Ausemus, Born lead the way as Trojans sweep Rams

By: Aaron Pyle

            Tuesday, Jan. 12, the Girard Trojans were back in action at Ted R. Taylor Gymnasium for a conference matchup against the Riverton Rams.

            For the Lady Trojans, the team played last night (Jan. 11) where Girard (4-1) defeated the Galena Bulldogs (3-2) by a score of 39-30. Girard battled the Bulldogs in a low-scoring affair where senior Jaada Valley and junior Olivia Cullen highlighted play for the Lady Trojans finishing the game with ten points, respectively. Senior Brooklyn Tallie finished third in scoring for Girard ending her night with six points.

            In the matchup Tuesday, the Lady Trojans battled a Riverton Rams team coming off a 45-13 loss to St. Mary’s Colgan Friday, Dec. 8. Last season in the first meeting between the conference foes, the Lady Trojans prevailed over Riverton 51-38. Girard looked to repeat last year’s outcome against a Rams team that won two of its last three games. The Lady Trojans were without leading scorer and junior Faith Poland due to COVID-19 quarantining.

            Turnovers became prevalent throughout the opening minutes of the girls’ game. Neither side would score the ball until the midway point as the Lady Trojans struck first. From there, Girard went on a 10-0 run credited to the sharpshooting of senior Makaila Ausemus. Girard’s defense picked up the pace as well allowing only two points for the Lady Rams in the first quarter. Ausemus ended up nailing three three-pointers in the first quarter.

            In the second, the Lady Trojans continued to pile on their already large lead with the help of Ausemus and senior Jaada Valley. Unable to get any production offensively, the Rams were held to four points in the second quarter. At halftime, Girard led 28-6.

            From there, the Lady Trojans maintained their large lead for the entirety of the game as they went on to win 47-18 over Riverton. The win marks the fourth consecutive victory for Coach Brad Herlocker and the Lady Trojans.

            Ausemus highlighted the night for Girard scoring 12 points which all came from the three-point line. Junior Olivia Cullen ended her night with seven points while seniors Brooklyn Tallie and Jaada Valley finished with five, respectively.

            Subsequent to the victory, the Lady Trojans travel to Frontenac Friday, Jan. 15 to face a Frontenac team (1-0) that has played only one game this season. The lone game ended in a victory over the St. Paul Lady Indians where the Raiders won 50-41. In the opening game between the two conference rivals last season, the Raiders captured a 59-47 victory over the Lady Trojans. Girard will look to bounce back from last year’s outcome.

            On the boys’ side, the Trojans were able to capture a 56-44 victory over the Columbus Titans 56-44 Friday, Jan. 8. Brahm Born provided the effort offensively as the junior finished the game with a team-leading 17 points. Seniors Rigby Born and Gabe Muia ended the night with nine points, respectively.   

            In Tuesday’s contest, the Trojans (3-2) faced a tough Rams team (5-1) that defeated St. Mary’s-Colgan 53-40 Friday, Jan. 8. The only loss for the Rams this season came Dec. 22, prior to Christmas break, where Riverton was defeated by Pittsburg 74-66. Last season in the first meeting between Riverton and Girard, the Trojans defeated the Rams by a narrow margin of 71-69.

            Opening the game, the two sides struggled to get a rhythm going offensively much like the start of the girls’ game. Neither side scored the ball until two minutes into the quarter. After the Rams scored the first basket, the Trojans went on a 5-0 run to take the lead back. Shortly following the Trojans’ run, the Rams went on their own 8-0 run by aggressively attacking the paint. Girard was able to stay within reach by drawing fouls and getting to the line.

            As the Rams led by two headed into the second quarter, offensive production began to slow down for both teams. Riverton held the lead for the majority of the quarter credited to the Rams aggressive attack inside the paint. Turnovers halted the Trojans from taking the lead back until the final two minutes. That’s when seniors Rigby Born and Gabe Muia gave the Trojans newfound energy by attacking the paint which led to chances at the free throw line.

            At halftime, the Trojans led the Rams 23-18.

            The Rams kicked it up a notch early in the third quarter by going on a 7-0 run. Girard quickly responded back by going on a 5-0 run to take the lead back. After the strong start by both teams, the two sides began to cool off late in the quarter as baskets came at a premium for the Rams and Trojans. Headed into the final quarter, the Trojans led by five points, 33-28.

            Early in the fourth, the two sides defenses didn’t let up one bit as baskets were hard to come by for Riverton and Girard. Riverton stayed within reach of the Trojans by getting to the line and sinking key free throws. Midway through, the Rams trailed by as little as one point as the two sides exchanged baskets following the halfway point.

            Turnovers kept the Rams from taking the lead as Girard led by three with two minutes remaining. The Rams were able to tie the game back up following a make at the free throw line and a basket in transition off a turnover. After the turnover, Rigby Born was fouled where he made one of his two attempts to go up one point with one minute on the clock.

            From there, the Rams missed both opportunities to tie the game back up as the misses led to fouls which sent the Trojans to the line to seal the game. Rigby Born and Brahm Born were sent to the line where the two made both their free throws. The lead then became too much for the Rams to make a comeback as Girard went on to win 44-39 over Riverton.

            Rigby Born led the way for the Trojans finishing the game with 15 points. Brahm Born ended his night with nine while Muia finished Tuesday’s game with seven.

            Following the contest, the Trojans travel to Frontenac Friday, Jan. 15 to face the Raiders (0-2) who have only played two games this season due to COVID-19. In the last game for the Raiders, Dec. 10, Frontenac fell to Wellsville 60-58. Girard will look to avenge last season’s first meeting between the two teams where Girard fell 56-53.