ARCANUM – Arcanum’s young team started cold, but as the night went on the Lady Trojans learned as they played and ground out a win against the Brookville Blue Devils on Friday in the opening round of the Lady Trojan Tip-Off.
Brookville has been at the bottom of the Southwestern Buckeye League the last few years, but this year’s squad is an improved team with three returning seniors. And Arcanum only has one senior on the squad and returns just two starters. So the youngsters had to learn in a hurry as Brookville threw all that it had at the Trojans. But Arcanum adjusted and was able to win going away, 48-33.
But the score was a lot closer several times in the game. Both teams were cold in the first quarter. It was 5-4 in favor of Arcanum with 3:31 left.
Then Arcanum turned up the intensity and went on a 13-2 run that went in the next quarter to establish a lead. It looked like the Trojans would pull away early at that point, but Brookville was able to go on a 7-0 run of its own and close the gap.
Both teams opened with man-to-man defenses, but Arcanum was able to get points in transition throughout the game and particularly in the second half when the Trojans rebounded strong and whipped the ball out to the wings to run the court. And Arcanum seemed to have good depth with which it could rotate players in and keep everyone fresh.
At the half Arcanum had a 23-15 lead.
“We have some athletic girls that can run the court, and when we get a rebound we are not afraid to pass it down the court and run a little bit,” Arcanum girls basketball coach Matt Grote said. “As long we make good passes, I am good with running the ball.”
Brookville opened the second half with a press that at first stymied Arcanum. The Trojans gave up some turnovers and rushed some shots.
Brookville pulled close to Arcanum several times in the third quarter, but the young team finally figured things out in the last quarter and made Brookville pay for the press with some easy baskets. That made it easy for the Trojans to extend their lead and eventually get that critical first win.
“When they pressed, it showed off our inexperience a little bit,” Grote said. “But in the fourth quarter we broke the press just fine – we were patient with the ball. At first, I think we were just a little nervous. But I am glad we figured it out in the fourth quarter.
“We knew that Brookville would be a good a team and give us everything that they had. They bring a lot of kids back. We had some first game jitters that we had to sort out. We had a lot of kids with no varsity experience. We will have growing pains throughout the season. But we are glad to get the win tonight.”
High points for Arcanum were two sophomores – Kayla O’Daniel with 16 points and Gracie Garno with 11.
“They did great from the line and from the field,” Grote said. “With two young players doing so well, it is promising for the future.”
O’Daniel led Arcanum with 16 points, Garno scored 11, Camille Pohl 8, Lexi Unger 7, Elle Siculan 4 and Elaina Sloan 3.