WEST ALEXANDRIA – Arcanum ended 2016 on a winning note with back-to-back league wins against both Tri-County North and Twin Valley South.
The Lady Trojans had an overwhelming win against Tri-County North 77-25. But after a holiday layoff and just a single practice to prepare for South they had to work a little harder to get that second win on the road.
South proved to be a small but scrappy team. Arcanum did break the game open in the last half of the third quarter and got some separation and pulled ahead for a 57-34 win.
Twin Valley South was short two post players due to injury coming into the game. So the Panthers went with a smaller, quicker lineup to counter the height advantage of Arcanum. This was somewhat effective as Arcanum seemed to be the better team but could not shake the pesky Panthers off of their tail. The Panthers stayed within striking distance about 8-10 points behind through the first half and a good bit of the third quarter.
But at the four-minute mark of the third quarter an already short South team lost its senior center – Kelcie Shafer – due to a cut above her eye. This opened up the middle for Arcanum, and the Trojans closed out that quarter with a 12-3 run. It was 44-36 at the end of the third.
Shafer did attempt to return in the fourth quarter but had to return to the bench. Arcanum extended its lead in the fourth quarter and was able to get the bench on the floor by game’s end.
During the game the two teams utilized a zone defense, and both teams mixed in the press. The Trojans used a two-in and three-out offense while the Panthers used a shell offense with a single post player.
Arcanum got good outside shooting from its wings, hitting five 3-point shots to South’s single trey. And in the second half when the Trojans got on their run, they got a lot of points in transition, beating the Panthers down the court.
“In my opinion, they are the second best team in the league,” South coach Brody Rike said after the game. “We are doing some things defensively in the half court that are frustrating even our best opponents. But we need to rebound better and get back on fast breaks. Basketball is a game of momentum, and we had a young lineup, and so when you lose a senior player like Kelcie Shafer it affects the rest of the girls. But they are a good team; they are one of the better teams we played this year.”
“My hat is off to South; they played a great game. They went after us – they made the game interesting that is for sure,” Arcanum coach Matt Grote said. “We were a little flat coming out after this Christmas break with just a single practice. We did not shoot well, and a lot of the little things we just didn’t do well. We did run the floor some in the second half – we got some defensive tips and were able to score off of them. We could have had more points, but we missed a ton of layups. Their post player, Shafer, played well. When she went out they got a smaller – it was unfortunate that she got hurt. But was great to close out the year with two wins a row before we play a good Russia team next week. We need to carry this momentum forward and stay on this roll.”
Arcanum scoring: Stevie Johnting 21, Madi O’Daniel 12, Gracie Garno 5, Brittany Kinney 5, McKenzie Sharritts 5, Macey Hartman 4, Kayla O’Daniel 3, Camille Pohl 2, Siculan 2
TVS scoring: Mylan Crews 14, Kelsie Shafer 8, Abby Robertson 4, Alyssa Clark 4, Abby Bingham 2, Taylor Bowers 2