19 points, but Girard matched that to maintain their lead and seal the 58-52 victory.
Girard’s lead scorers of the night were junior Caleb Muia with 25 points and senior Ethan Goff with 14 points.
Additional scorers included junior Carter Doherty with two points, junior Evan Troike with six points, and sophomore Ryder Worrell with 11 points.
Regarding the team’s performance, Coach Rod Wescott said, “These kids did some good things tonight, but we need to be more consistent and put all four quarters together. This was a good win for these guys and I’m glad to see their hard work begin to pay off.”
The Trojans’ next matchup will be at home against Anderson County Tuesday, Dec. 12. Girls will begin playing at 6 p.m. and the boys’ game will follow.