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Lady Raiders defeat Collegiate, Villa Madonna, Iroquois in win streak

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By Dave Taylor

Three wins in a row! The youthful Trimble County Lady Raiders have been celebrating some joyful times on the basketball court over the past couple of weeks. Coach Kerry Stewart’s cagers picked up their sixth win of the season Monday and extended their winning streak by downing visiting Iroquois 50-38 in Bedford.

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“Tonight we’re focusing on all the positives,” a smiling Stewart said following the game. “Three in a row, this win has tripled our wins over last year and we’re just going to focus on the good things that we did tonight and we’ll come in Wednesday and continue to iron out the things that we need to work on moving forward.”

Iroquois opened the game with a scrappy full-court press and quickness, forcing Trimble to cough up the ball six times in the first eight minutes. Trimble’s Lady Raiders, however, maintained their composure and, behind a nine-point offensive effort by Shelby Wilcoxson and a basket by Emma Ginn, held a 11-9 advantage after the first quarter.

“We were concerned because of their style of play that it would totally discombobulate us and take us out of our game but as an aspect of growing up we maintained some poise there,” Stewart said. “We stayed focused on what we needed to do and as a result we were slowly able to build a lead.”

Iroquois tied the score at 11-11 with a basket by leading scorer Makenza Swan just 30 seconds into the second quarter. The bucket was Iroquois’ “swan song” as the visitors scored only once more during the remainder of the first half. Trimble raced away to a 23-13 advantage at halftime.

The Lady Raiders continued with their offensive attack, outscoring Iroquois 16-8 during the third quarter to enjoy an 18-point, 39-21 advantage at the quarter stop and never looked back.

“We’ve always told them when you’re open and within shooting range you’ve got to shoot the ball unless the game situation dictates otherwise,” Stewart reflected. “We’ve still got some people passing up shots at times but not near what we were doing earlier in the year. You’re not going to score if you don’t shoot the ball. Shoot the ball when you’re open. We’re still young but we’re growing up in terms of experience and we’re still figuring some things out.”

Iroquois finally got some offensive effort working in the final eight minutes of play, as five of the visitors put points on the board to outscore the host Lady Raiders 17-11 but the deficit was too much for them to overcome.

“They came and hit some shots there at the end that made the score a little tighter than what we would have preferred but a win is a win,” Stewart said.

Trimble made good on 18 of 53 field goal attempts for 34 percent. The ladies had a 73 percent shooting night from the free throw line, hitting eight of 11 charity tosses.

Wilcoxson scored a double-double – 25 points and 11 rebounds – to pace the Lady Raiders. Abby Ponder hit three treys for nine points. Emma Ginn and Colby O’Connor each scored six points. Emma Horn and Gracie Jent contributed a basket apiece to complete Trimble’s scoring.

Iroquois also shot 33 percent from the field, hitting 17 of 52 shots. The visiting Lady Raiders converted three of five free throws for 60 percent. Swan with 19 points led the scoring for Iroquois, now 13-9 on the year. Destiny Thompson was also in double figures with 10 points.

Trimble won the rebounding battle, 38 caroms to 25. Leading rebounders in addition to Wilcoxson were Ginn with six boards, and four each were hauled down by Gracie Bromwell, O’Connor and Ponder.

Turnovers were nearly even with Trimble committing 12 miscues to Iroquois’ 13.

The game marked the fourth straight in which Wilcoxson has scored 20 points or more. The sophomore had 20 points in both the Jan. 21 Henry County and Jan. 24 Louisville Collegiate games, 29 points in the Jan. 26 game at Villa Madonna, and 25 Monday.

Shelby was named the North Central Kentucky Conference Player of the Week after her efforts in the games played Jan. 21-26. In those three contests Wilcoxson pulled down 29 rebounds, dished out eight assists and grabbed eight steals.

“It’s just hard to put into words what Shelby is doing for our team right now and that’s a result of the work that she put in this summer individually,” Stewart said. “She’s determined to be a good ballplayer and make her team better. She comes into every single practice trying to do the same thing. You wouldn’t trade a kid like that for anything. I’m glad to see that she’s having the individual success that she is with that effort and her success is contributing to the team’s success. She’s all about the team. She’s not about her individual statistics.”

In Trimble’s game with Villa Madonna, the sophomore grabbed 14 rebounds as Trimble broke a 12-12 first quarter tie and led at the remaining quarter stops 29-14 and 43-27 en route to the 54-39 win.

“We’ve got a tough road ahead but I think these last three games should be confidence builders for us,” Stewart said. “We’ve grown up some. We’re getting better in a lot of areas. We’ve still got work to do. We know that and we’re not shying away from that.”

The Lady Raiders, 6-15, travel to Goshen tomorrow night for a matchup with 29th District foe North Oldham. Trimble will host Gallatin County on Monday, Feb. 4, and will make their final home appearance of the season next Friday, Feb. 8, when they host Owen County. In addition to Senior Night, during which the Lady Raiders will honor the team’s lone senior Ashlynn Cissell, the Feb. 8 contest will also benefit Relay for Life. Cancer survivors, caregivers and family members of cancer victims will be recognized during special ceremonies that evening.