LEWISBURG – The Arcanum Trojans travelled down State Route 503 on Thursday to play against league foe Tri-County North.
Arcanum was slow to get its engine started. So the Trojans had to play from behind and finally caught up and then passed the Panthers. Finally, in the last stanza, Arcanum played a vigorous defense to prevent North from scoring and got points off of turnovers itself. After being down by 10 points early in the game, the Trojans were able to come away with a Cross County Conference win, 50-43.
Arcanum started out slow. The Trojans did not score a point in the first five minutes of the game. Gracie Garno broke the drought with a trey at about the 2:30 mark, and so the Trojans began chipping away at the 10-0 deficit.
Lexi Unger continued the Arcanum comeback in the second quarter with 11 points. In addition, Arcanum went to the press and would spring into it throughout the game. At halftime, it was 24-22 in favor of North – and the Panthers were now feeling the pressure.
“We got off to a slow start, and you have to hand it North,” Arcanum girls basketball coach Matt Grote said. “They got off to a good start – their shooting was hot. They put us down in a hole, and we had to fight our way out. Unfortunately, that has been a trend for us – to get down early. But we know how to fight back and how to stay in a ball game.”
North coach Jessica O’Dell shifted from a two-three zone to a box and one with the extra attention being paid to Unger. It worked to a degree: Unger would not score a basket in the second half. But Arcanum was able to find players to score and kept it close. North had a 1-point lead going into the last quarter – 32-31.
“The box and one stymied us for a possession or two,” Grote said. “But we figured it out and adjusted. We had that same thing happen last year with (Stevie) Johnting, and so we were able to change in a hurry. We were able to take the ball to the basket.”
In the last quarter, Arcanum’s defense made the difference. A withering North team made several turnovers, and Arcanum took advantage. The Trojans went to the boards hard and ripped down rebounds.
Tri-County North tried to press itself and in the last minute resorted to fouling. Garno scored 8 points from the foul line in the second half and most of those were in the last quarter as North sent her to the line where she made her bonus shots.
“We make sure we are in good condition,” Grote said. “We played seven or eight girls tonight, and they pushed hard. I was glad that they were ready to go at the end. They made some good foul shots. Gracie Garno wants the ball, and she got it there in the end. If you foul her – she is ready to go to the line. She made five or six against (National) Trail and six here tonight. It’s great when you have a player that can do that.”
It was a satisfying win from come-from-behind fashion, and the gym was loud in that last minute of play. Arcanum travels well and its fans outnumbered the home crowd. It helps to have the crowd on your side when you are playing away.
The Trojans cannot afford a slow start against Fort Recovery, their opponent on Saturday.
“It’s another away game, and it’s a bit of a trek for us,” Grote said. “They have two 6 foot tall girls and their guards are tall. It’s going to be a Versailles type challenge – they are a (Midwest Athletic Conference) team. We will have to box out and rebound.”
Arcanum: Elle Siculan 3, Elaina Sloan 3, Kayla O’Daniel 2, Camille Pohl 6, Gracie Garno 17, Lexi Unger 11, Marcy Hartman 8.
TCN: Estep 9, Stinson 8, Rupp 4, Jackson 4, Stupp 18.