By: Aaron Pyle
Lady Trojans claim Wilson County Classic title, boys finish third
On the final day of the Wilson County Classic, the Girard Trojans had a pair of matchups with the boys’ team playing for third place and the girls playing for the tournament title.
Tipping off the action, the #6 seed Girard boys team squared off against the #4 seed Bluestem Lions (5-4). In the previous matchup for Girard, Jan. 21, the Trojans fell to Cherryvale (7-2) 50-38.
In the first quarter, junior Rigby Born and sophomore Brecken Troike came out with guns blazing scoring the first 17 points for the Trojans. Girard pushed the lead to double-digits near the end of the first quarter and never looked back. The Trojans picked up the pace even more in the second as the duo of Troike and Born continued to pile it on the Lions.
Bluestem struggled to get a basket against the stout defense of the Trojans with Girard forcing turnovers and finding looks in transition. At halftime, the Lions trailed the Trojans 44-13.
From there, the Trojans maintained their large double-digit lead for the remainder of the game as they went on to dismantle the Lions 69-26. The boys’ team finished third in the Wilson County Classic after claiming the tournament title the previous year.
Troike finished the game with a career night tallying up 19 points in the victory over Bluestem. Sophomore Quinn O’Rand and R. Born made a major impact in the win as well as O’Rand finished with 13 and Born with 10.
“I thought tonight the focus was much better,” said Coach Rod Wescott. “Proud of the kids thought they came out, played hard, and executed.”
Following the win, the Trojans (4-6) return to Ted R. Taylor Gymnasium for the next matchup Tuesday, Jan. 28 against Baxter Springs (5-4).
On the girls’ side, the Lady Trojans found themselves in the Wilson County Classic title game after a commanding 44-22 victory over Fredonia (6-5). In the championship game, the Lady Trojans would have a tall order facing the Cherryvale Chargers (6-2) who’s two losses came against an undefeated Olpe Eagles team (12-0) and the Columbus Titans (8-2).
In the first quarter, the Chargers put the pressure on Girard early going on a 9-0 run in the first half of the quarter leaving the Lady Trojans scoreless until 3:30 remaining. Girard picked it up in the second half of the first going on a 9-2 run to finish the quarter.
The two teams battled it out in the second quarter exchanging baskets back and forth. Girard continued to pick it up early starting the second on a 4-0 run to bring the team back within reach of the Lady Chargers. Free throw opportunities became key on both sides as Girard and Cherryvale found ways to get to the line. At halftime, the Lady Trojans trailed 20-17.
Coming out of the first half, the Lady Trojans played with a newfound energy that Cherryvale had a hard time containing. Girard took the lead for the first time in the game a little over midway through the quarter and didn’t look back. Efforts on the glass and the inside attack of the Lady Trojans proved to be the driving force behind Girard’s second-half turnaround.
Headed into the fourth, the Lady Trojans held a 39-29 double-digit lead. The Chargers shot continued to not fall in as Girard took advantage of Cherryvale’s missed opportunities. Three of the Lady Chargers starters would foul out of the game midway through the fourth which essentially sealed the fate of the game.
The Lady Trojans went on to claim the Wilson County Classic title with a 56-47 victory over Cherryvale.
Three of the Lady Trojans finished the night scoring in the double-digits; sophomore Faith Poland (12), junior Brooklyn Tallie (10), and junior Makaila Ausemus (10).
“Couldn’t be more proud of these girls,” said Coach Brad Herlocker. “We’re down nine to zero against the top seed with them having all the experience and us having none. Had every opportunity to just kind of check it in and have an early night. I kept telling them that they’re playing our style of basketball and really not doing any subbing. We were rolling in 11 people and I thought it really showed up in the second quarter and a whole lot in the third and fourth.”
Following the win, the Girard Lady Trojans (6-4) stay home for the next matchup Tuesday, Jan. 28 where they face the Baxter Springs Lions (3-4).
Indians claim victory over Southeast in rematch
Coming off a tough 53-45 loss to Baxter, Jan. 23, the St. Paul Indians looked to bounce back in the second round of the Lancer Classic. The Indians tipped off the second round in a highly-anticipated rematch against the Southeast Lancers (4-6). In the previous matchup for the two teams, St. Paul claimed a narrow 55-54 victory over the Lancers, Dec. 12.
St. Paul jumped out to an early 19-11 after the first quarter. The Lancers found their way back within reach in the second quarter trailing the Indians 33-32 at halftime. Much like the first meetup between the two teams, the game would come down to the final quarter. St. Paul would prevail over the Lancers claiming a 59-52 victory.
Three Indians players finished the night scoring in double-digits; senior Chandler Bradshaw (19), senior Easton Dent (11), and senior Kaleb Lemmons (11).
Following the win, the Indians (8-4) are slated to play for third place in the Lancer Classic Saturday, Jan. 24 at 4:30 p.m., against the Columbus Titans (7-3). The Lady Indians (10-2) will play in the game following for the Lancer Classic title against the Titans (8-2) as well.