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South Oldham’s Lady Dragons gave the visiting Trimble County’s Lady Raiders a shellacking in the first quarter of Monday night’s game at Crestwood and rode to victory on the strength of that one quarter alone.
Using tenacious defensive pressure to create steals and force rushed shots, South Oldham dismantled their guests quickly to race out to a 21-3 advantage after eight minutes of play. The Lady Dragons continued their scoring onslaught in the second quarter to increase the margin to 21 at halftime, leading 35-14.
But Trimble, led by the tenacity of senior Chloe Griffith who refused to give up and several of the team’s youngest upstarts who did their jobs in the face of pending doom, charged back in the second half to outscore their hosts 19-15 over the final 16 minutes of play for the final 56-39 score.
“The effort that these girls gave the second half, if we have that and play flat out for four quarters we will win our share of basketball games,” Trimble Coach Kerrie Stewart said. “We would’ve beaten South Oldham tonight had that been the case. Hopefully, this will turn out to be a blessing in disguise for us that we can play with them and we step up to that.”
Junior Paige Black, although finishing the game as Trimble’s leading scorer with 11 points, wasn’t much of a factor in the contest, scoring only two points in the first half, and adding nine in the second half before fouling out of the game very early in the final period.
The shining lights for the Lady Raiders were eighth graders Kaylee Clifford and Shelbe Black, freshman Mila Consley and sophomore Ashley Brierly who made their presence felt in the second half. Clifford ended the game with seven points, Shelbe Black six, Consley four and Brierly three.
“I’m very pleased with Shelbe, Mila, Kaylee Clifford and sophomore Ashley Brierly—it was all about the effort that they gave,” Stewart said. “Good things will happen when you give good effort regardless of talent level. When you don’t have that effort and you don’t have that attitude then it’s hard to win.
“Shelbe’s strong inside. She can score in the paint. She can get rebounds for us. We’ve got to work with her on her footwork and we’ve got to pick up her speed a little bit. She’s just an eighth grader,” Stewart said. “Kaylee’s just an eighth grader. Mila’s just a freshman. Those kids have gotten better as the season has come on and they’re going to continue to get better. We expect big things out of them.”
Trimble’s coach also had high praise for Griffith whose hustle on both ends of the floor, especially on the boards, inspired her teammates.
“I think she felt like all through the game that we could win it regardless of the score,” Stewart said. “We’ve got to have more people that have that same type of attitude. I don’t want them to give up. I felt like some people did early. It doesn’t take a great player to rebound the ball and play good defense. It just takes a kid that won’t give up and she does that for us night in and night out.”
During her postgame meeting in the team’s locker room, Stewart told the team she really really appreciated the second half effort and told the girls if they did that for four quarters every game they could beat everybody that’s left on the schedule, even South Oldham if they meet again in the District Tournament.
“We can play with anybody in this district,” Stewart said. “We can go to the regional. We can go to the regional as district champions. That’s our goal. We’re just going to keep working hard and get everybody on the same page.”
Trimble tops Henry
On Tuesday, Jan. 22, Trimble took command of Henry County early, racing to a 15-4 advantage after a quarter of play en route to a 61-24 wallop in Bedford. The Lady Raiders outscored their guests in every quarter of play.
“That’s exactly what we told them when we sent them out that we want to go ahead and take care of business early and not look back,” Coach Stewart said. “Our press was very effective early on. After we made some adjustments with the line of defense there it got even better then we were pretty well able to take them out of the game.”
The only quarter where Trimble slacked off was in the third frame when they outscored Henry County 9-8.
“We had quite a sluggish third quarter there from an offensive standpoint,” Stewart said. “We talked about that afterwards, too, that we want to be able to maintain our intensity and focus and continue to do the things that we do regardless of the score, whether we’re winning by a lot, whether we’re losing by a lot or whether it’s a nip and tuck game. We’ve got to focus or our objectives and stay strong in those. We came back in the fourth quarter to put up 19 points there. All in all it was a very solid win.”
Paige Black led Trimble’s balanced offensive effort with 18 points. Junior Jessie Dunlap scored 12. Griffith, Brierly and Erin Gonterman each contributed five points. Clifford, Shelbe Black and Tailor Brewer each had four points. Consley and Jessica Ball each added two.
“The younger girls… I thought they picked up the momentum, honestly, when they went in and part of that may be because they are younger and they’re hungry for that time out on the floor and they’re going to do what they can to help the team and show us that they’re ready to play more quality minutes,” Stewart said. “I thought Ashley Brierly played really well as well as Tailor Brewer and even Katie Gonterman. She’ll fight for rebounds and work hard. We’re pleased with those younger players. They are a lot of the reason that we are where we are this year because they make us better in practice every day. When you’ve got some people who will come in there and compete against you and push you and be content with whatever their role is but to understand that right now my job is to make you a better player and that says a lot about these girls and their idea of what team is.”
Trimble, now 10-9 on the season, travels to North Oldham for a matchup with another district rival.