Trojans sweep Titans

By: Aaron Pyle

            Following the Christmas break, the Girard Trojans began the 2021 year at Ted R. Taylor Gymnasium for a matchup against the Columbus Titans.

            For the Lady Trojans, the team closed the 2020 year with a 57-41 victory over Fort Scott Thursday, Dec. 17. Faith Poland highlighted Girard’s efforts offensively as the junior finished the game with 16 points. Senior Jaada Valley also finished in the double digits with ten points.

            Coming into the matchup, the Lady Trojans (2-1) face a Titans team with an identical record of 2-1. In the matchup prior to Girard, Dec. 18, the Titans fell to the Riverton Rams 48-35. Girard looked to repeat last year’s home game against Columbus where the Lady Trojans won 45-21.

            For the first quarter, the Lady Trojans applied their signature full-court pressure defense early on which causing multiple turnovers for Columbus. Poland helped the Girard offense find a spark in the first by scoring eight of Girard’s 12 first quarter points including two threes.

            In the second, the Titans picked up the pace defensively by packing the paint. By going cold in the second, the Titans were able to narrow the gap as Girard led 24-18 at halftime.

            Girard’s relentless full-court pressure continued to cause turnovers early in the second half as the Titans struggled to hang onto the ball. The Lady Trojans were able to begin the quarter on a 9-2 run to push the deficit. Second chance points became a key effort for the Lady Trojans’ run. Headed into the final quarter, Girard’s lead reached double-digits.

            From there, Girard was able to maintain the double-digit lead for the entirety of the final quarter. The Lady Trojans went on to win 53-33 over Columbus. Poland highlighted the night finishing the game with a team-leading 21 points. Senior Makaila Ausemus finished the game with eight while Valley and junior Serenia Short finished with six.

            In the next matchup for the Lady Trojans, Girard travels to Galena Monday, Jan. 11 for a makeup game against the Bulldogs (3-1). The game was originally scheduled for Dec. 11 but postponed due to COVID-19 concerns. The Lady Trojans look to defeat a Galena team that handled Baxter Springs 35-23 on Dec. 21. Girard will look to bounce back from last season’s first meeting with the Bulldogs where Galena prevailed 39-38.

            For the boys, the team finished off the 2020 year with a tough, narrow 42-37 loss to Fort Scott Thursday, Dec. 17. Junior Brahm Born ended the game with nine points while senior brother Rigby Born closed the night with seven.

            Going into Friday’s game, the Trojans (2-2) battled a Titans team (3-1) that ended the 2020 year with a 53-47 loss to Riverton on Dec. 18. Last season in the first meeting between the Trojans and Titans, Columbus edged past Girard by a score of 53-52. The Trojans looked to avenge last season’s loss in Friday’s game.

            In the first, the two sides struggled to get a rhythm going offensively as defense reigned supreme early on in the game. The Titans were able to maintain a lead throughout the beginning quarter by attacking the paint. Girard stayed within distance by causing turnovers which led to opportunities in transition.

            For the second, the Titans began the quarter by going on a 7-2 run. Following the Titans run, the Trojans were able to come up with their own by going on a 6-0 run to cut the deficit. Midway through, the two sides kept exchanging baskets inside the paint as the game began to pick up. Free throw opportunities became key for the Girard offense throughout the second as chances at the line helped the team regain the lead. Right before halftime, B. Born would sink a floater layup right at the buzzer to extend the lead.

            At halftime, the Trojans led the Titans 28-25.

            Girard’s offense as well as defense came out with a different attitude in the second half by going on a 16-5 run to push the lead even further. The lead was held by B. Born who scored eight of Girard’s 16 third quarter points. Columbus quickly found themselves in a deficit as the Trojans inside attack proved to be troublesome for the Titans. Headed into the final quarter, the Trojans led 44-30.

            From there, Girard was able to maintain the double-digit lead for the entirety of the final quarter. The Trojans went on to prevail over the Titans 56-44. B. Born ended the night with a season-high 17 points which included two threes. Muia, R. Born and sophomore Alex Coester closed the game with nine points, respectively.

            In the next matchup for the boys’ team, the Trojans (3-2) stay home for a conference matchup against the undefeated Riverton Rams (6-0). For the Rams, the team defeated St. Mary’s-Colgan 53-40 on Jan. 8. Girard will look to defeat the Rams much like last season’s first meeting between the two teams where Girard won 71-69 in a high-scoring affair.