Trojans surge in second half to beat Bulldogs

By: Aaron Pyle

         For the Girard Boys Basketball team, the Trojans opened the season with a 58-47 loss to the Parsons Vikings Friday, Dec. 4. Girard was led by the senior tandem of Rigby Born and Gabe Muia who finished the game with 12 points respectively.

         Following the loss, the Trojans traveled back to Ted R. Taylor Gymnasium for a matchup against the Liberal Bulldogs Tuesday, Dec. 8. Girard poured it on offensively from the opening tip as the Trojans claimed a dominant 71-34 victory over the Bulldogs capturing the first win of the season. Sophomore Alex Coester led the team in scoring Tuesday night ending his night with 14 points. Muia finished with 13 points and junior Brahm Born closed the night with ten.

         Looking to capture back-to-back victories, the Trojans traveled to Galena for a conference (CNC) matchup against the Bulldogs Friday, Dec. 11. The Bulldogs came into the matchup fresh off a controlling 74-19 win over St. Paul to open the season Friday, Dec. 4. Last season in the two meetings between Galena and Girard, the Trojans won the first matchup 57-56 then fell in the second 46-36.

         In the first quarter, the defense of the Bulldogs packed the paint as the Trojans struggled to find a rhythm offensively. The Bulldogs led by as much as nine midway through. Galena’s defense would also hold the Trojans to just two points until two minutes remained in the first. Senior Rigby Born provided the effort offensively in the first quarter scoring five of Girard’s six points.

         Early in the second quarter, turnovers plagued the Trojans from cutting the deficit. The Bulldogs were also able to clog the paint until junior Brecken Troike provided a spark by aggressively attacking the paint. Troike’s efforts help start a Trojans’ run to cut the lead. Turnovers by Galena helped the Trojans cut the deficit late in the second quarter. Sophomore Aiden Damman came off the bench late in the first half and provided a needed spark for the Trojans’ offense. Damman scored five points within the final two minutes including a three-point shot which cut the Bulldogs lead to just three at the end of the first half.

         At halftime, Girard trailed 21-18.

         In the second half, the brother pairing of Rigby Born and junior Brahm Born lit it up from behind the arc sinking in three threes. Brahm would sink back-to-back three’s midway through the third quarter to put the Trojans ahead for the first time in the game. Second chance opportunities also became a focal point of the Trojans’ offense as the Bulldogs struggled to close out.

         Headed into the final quarter, the Trojans held a two-point lead, 31-29. Nine of Girard’s 13 third-quarter points came from the Born brothers.

         For the final quarter, the Trojans’ hot streak from deep continued while the Bulldogs were able to respond. Girard began to slowly pull away at the midway point of the final quarter as the Trojans’ defense shut down the paint with the Bulldogs struggling to find a basket. Girard would lead by as much as nine with four minutes remaining.

         The Bulldogs trimmed the lead to as little as four points with three minutes remaining but the Trojans were able to hold on credit to their efforts at the free-throw line. Turnovers halted Galena’s comeback efforts as well with the Trojans prevailing over the Bulldogs 48-41.      

         Brahm Born led the Trojans in scoring as the junior finished the game with 13 points. Rigby Born closed the game with ten while senior Gabe Muia finished with nine.      

         “Thought our ball movement was better,” said Coach Rod Wescott. “We quit turning the stinking thing over as much. That’s been a key for us these last three games. We feel like if we take better care of the basketball we can beat just about anybody we’re going to see.”

         Girard (2-1) will look to make it three consecutive wins Thursday, Dec. 17 in a non-conference matchup against Fort Scott (1-1). The Tigers come into the game following a 48-45 win over Camdenton which marked the first career victory for newly appointed Head Coach Cliff Heffern.