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Lady Raiders tops St. Francis for third victory of season

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By Dave Taylor

Intensity and heart were the keys to success for the Trimble County Lady Raiders en route to their dominating 67-29 win over St. Francis Monday. Trimble’s third win of the season had been a long time coming, stretching back over an eight-game losing streak, since the ladies’ last win came a month ago over Southwestern on Dec. 15.

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“We got over that two mark,” a relaxed Trimble coach Kerrie Stewart said following the game. “We won two last year and to finally get that third win is really big for us and to do it with a good effort. We knew coming in that St. Francis was struggling and to come out and play with some effort, intensity and some heart and the same kind of effort we saw at Williamstown, that was really good for us. The girls are beginning to realize that when they play hard, number one it’s a whole lot of fun, and you definitely have a much better chance at coming out the winner on the scoreboard when you do that.”

St. Francis’s only lead of the game came on a basket by Caroline Pepa with 6:07 remaining to play in the first quarter when Stewart called time out with the score 4-2 in favor of the Wyverns.

“We started out a little stagnant early and we took that time out to try to be focused and make sure that we understood our movement on the offensive end of the floor,” Stewart said, “and we came right back out and Abby nailed a three and I don’t think we looked back after that.”

Abby Ponder found the mark with the first of her six treys on the night and Trimble closed the quarter with 23 unanswered points to front 25-4. Ponder was already in double figures, nailing three shots from long distance, coupled with a two-point basket for 11 points.

While St Francis managed to get some offense going in the second period, Trimble still outscored their guests 16-11 over the second eight minutes to hold a commanding 41-15 advantage at halftime. The Lady Raiders continued to put distance between themselves and the Wyverns in the third frame, 21-3 to lead 62-18 going into the final eight minutes. With a running clock and Stewart substituting freely, the final quarter was the only one in which St Francis outscored their hosts, 11-5.

“I’m very pleased with the effort,” Stewart said. “I’m extremely pleased with the way Abby shot the ball tonight, and Shelby having her typical game of just working hard and getting things done.”

Ponder ended the game with 22 points to lead all scorers. The junior was 8 for 11 from the field for 73 percent. Shelby Wilcoxson also hit for double figures with 16 points. Nine Lady Raiders put points on the board. Danielle Craig and Colby O’Conner each scored six points. Gracie Bromwell, Ashlynn Cissell, Emma Ginn and Gracie Jent scored four points apiece and Macy Stark added a free throw. All 12 girls in uniform saw playing time for the Lady Raiders.

“I’m very pleased with all of them,” Stewart said. “We had a lot of people do good things tonight. We would’ve loved to have had an opportunity for everybody to score but when you go to a running clock like that and you have to focus on your bench it’s sometimes hard to do but they all did some positive things whether they scored or not.

“Megan Gonterman is working hard on the boards. MacKenzie (Cornish) did a good job defensively for us and did a good job with the big girl. Emma Horn has been off a week now with a foot injury so she has just gotten cleared so it was a minute here, minute-and-a-half there just to get her back in the flow of things. It’s good to see that it felt good for her tonight so we can get her back into practice and into the swing of things as we move forward.”

As a team Trimble hit 27 of 66 field goal attempts for 41 percent and five of seven shots at the free throw line for 71 percent. St. Francis was good on 10 of 34 field goal shots for 29 percent, and converted seven of 15 free throw attempts for 47 percent.

Junior guard Caroline Pepa led the Wyverns with 14 points and junior center Lily Johnson added 10 points in the losing effort. St. Francis, 0-14 and plagued with injuries, dressed only seven girls for the matchup. The Wyvern roster lacks a single senior.

Trimble County committed only 12 turnovers on the night while forcing 25 Wyvern TOs. The Lady Raiders won the battle of the boards 38 rebounds to 26. Ponder crashed the boards for eight caroms while Ginn pulled down seven.

“A huge effort on the boards tonight,” Stewart reflected. “That’s something we’ve talked a lot about in practice. To see them take that to heart, to come out and work hard on the offensive and defensive end of the boards tonight was really big for us.”

Trimble, now 3-12, travels to South Oldham tonight and continues their road play with a 6 p.m. varsity tipoff at Williamstown Saturday before making their next home appearance Monday entertaining Henry County.