Trojans split matchup against Tigers

By: Aaron Pyle

            Thursday, Dec. 17, the Girard Trojans girls and boys basketball teams stayed home at Ted R. Taylor Gymnasium for a non-conference matchup against the Fort Scott Tigers.

            In the Lady Trojans prior contest, the team faced Carl Junction Monday, Dec. 14 where the Bulldogs were able to outlast Girard 50-54. Senior Jaada Valley led in scoring for the Lady Trojans ending the contest with 15 points. Faith Poland also finished in the double-digits as the junior finished with 12 points.

            For Thursday’s matchup, Fort Scott came into the game coming off a 58-45 loss to the Chanute Blue Comets Thursday, Dec. 12. The last time the Lady Trojans and Lady Tigers met, Fort Scott narrowly defeated Girard 53-51.

            In the first quarter, the two sides struggled to find a rhythm as turnovers became prevalent throughout the start of the game. Offensive production was also hard to come by for the Lady Trojans as Fort Scott held Girard to four points in the first five minutes of play. Girard picked up the pace late in the quarter going on a 6-2 run to tie the game back up.

            Girard’s offense continued to pick up the pace in the second by going on a 12-0 run to push the lead to double-digits. Fort Scott was unable to find a basket until the three-minute mark. At halftime, the Lady Trojans led 28-16.

            From there, the Lady Trojans continued to push the pace offensively beginning the second half on an 8-0 run to put the game out of reach. Girard held onto the double-digit lead for the remainder of the game as they went on to win 48-25 over the Lady Tigers.

            Poland led all scorers with 16 points. Valley finished in the double-digits as well as the senior ended her night with ten points.

            “We really did a good job with our defensive gameplan,” said Coach Brad Herlocker. “Overall, we did get some lapses at the end of the game but we weren’t running our regular rotation at that point…Overall tonight I thought we made that extra pass.”

            On the boys’ side, the team last played Friday, Dec. 11 in a conference battle against Galena where Girard was able to sneak past the Bulldogs 48-41. Junior Brahm Born led the way for Girard finishing the matchup with 13 points. Senior brother Rigby Born tallied ten points in the victory as well.

            The Fort Scott boys’ team came into Thursday’s non-conference matchup following a 68-53 loss to Chanute Thursday, Dec. 12. Much like the Lady Trojans, Girard and Fort Scott last met in the 2017-18 season where the Tigers prevailed 58-50.

            Fort Scott pushed the pace early in the contest getting looks in transition off turnovers by the Trojans. The Tigers began the game on a 6-0 run allowing Girard to two points in the first four minutes of play. With offensive production coming at a premium, the Tigers led 14-6 heading into the second.

            Much like the first, baskets were hard to come by for both teams in the second quarter. After leading by as much as ten, the Trojans were able to narrow the deficit with senior Gabe Muia and junior Gage Davenport attacking the paint. Turnovers continued to keep the Trojans from narrowing the gap as the Tigers led 18-12 at halftime.

            Both teams picked up the pace in the second half exchanging baskets inside the paint. The Tigers Trey Brown and Gavin Pytlowany scored all of Fort Scott’s 12 third-quarter points as the Trojans struggled to contain the senior tandem. Headed into the final quarter, the Trojans trailed 30-20.

            In the fourth, the Tigers began to slow the pace maintaining the double-digit lead until the midway point. Girard then applied their full-court pressure which began to give the Tigers troubles. Brahm Born and Muia helped provide the effort late in the final quarter by getting to the paint, drawing fouls and sinking key baskets at the free-throw line. Girard narrowed the Tigers’ lead to as little as four points with one minute remaining but Fort Scott’s efforts at the free-throw line helped the team pull away with the win.

            Fort Scott went on to claim a 42-37 victory over the Trojans. The Born brothers led the Trojans in scoring as Brahm finished with nine points and Rigby finished with seven.

            “Looking back, obviously late in the fourth if we can hit a shot or two we are right there,” said Coach Rod Wescott. “Had a shot but just couldn’t get the ball to go in late. The story of the game is the first quarter, we turned the ball over giving them some easy runouts. You can’t do that against somebody comparable in athleticism.”

            For the Girard in their next contest, the Trojans stay home for a conference matchup against the Columbus Titans Friday, Jan. 8. Tip-off for the Lady Trojans at 6 p.m. with the boys’ game following.