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Trimble County’s Lady Raiders jumped out to an early 10-4 lead early in Monday’s game with Shelby County and never looked back on their way to a 52-44 defeat of the Lady Rockets in what Trimble Coach Kerrie Stewart called “a big win for us.”
While holding a 35-24 advantage late in the third quarter the Lady Raiders weathered a storm over the next six minutes of play at Shelby pulled within one, at 42-41, with 3:54 remaining in the game.
“We looked like we were thinking about getting a little rattled there at one point and getting caught up in the officiating and the crowd,” Stewart said. “We took a time out and addressed that and told them, ‘Play your game. The officials are not going to win or lose it for you, it’s up to you if you want to win the ballgame.’ I thought the kids responded well. We did what we had to do down the stretch.”
Trimble reeled off eight unanswered points pulling out to a 50-41 advantage before Katie Hudgens popped a three for the Lady Rockets with 23 seconds remaining on the clock. That’s as close as Shelby would get as Katie Temple calmly sank two free throws in the waning seconds for the final margin.
While the Lady Raiders continued to struggle at the line, “Paige Black hit some big free throws down the stretch and the two that Katie Temple nailed there at the end helped kind of seal the deal,” Stewart said.
Black and Temple ended the game scoring in double figures. Black led all scorers with 14 points, Temple added 10 and Sarakate Long contributed six.
Three girls—Hudgens, Savannah Raizor and McKenzie Raizor—each scored 11 points to lead a balanced scoring attack for the Lady Rockets.
Shelby’s greater size and ability to get position under the boards led to a 29-19 rebounding advantage.
“We’ve still got to do a better job of rebounding,” Stewart said. “We’re getting pushed under the boards instead of pushing people out of the way.”
Trimble’s aggressive defense, however, produced 12 steals—six of which led to baskets on the resulting offensive possession—against Shelby’s four stolen balls.
“We knew we could not afford to get caught up in a half court game with them. They were too big for us,” Stewart said. “Our goal was to try to pressure them in a full court and turn them over and make them have to run. We felt like that was to our advantage.”
The Lady Raiders, now 3-2 on the season, connected on 39 percent of their shots from the field and were 15 of 26 from the free throw line for 58 percent. Shelby hit 33 percent from the field and 50 percent at the line.
“We’ve not had this type of close game,” Stewart said. “We’ve either been blown out or we’ve blown the other team out. This is really good for us as we get ready to face Oldham County Friday night. Oldham is a very solid basketball team. They have some good athleticism and they’ll run probably 12 people in and out all night long. They’re going to come out and get after us in a full-court press.”